One step closer to the PhD candidacy: My submission to the doctoral symposium at ICSE 2010 has been accepted!
In the research abstract, I propose to study the role of emergent knowledge structures in software development. We define emergent knowledge structures as “tangible ad hoc artifacts that are created as part of informal individual or collaborative processes in software development but that are not part of the software product”. Examples include comments on source code and tasks, wikis, blogging, micro-blogging and tagging. Due to the recent addition of Web 2.0 style collaboration functionality such as social tagging and wikis to software development environments, more and more of these knowledge structures “emerge”. There are usually no prescribed processes attached to their creation.
We have two main research questions:
- Which software development processes do lightweight emergent structures support?
- How can tools for software developers leverage the knowledge from lightweight emergent structures?
We expect the following main contributions from this research:
- Identifying the software development processes that are supported by lightweight emergent structures.
- Characterizing the knowledge that lightweight emergent structures add to a software project.
- Improving tool support for lightweight emergent structures.
Our recent papers on tagging, dashboards and feeds and the tool ConcernLines as well as our Web2SE workshop all fit into this research, and we are looking forward to conducting more exciting research on this topic.
This is the preliminary abstract of the research abstract:
The focus of software development tools has shifted towards team-aware tools that explicitly support communication and cooperation. Many of these collaboration features draw on lightweight technologies that are associated with Web 2.0 such as social tagging or wikis. We propose to study the role of emergent knowledge structures that are created through lightweight collaboration in software development. Using a mixed-methods approach, we aim to investigate which software development processes are supported by emergent knowledge structures and how tool support can leverage these structures. Our goal is to assist both managers and developers in their decisions about using lightweight collaboration tools in their software development projects.
Update [June 6, 2010]: The paper is now available here (ACM Digital Library).