Trust Building Process for Global Software Development Teams: A Review from the Literature

Trust Building Process for Global Software Development Teams: A Review from the Literature

Adrián Hernández-López (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain), Ricardo Colomo-Palacios (Østfold University College, Norway), Ángel García-Crespo (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain) and Pedro Soto-Acosta (University of Murcia, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1788-9.ch005
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Abstract

Due to increasing globalization tendencies in organization environment, Software Development is evolving from a single site development to multiple localization team environment. In this new scenario, team building issues must be revisited. In this paper components needed for the construction of the Trust Building Process are proposed in these new Global Software Development Teams. Based in a thoroughly state of the art analysis of trust building in organizations, this new process comes to narrow the gap between dynamics of trust building and intrinsic characteristics of global teams. In this paper, the components for Trust Building Process are justified and presented, with the purpose of a future assembly in further publications, leaving testing of this assembly far behind.
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Introduction

Software Engineering (SE) has evolved steadily since its foundation in the conferences sponsored by NATO Science Committee at the end of the 1960s, and will continue its evolution due to internal improvements and some adaptations brought about external changes (Campbell-Kelly, 2003). One of the most important external changes in today’s market is Globalization (Wolf, 2004). This new phenomenon has influenced software evolution and has multiplied the production and demand of software products (Arora & Gambardella, 2004). The SE research has also evolved in order to adopt some Globalization characteristics; as a result, a new field called Global Software Development (GSD) emerged to cover specific aspects of global distributed software development (Gorton & Motwani, 1996; Karolak, 1998; Herbsleb & Moitra, 2001; Oshri et al., 2007). Simultaneously, many classical software engineering knowledge areas have also evolved following this global trend, i.e., configuration management (Pilatti et al., 2006), requirements engineering (Damian, 2007).

Software development presents three critical dimensions: people, tools and equipment, procedures and tasks, which are held with processes (CMMI Product Team, 2006). These dimensions are present in every software development team, either global or local. Focusing on the people dimension, the relevance of team work has been widely proven (Lister & DeMarco, 1999; Humphrey, 1997; Hilburn & Humphrey, 2002; Sharp et al., 2009, Trigo et al., 2010). Team work in GSD environments presents some aspects that require to be minimized in order to carry a successful software development (Hinds & Bailey, 2003; Poltrock & Engelbeck, 1999): trust (Jarvenpaa et al., 1998), communication (Hinds & Mortensen, 2005), coordination (Cramton, 2001) and unhealthy subgroup dynamics (Armstrong & Cole, 2002). In addition to the critical dimension about people in Software development, trust building has been identified as critical processes for GSD teams’ effectiveness (Handy, 1995; Dirks & Ferrin, 2001; Aubert & Kelsey, 2003).

The study of trust in IT environment is a part of studies in human capital; a combination of sociology and politics along with organizational and management science (Coleman, 1990; Putnam, 1993; Huysman & Wulf, 2004), and has a vast applicability to different contexts and levels of analysis, therefore a delimitation of the domain of research is required. Some delimitations made regarding globalization are, for example, team trust (Costa, 2003), GSD team trust (Jarvenpaa et al., 1998); trust in software outsourcing relationships (Oza et al., 2006), trust in alliances (Das & Teng, 1998), trust in GSD teams leadership (Derosa et al., 2004; Barczak et al., 2006), but also presents gaps, i.e., building and maintaining methods in GSD teams trust (Moe & Smite, 2008).

According to Zucker (1986), there are three ways to develop trust in a relationship: characteristics-based trust, institutions-based trust, and process-based trust. Characteristics-based trust represents altruistic sources of social norms and kindness, i.e. membership of professional associations or educational achievements. Institutions-based trust represents the macro altruistic source of social norms, i.e., technical/professional standards. Process-based trust represents the micro altruistic sources of friendship, habituation, i.e. mutual adaptation, learning by doing, routinization.

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