Collaborative Decision Making in Software Engineering over Distance

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In this project we will investigate tools and mechanisms to support cross-site decision making in software engineering. In the past decade, software development teams are more frequently distributed geographically and engaged in cross-site development efforts. At the same time, lean development methods and cross-functional teams are being complemented by increasingly complex software requiring difficult and multifaceted decisions to be made at each phase of the software development cycle. Because of the geographic distribution of decision makers and information sources (including human sources) required to make decisions, we must rely increasingly on tools and technology to support the decision makers and decision making processes. These tools must be able to provide access to information needed in decision making but also must provide collaborative environments for multi-person interactions that are required in complex decision making processes over distance.

In this project, we will investigate how social computing technologies and their collaborative capabilities can be used to influence the design of platforms and tools to improve outcomes in collaborative decision making in software engineering over distance. We will also study how techniques currently used for decision making in business intelligence environments can apply in software engineering domains. We will do so by conducting surveys and studies of emergent knowledge workers, business leaders, and software developers. We will use the results to design and prototype tools to effectively support collaborative decision making in software engineering. In order to make progress in this multidisciplinary study, we bring together the organizational, policy, and social expertise from the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto with business and technology expertise from SAP, and technology expertise from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto.