Coordination, Congruence, Transparency

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
7:00 PM
ART 1.102
Free and open to the public

Coordinating the engineering work of project teams has always been a central concern of software engineering.  By anticipating and isolating change, software architects can establish and enforce design rules governing module interfaces and the allocation of functionality to modules, simplifying coordination by decoupling the work on one module from the work on others. Modern development practices, including increasing openness and collaborative development of shared resources, render this strategy much less effective.  I will describe a research program that develops theory of coordination around decision networks and discuss empirical research that supports the theory by showing that work is carried out more efficiently when coordination activities are congruent with the decision network.  I will describe current research on transparent development environments which appear to present an increasingly effective alternative to a modularity strategy.

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James Herbsleb

James Herbsleb

School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University

James Herbsleb is a Professor in the Institute for Software Research in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also serves as Director of the PhD program in Computation, Organizations, and Society. His research interests lie primarily in the intersection of software engineering, computer-supported cooperative work, and socio-technical systems, focusing on such areas as geographically distributed development teams and large-scale open source development. He holds a PhD in psychology, and an MS in computer science. His research has won several awards, including the Most Influential Paper award in ICSE 2010, and several Distinguished Paper and Best Paper awards.  He recently received the CMU School of Computer Science Alan Newell Award for Research Excellence. For no apparent reason, he also holds a Juris Doctor degree and is a member of the Michigan Bar Association. For about two decades, he has worked with assorted colleagues and minions to try to understand the complex and dynamic relationship between human collaboration and the software that the humans are designing and using. On his optimistic days, he feels he has made a bit of progress.