How a Geographically Distributed Software Team Managed to Negotiate Successfully using Chat Technology

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Negotiation is best accomplished in collocated settings, and negotiation in geographically distributed settings is prone to failure with a risk of conflicts. Investigating distributed software development, we were surprised to discover that a software development team, located in different parts of Brazil, was able to negotiate successfully and reach an agreement to change from ticket-oriented processes towards release-oriented processes for bug fixing activities using only chat technology. In this paper, we explore how the chat technology allowed the distributed software team (including both vendor and client team members) to successfully negotiate and reach agreement about adopting and implementing a new collaborative workflow in the governmental IT-project. Our research method is based upon an ethnographically informed empirical study of the software development involved in a Brazilian software company. Thus, the data collected shows that the chat technology provided a platform for the team to engage informally in important discussions across locations. The chat technology allowed participants to navigate both within and across diverse subgroups (collocated client-developers; distributed clientdeveloper, and distributed developers-developers), which supported successful subgroup dynamics avoiding the risk of conflicts emerging from faultlines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRevista Tecnologia e Sociedade
Issue number37
Pages (from-to)183-206
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Chat technology, Negotiation, Global software development, Distributed team, Double level language, Bug fixing, Faultlines, Subgroup dynamics, Software engineering

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