Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Socio-Technical Congruence: A Framework for Assesing the Impact
of Technical and Work Dependencies on Software Development

Marcelo Cataldo*, James D. Herbsleb, Kathleen M. Carley

March 2008


Keywords: Collaborative software development, coordination, software dependencies

The identification and management of work dependencies is a fundamental challenge in software development organizations. This paper argues that modularization, the traditional technique intended to reduce interdependencies among components of a system, is not a sufficient representation of work dependencies in the context of software development. We build on the idea of congruence proposed by Cataldo et. al. [10] to examine the relationship between the structure of technical and work dependencies and their impact on software development productivity. Our empirical evaluation of the congruence framework showed that when developer' coordination patterns are congruent with their coordination needs, the resolution time of modification requests was, on average, reduced by 32%. Those findings highlight the importance of identifying the "right" set of product dependencies that drive the coordination requirements among software developers.

20 pages

Research and Technology Center, Robert Bosch LLC, Pittsburgh, PA.

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