An Empirical Evaluation of an Activity-Based Infrastructure for Supporting Cooperation in Software Engineering

Paolo Tell, Muhammad Ali Babar

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Software engineering (SE) is predominantly a team effort that needs close cooperation among several people who may be geographically distributed. It has been recognized that appropriate tool support is a prerequisite to improve cooperation within SE teams. In an effort to contribute to this line of research, we have designed and developed an infrastructure, called ABC4GSD, based on the models of activity theory (AT) and the principles of the activity-based computing (ABC) paradigm. In this paper, we present a study that empirically evaluates the ability of ABC4GSD in supporting teams cooperation. We designed and executed a study based on a scenario that simulated the follow-the-Sun (FTS) strategy of global SE (GSE). Our research design allowed us to ensure cooperation to be both computer-mediated as well as contained within observable short time-windows - the hand-off activities of the FTS strategy. [Results] Overall, the results show that the cooperation support provided by the ABC4GSD system has been positively perceived by the participants. Nonetheless, open issues stimulating further investigations have been raised especially due to a few mixed results. Aware of the limitations of the simulated scenario, we conclude that the approach followed by the ABC4GSD system based on activities is desirable to improve the cooperation support in SE. Finally, our research approach based on simulating a scenario with geographical and temporal distribution can provide useful ideas for assessing collaborative technologies in SE.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Software Engineering (ICGSE), 2016 IEEE 11th International Conference on
Number of pages10
Publication dateAug 2016
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-2680-7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


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