Call for Participation (closed)

Who What Why When Where Signpost Showing Confusion Brainstorming And Research

Conference: The 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing
Location: Baltimore, MD, USA.
Conference date: 15-19th February 2014.
Workshop date: Sunday the 16th February 2014
List of workshops:
 See the full list of accepted workshops.

Photos from workshop
Download BIBLIOGRAPHY from the workshop
Download list of Position Papers for CSCW2014 workshop – updated 13th feb 




Global software development (GSD) has been an important research topic in the CSCW community for more than two decades. CSCW has helped identify a significant number of challenges and solutions for handling distances in time, space and culture in distributed software engineering environments. However, no comprehensive collected body of knowledge concerning research on GSD from a CSCW perspective exists yet. The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners who have studied GSD from a CSCW perspective, and provide an overview of current findings and future challenges. In the workshop, we will facilitate group discussions across the diverse groups of researchers coming from ethnographic studies of software development practices and design studies of CSCW tools and processes for GSD. The goal is to provide an overview of current research, which in turn may form the basis for joint publications or an edited book.

Author Keywords:  Global software development; GSD; distributed work; coordination; invisible work; articulation work; design; interdisciplinary methods

ACM Classification Keywords: H.5.3 Group and Organization Interfaces, computer-supported cooperative work



At the core of CSCW research is the study of collaborative work practices involved in software development and the design of collaborative technologies supporting such work. Software development is a highly complex, interlinked practice, in which multiple participants are mutually dependent upon each other, which creates a wide variety of intertwined collaboration challenges. Thus, as an object of study, software development provides many opportunities for CSCW research, including studies dedicated to topics such as coordination [1, 2], articulation work [3, 4], knowledge management [5, 6] and awareness [7], as well as opportunities to design tools and technologies supporting such practices [8]. Today, it is actually the norm that software development is organized as collaboration between geographically dispersed participants, who come from different cultural and social backgrounds, collaborating across diverse time zones. We define global software development (GSD) as practices where geographically distributed collaborators are mutually engaged and thus interdependent in software development activities with the aim of designing, programming, and implementing an IT-system. GSD collaborative practices might be organized as outsourcing (inter-organizational collaboration), as offshoring (intra-organizational collaboration), or a mixed of both. The organizational structures of GSD highly impact what kind of collaborative practices can emerge. GSD is an established, emergent, and growing enterprise. While GSD produces new additional challenges for software development due to the dispersed nature of the work, still many of the core challenges remain the same [9]. Therefore, we can state that research on GSD involves a mix of interests in the core practices of software development [10] and in distributed collaboration [11]. Thus, some of the challengchallenges are related to software development, while other challenges are of more general concern for distributed collaboration. GSD research in a CSCW perspective is not only published within CSCW venues, but also at other venues such as Software Engineering/ICSE and ICGSE. However to be interesting for this workshop, the GSD research have to be relevant for either understanding the collaborative practices within GSD or for designing collaborative tools for GSD – and as such link to the core CSCW agenda. In this workshop we want to focus in on the intersections between software development practices and global distributed collaboration, and investigate three key questions: 1. What are the invisible, taken-for-granted aspects of work, which make  GSD practices work? 2. What are the challenges in GSD we should be designing CSCW tools to support? 3. How can we bring together multi-method interdisciplinary approaches to study and design for GSD?

What do we already know?

The workshop will cover three main areas of interest: The invisible work in GSD; Designing for supporting GSD; Interdisciplinary multi-method approaches for studying GSD. At the workshop we will spend time on each of these areas, and go in-depth on the current status, existing challenges, and future questions.

The invisible work in GSD
This sub-area originates in the CSCW interest in studying collaboration and articulation work [12]. The methods typically applied in such studies are workplace studies based upon ethnography [13], and the general interest is guided by the research question what is the invisible taken-for-granted work, which makes GSD practices work? Examples of research within this area are in-depth qualitative studies of work practices involved in GSD (e.g. studies focusing on knowledge management, coordination, and articulation work). When we refer to special interest in the invisible work practices within GSD, it does not mean that we have do not have an interest in GSD work practices in general. But that our main interest in the workshop is to unpack the practices, which makes the GSD work: Practices, which might be in plain sight, but often neglected or overlooked by management. To succeed in GSD, it is critical that we understand the invisible work practices, which make global work function. Often there is a tendency to focus on the pre-scripted processes (e.g. SCRUM), which can indeed help in supporting GSD practices; however, we know little about other forms of ‘extra work’, which are critical to make practices of collaboration work across geography, culture, and time. Extensive research has been done in the area of global work and virtual teams e.g. in terms of trust [14], common ground [15], and social context [16]. Many within the GSD research community are aware of this work. However, we still need to identify and summarize the relevant links across different fields to ensure how best they benefit from each other. In this workshop, we will discuss and formulate the current knowledge we have about GSD practices from a CSCW perspective, as well as identify new areas of concern which need to be addressed. Themes we will investigate further include (but are not limited to):

