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How Do Distribution and Time Zones Affect Software Development? A Case Study on Communication

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6 Author(s)

Software projects have crossed seas and continents looking for talented developers, moving from local developments to geographically distributed projects. This paper presents a case study analyzing the effect of distribution and time zones on communication in distributed projects. The study was performed in a university course during two semesters, where students developed projects jointly with teams located in ten different countries in South America, Europe, and Asia. The study compares the results of the projects distributed in two locations with projects distributed in three locations. It also analyzes projects in different time zone ranges. The initial results show that the amount of communication in projects distributed in two locations is bigger than the communication in projects distributed in three locations. We also found that projects in closer time zones have more communication than projects in farther time zones. Furthermore, we analyze the reply time for e-mails of projects distributed in different time zones, and discuss the challenges faced by the students during these projects.

Published in:

2011 IEEE Sixth International Conference on Global Software Engineering

Date of Conference:

15-18 Aug. 2011