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Software engineering is by nature a highly collaborative activity. However, collaborating effectively in Global Software Engineering, in which team members are geographically, temporally and/or socio-culturally separated from each other, is more difficult. In a traditional co-located setting, one of the most important communication patterns is a (face-to-face) conversation. Technological solutions to have conversations in a distributed setting are commonly used, however overhearing conversations of others is not explicitly supported. In this paper we report on the evaluation of supporting overhearing conversations with technology in a distributed industrial setting. To do this we deployed a tool we developed with which it is possible to overhear Instant Messaging conversations in an international software development company. Based on this evaluation we report lessons learned and conclude with the most important findings of this study.
Date of Conference: 27-30 Aug. 2012