  • Articulation work in GSD
  • Coordination practices in GSD
  • Awareness practices in GSD
  • Knowledge sharing practices in GSD
  • Communication practices in GSD
  • Trust in GSD
Designing for GSD
This sub-area zooms in on the design of collaborative tools and technologies for distributed and global software development. From existing research, we know that general-purpose communication technologies like video; instant messaging; social media; email; and document repositories are used heavily in GSD. These technologies are core to everyday coordination in GSD, but at the same time they carry with them significant challenges [17]. Sources from both industry and the research literature have proposed more specific tools and technologies for GSD. Examples include integrated source code and documentation repositories, integrated task tracking, source control, and planning tools, as well as tools for task and ‘team health’ visualizations to support coordination in GSD [17]. At the same time, many concepts from CSCW can be helpful for designing support tools for GSD, such as Coordination Mechanisms, Common Information Spaces, or approaches for supporting local and distributed forms of awareness. While several of these approaches have been already discussed in GSD, there is a need for a more coherent and systematic understanding of CSCW-related design approaches for supporting distributed software development work. In this workshop we will solicit research position statements on the current body of knowledge on design and use of different tools for GSD. Such contribution will span over themes like:

  • in-situ detailed studies of tool use
  • design methods for GSD tools
  • design space analysis of GSD tools
  • specific tools for GSD
  • evaluation of GSD tools
  • infrastructures for GSD
Interdisciplinary multi-method approach for GSD
The final sub-area interest concerns the methods we apply and the practices we involve when engaging with research in GSD from a CSCW perspective. This includes discussions of how to capture coordination practices we cannot directly observe, bringing ethnographic findings to inform design, working with industrial partners, designing for action, etc. Linking ethnographic studies with design research has been the core of CSCW interest from the very beginning [18], and is an ongoing discussion topic [13]. As in other types of CSCW research, this tension between how we move from user studies to design. GSD is clearly a multi-disciplinary research field, and as such we need to embrace different types of research and make sure that we include important findings from other relevant areas. In this workshop, we will discuss the different methodological approaches applied our various research projects, and investigate how we can identify new and emergent practices, by which we can further strengthen studies of GSD, as well as design for GSD. Themes, which we will discuss in this workshop include (but not limited to):

  • Ethnographic approaches for GSD
  • Action research and GSD
  • Capturing intangible artefacts in GSD
  • Design research practices in GSD
  • Bringing study and design together in GSD
  • Multiple ethnographic interventions
  • Social network analysis of GSD projects

Topics of interest

The workshop invites submissions on all aspects of distributed and global software development within the CSCW perspective. Papers reviewing existing research and papers investigating new and emerging topics with an association to both software development and CSCW are particularly welcomed. The topics of interest include:

  • Invisible work in GSD
  • Designing for GSD
  • Interdisciplinary methods in GSD

Workshop Format

The workshop is planned to be a full-day academic event, where junior and senior researchers together work on the above areas of interest. The day will be organized as a combination of selected talks, group discussions, and plenum presentations and discussions. The workshop will start by mapping out the existing CSCW research on GSD related to the three main questions. In this way, we will be able to structure and identify what we know after the first two decades of CSCW research on GSD. For this activity, the participants, prior to the workshop, are expected to send their selected references within area of CSCW for GSD, which then will be compiled into a first draft bibliography, which will be distributed at the workshop to all participants. The bibliography will create the background for the work in the workshop. Based upon the combined effort of the participants at the workshop, we hope to create a comprehensive overview of the different streams of research, as well as a bibliography of relevant CSCW GSD literature. From mapping the status of current GSD research in CSCW, the next step will be identifying the current and future challenges for research in GSD. It is important to note that the challenges will take different forms, depending on the related sub-areas. For example, the sub-area of design will have different challenges than the sub-area of invisible work. In the workshop we will also strive to identify challenges that span several of the sub-areas, since these are the situations where the interdisciplinary competencies of the participants in the workshop will be particularly relevant.

