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Developing Trust In Virtual Software Development Teams

DOI: 10.4067/S0718-18762010000200004

Keywords: trust, fear, cooperation, online communication, global software development (gsd), virtual teams, grounded theory, action research.

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today globally distributed software development has become the norm for many organizations and the popularity of implementing such an approach continues to increase. in these circumstances a strategy often employed is the use of virtual software development teams. due to the collaborative nature of software development this has proved a difficult and complex endeavor. research has identified distance in its various forms as an important factor which negatively impacts on global software development and on virtual software team operation in particular. in this context, the aspects of distance have been defined as temporal, geographical, cultural and linguistic. a key element for the success of any team based project is the development of trust and cooperation. each aspect of distance can negatively impact on the development of trust and hamper cooperation particularly in the virtual team environment. an additional factor which this research identified is the importance and negative impact fear plays. the serious implications of these factors are due to the need for dependence on asynchronous and online communication which is inherent to global software development and the operation of virtual software teams in particular. the findings presented here are the results from four independent studies undertaken over a twelve year period which consider each of these issues. having identified the problems associated with trust and communication, how these issues were successfully addressed and managed on a multimillion dollar project which was heading for failure is outlined.


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