Why does site visit matter in global software development: A knowledge-based perspective

Mansooreh Zahedi, Muhammad Ali Babar

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Context: Face-to-Face (F2F) interaction is a strong means to foster social relationships and effective knowledge sharing within a team. However, communication in Global Software Development (GSD) teams is usually restricted to computer-mediated conversation that is perceived to be less effective and inter- personal. Temporary collocation of dispersed members of a software development team is a well-known practice in GSD. Despite broad realization of the benefits of visits, there is lack of empirical evidence that explores how temporary F2F interactions are organized in practice and how they can impact knowledge sharing between sites.
Objective: This study aimed at empirically investigating activities that take place during temporary col- location of dispersed members and analyzing the outcomes of the visit for supporting and improving knowledge sharing.
Method: We report a longitudinal case study of a GSD team distributed between Denmark and Pakistan. We have explored a particular visit organized for a group of offshore team members visiting onshore site for two weeks. Our findings are based on a systematic and rigorous analysis of the calendar entries of the visitors during the studied visit, several observations of a selected set of the team members’ activities during the visit and 13 semi-structured interviews.
Results: Looking through the lens of knowledge-based theory of the firm, we have found that social and professional activities organized during the visit, facilitated knowledge sharing between team members from both sites. The findings are expected to contribute to building a common knowledge and under- standing about the role and usefulness of the site visits for supporting and improving knowledge sharing in GSD teams by establishing and sustaining social and professional ties.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation and Software Technology
Pages (from-to)36–56
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Global Software Development (GSD)
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • Knowledge Management
  • Face-to-face Interaction
  • Empirical
  • Case Study


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