Expected Outcome

The workshop will conclude with a final interactive session on consolidating the ideas presented in the workshop and brainstorming potential future lines of work. In particular, we will discuss the opportunity for maintaining a shared bibliography for CSCW GSD literature, as well as the option for putting together an edited book or special issue on this topic.


Prof. Pernille Bjorn is Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in the Technology in Practice research group. She has done research on distributed collaboration since 2002, and is currently PI in the NexGSD research project, focusing on ethnographic studies of global software development practices. Currently, she is visiting associate faculty at University of California, Irvine, Department of Informatics and Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing, July 2013-August 2014.

Prof. Jakob Bardram is Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU), in the Software Development research group. He is the project manager of the NexGSD research project, which is a five-year research project studying global software development with the aim of designing next generation tools and process for GSD.

Prof. Gabriela Avram is lecturer in Digital Media Design and senior researcher at the Interaction Design Centre, at the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems University of Limerick, Ireland. Between 2005 and 2008, she managed the socGSD (Social, Organisational and Cultural Aspects of Global Software Development) research project at the University of Limerick.

Prof. Liam Bannon is Emeritus Professor at the University of Limerick and Honorary Professor at Aarhus University. He has been involved in GSD studies from a CSCW perspective.

Dr. Alexander Boden is Researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT). His research focuses on how ICTs can support coordination and knowledge exchange in complex contexts such as global software development, cross-agency collaboration in emergency response, as well as in open source and maker communities. He publishes in research communities such as CSCW, HCI and Software Engineering.

Prof. David Redmiles is Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). His current research focuses on distributed and collaborative software engineering, especially the aspects of awareness and trust among collaborators.

Dr. Cleidson de Souza is Research Associate at the Vale Technological Institute (ITV) an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Computing at the Federal University of Pará. Before joining ITV, I was a Research Scientist at IBM Research Brazil. He is interested in understanding how software engineers work together to develop software, to ‘get their work done’. This translates into a multi-faceted research approach that includes field studies, surveys, and tool development and evaluation.

Prof. Volker Wulf is Professor of information systems at the University of Siegen, and head of the User-Oriented Software Engineering research group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT). His research interests include computer-supported cooperative work, knowledge management, human-computer interaction, and participatory design.


This research has been funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research under the project “Next Generation Technology for Global Software Development – NeXGSD”, #10-092313.


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[3] Grinter, R. Supporting articulation work using software configuration management systems. Comput Support Coop Work, 5, 1996, 447-465.

[4] Matthiesen, S., Bjørn, P. and Petersen, L. M. “Figure Out How to Code with the Hands of Others”: Recognizing Cultural Blind Spots in Global Software Development. In Proceedings of the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) (Baltimore, USA, 2014). ACM.

[5] Jensen, R. E. and Bjørn, P. Divergence and convergence in global software development: Cultural complextities as societal structures. In Proceedings of the COOP: Design of cooperative systems (France, 2012). Springer.

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[7] Souza, C. d. and Redmiles, D. The awareness network: To whom should I display my action? And, whose actions should I monitor. In Proceedings of the European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW) (Limerick, Ireland, 2007). Kluwer Academic.

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[11] Søderberg, A.-M., Krishna, S. and Bjørn, P. Global Software Development: Commitment, Trust and Cultural Sensitivity in Strategic Partnerships. International journal of Management, 2013

[12] Schmidt, K. and Bannon, L. Taking CSCW Seriously: Supporting Articulation Work. Comput Support Coop Work, 1, 1-2 1992), 7-40.

[13] Blomberg, J. and Karasti, H. Reflections on 25 years or ethnography in CSCW. Comput Support Coop Work, 222013), 373-423.

[14] Jarvenpaa, S. L. and Leidner, D. E. Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams. Organ Scien, 10, 6 (Nov.-Dec. 1999), 791-815.

[15] Olson, G. M. and Olson, J. S. Distance Matters. Human-Computer Interaction, 15,2000), 139-178. [16] Bjørn, P. and Ngwenyama, O. Virtual Team Collaboration: Building Shared Meaning, Resolving Breakdowns and Creating Translucence. Information Systems Journal, 19, 3, 2009, 227-253.

[17] Halverson, C., Ellis, J., Danis, C. and Kellogg, W. Designing task visulizations to support the coordination of work in software development. In Proceedings of the Computer supported Cooperative work (CSCW) (New York, USA, 2006). ACM.

[18] Blomberg, J., Giacomi, J., Mosher, A. and Swenton-Hall, P. Ethnographic Field Methods and their Relation to Design. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publisher, City, 1993.