Communication Problems in Software Development - A Model and Its Industrial Application
Journal article, 2019
Attaining effective communication within and across organizational units is among the most critical challenges for success in software development organizations. This paper presents a novel model, supporting analysis of problems in inter-departmental communication events. The model was developed and designed based on industrial needs emphasizing flexibility, applicability and scalability. The model covers central communication aspects in order to provide a useful approximation of communication problems rather than in-depth modeling on message-by message basis. Other event-specific information, such as costs, can then be attached to enrich analysis and understanding. To exemplify and evaluate the model and collect feedback from industry, it was applied to 16 events at a Swedish automotive manufacturer where communication between two departments had broken down during development of software-intensive systems. The evaluation showed that the model helped structure and conduct systematic data collection and analysis of dysfunctional communication patterns. We found that insufficient understanding of the matters being communicated was prevalent, but also more specifically, requirements were insufficiently balanced, detailed and specified over the full system development cycle. Besides, the long-term cost for the company was analyzed in depth for each event, yielding a total estimated cost for the analyzed communication events of 11.2MUS$.
Organizational management and coordination