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The Use of Kanban to Alleviate Collaboration and Communication Challenges of Global Software Development

Maureen Tanner, Marcelo Edgar Dauane
InSITE 2017 , 2017
[This Proceedings paper was revised and published in the journal Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology]

Aim/Purpose : This paper aims to describe how various Kanban elements can help alleviate two prominent types of challenges, communication and collaboration in Global Software Development (GSD).

Background: Iterative and Lean development methodologies like Kanban have gained significance in the software development industry, both in the co-located and globally distributed contexts. However, little is known on how such methodologies can help mitigate various challenges in that occur in a globally distributed software development context.

Methodology: The study was conducted using a single-case study based on a general inductive approach to analysis and theory development. Through the literature review, collaboration and communication challenges that GSD teams face were identified. Data collected through semi-structured interviews was then inductively analyzed to describe how the case-study teams employed various Kanban elements to mitigate communication and collaboration challenges they face during GSD.

Findings: The study found that some Kanban elements, when properly employed, can help alleviate collaboration and communication challenges that occur within GSD teams. These relate to Inclusion Criteria, Reverse Items, Kanban Board, Policies, Avatars, and Backlog.

Contribution: The paper contributes to knowledge by proposing two simple concept maps that detail the specific types of communication and collaboration challenges which can be alleviated by the aforementioned Kanban elements in GSD.

Recommendations for Practitioners: This paper is relevant to GSD teams who are seeking ways to enhance their team collaboration and communication as these are the most important elements that contribute to GSD project success. It is recommended that relevant Kanban elements be used to that effect, depending on the challenges that they aim to alleviate.

Future Research: Future research can investigate the same research questions (or similar ones) using a quantitative approach.
Kanban, lean software development, global software development, communication challenges, collaboration challenges

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