Quality indicators on global software development projects: does ‘getting to know you’ really matter?



While the payback from technical training is largely undisputed, and a cost that many organizations are prepared to incur, the benefits of socialization training on global software development projects remains an area of debate. This paper begins to explore whether getting to know those you are working with really matters when it comes to the quality of the software that is produced in global settings. The paper describes how five student teams were put in competition to develop software for a Cambodian client. Each extended team comprised students distributed across a minimum of three locations, drawn from the US, India, Thailand, and Cambodia. Two exercises were conducted with these students during the project, to examine their awareness of the countries of their collaborators and competitors, and to assess their knowledge of their own extended team members. On a weekly basis, the stress levels of the students, along with the communication patterns of each development team, were also recorded. The quality of each team's eventual software product was measured through a final product selection process. The paper reports on the results of these two exercises, examined in conjunction with these additional data, and implications for practice and future studies are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.