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Why Closely Coupled Work Matters in Global Software Development

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Association for Computing Machinery


We report on an ethnographic study of an offshore global software development project between Danish and Philippine developers in a Danish company called GlobalSoft. We investigate why the IT- developers chose to engage in more closely coupled work as the project progressed and argue that closely coupled work supported the collaboration in a very challenging project. Three key findings are presented: 1) Closely coupled work practices established connections across the collaboration ensuring knowledge exchange and improving coordination between project members, 2) Closely coupled work practices diminished the formation of sub-groups locally and established new faultlines across the geographical distance, and 3) Closely coupled work enabled the creation of connections across organizational hierarchies allowing information to travel seamlessly between layers in the organization and consequently the project members could better anticipate issues and act accordingly. The implications of these findings include a reconsideration of the significance of closely coupled work in distributed settings. Also our findings open up discussions of why closely coupled work matters in global software development.


Jensen, Rasmus Eskild (2014): Why Closely Coupled Work Matters in Global Software Development. Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/2660398.2660425. Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 24–34. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA