Information flow within a dispersed agile team: a distributed cognition perspective

Sharp, Helen; Giuffrida, Rosalba and Melnik, Grigori (2012). Information flow within a dispersed agile team: a distributed cognition perspective. In: 13th International Conference on Agile Software Development: XP2012, 20-25 May 2012, Malmö Sweden, pp. 62–76.




One of the hallmarks of a co-located agile team is the simple and open flow of information between its members. In a co-located setting, peripheral awareness, osmotic communication and simple information radiators support agile principles such as collective ownership, minimal documentation and simple design, and facilitate smooth collaboration. However in a dispersed agile team, where individual team members are distributed across several sites, these mechanisms are not available and information sharing has to be more explicit. Research into distributed software development has been tackling similar issues, but little work has been reported into dispersed agile teams. This paper reports on a field study of one successful partially dispersed agile team. Using a distributed cognition analysis which focuses on information propagation and transformation within the team we investigate how the team collaborates and compare our findings with those from co-located teams.

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