The Impact of Process on Virtual Teams: A Comparative Analysis of Waterfall and Agile Software Development Teams

Date
2012-01-01
Authors
Ashmore, Sondra
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Anthony M Townsend
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Altmetrics
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Theses & dissertations (College of Business)
Abstract

Studies have shown that task type, social context, and time mediates virtual teams (Martins, Gilson, & Maynard, 2004; Townsend, Hendrickson, & DeMarie, 2002), yet no studies have been conducted comparing the process that the virtual teams are using to complete a task. Two global virtual teams from the same corporation who are using two different software development methodologies, waterfall and agile, were compared to understand the impact that process has on virtual teams. Interviews were conducted with both teams and their responses were coded using the constructs in Adaptive Structuration Theory. The results show that the software development process used by a virtual team does impact the team's culture, orientation toward change, and ultimately the quality of the product they are developing. Careful consideration should be made by software development organizations when deciding which development process they should deploy, given the important implications for virtual team dynamics and product outcomes. Studies have shown that task type, social context, and time mediates virtual teams (Martins, Gilson, & Maynard, 2004; Townsend, Hendrickson, & DeMarie, 2002), yet no studies have been conducted comparing the process that the virtual teams are using to complete a task. Two global virtual teams from the same corporation who are using two different software development methodologies, waterfall and agile, were compared to understand the impact that process has on virtual teams. Interviews were conducted with both teams and their responses were coded using the constructs in Adaptive Structuration Theory. The results show that the software development process used by a virtual team does impact the team's culture, orientation toward change, and ultimately the quality of the product they are developing. Careful consideration should be made by software development organizations when deciding which development process they should deploy, given the important implications for virtual team dynamics and product outcomes.

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