Communication: The Neglected Technical Skill?

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 45th Annual ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Personnel Research Conference (2007 ACM SIGMIS CPR), 2007, pp. 19 - 21
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In this paper we discuss the importance of communication in software development. Communication has long been recognized as an important element of a successful software project. The quality of communication within the development team and between the development team and external entities impacts on the performance of the software project. However there is little evidence to suggest that approaches to software development have adequately emphasized high quality communications. Our findings suggest that the SEI's family of Capability Maturity Models, arguably the most influential models of software development, address communication in a very superficial way. We consider the impact of poor communication on the performance of a team of developers working in a software organization that has been assessed at CMM Level 5. We conducted multi-level interviews with all developers in the software team. Our main findings are that, although the team recognizes the importance of communication, many communication problems are reported. Furthermore, we found that human-centric processes, such as communication, were much less mature than the technical processes. We discuss the typical personality traits that may mitigate against developers being good communicators. We conclude that one way to overcome this is for development models to address communication more explicitly
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