The Role of Boundary Objects in the Fuzzy Front End of IT Development

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 2014 23rd Australian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC), 2014
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Different domains develop their own world views making collaboration between subject matter experts difficult. Despite the difficulties, IT project personnel routinely manage to establish common understanding. Documented software development methodologies say little about how that common understanding emerges or what might aid better understanding. This research sought to determine how people of diverse world views communicated their ideas and how they established that they had been understood. Of particular interest was the relevance and operation of boundary objects. The investigation quickly revealed that innovative problems required more abstract boundary objects over which different stakeholders could exchange meaningful understanding but that assuring understanding had been accomplished was invariably reflected explanation. The findings have implications for software development methodologies, pointing out a need for more awareness of a range of boundary objects when understanding must be achieved between diverse stakeholders such as business owners and IT specialists.
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