Conference Paper

Studying Onboarding in Distributed Software Teams: A Case Study and Guidelines

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Abstract

Many companies have turned towards globally distributed software development in their quest for access to more development capacity. This paper investigates how a company onboarded distributed teams in a global project, and report experience on how to study such distributed projects. Onboarding is the process of helping new team members adapt to the existing team and ways of working. The goal of the studied onboarding program was to integrate Por-tuguese developers into two existing Norwegian teams. Further, due to the growing trend in utilizing globally distributed projects, and the challenge of conducting studies in distributed organizations, it is crucial to find good practices for researching such projects. We collected qualitative data from interviews, observations, Slack conversations and documents, and quantitative data on Slack activity. We report experiences on different onboarding practices and techniques, and we suggest guidelines to help other researchers conduct qualitative studies in globally distributed projects. CCS CONCEPTS • General and reference → Empirical studies; • Software and its engineering → Software creation and management.

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... Specific to the Agile context, there are some studies such as study [5] reporting results about cultural barriers impeding agile ways of working in distributed teams from an empirical study of a Swedish company working with offshore engineers from an outsourcing vendor in India. Such challenges are not limited to the countries of Western and Eastern cultures; Moe et al. [11] stated that during an onboarding process, the most important success factor is finding Portuguese developers that matched the culture of the existing Norwegian Agile teams. ...
Chapter
The effect of national culture in the software development especially in Agile Software Development industry has a considerable place since national culture affects and shapes organizations and individuals. Our study examines the impact of Turkish national culture on Agile software transformations and developments in Turkey, as the first instance in/for Turkey scope, to the best of our knowledge. We conducted semi-structured interviews with fourteen experts in prominent nine companies from three major industries including TechFin, Aviation, and Telecommunication. In the study, motivations of organizations for transforming Agile, challenges with transitioning to Agile, Agile culture specific to Turkey and preferences on Agile frameworks in Turkey were investigated. The results were discussed along with their implications for Agile in Turkey by considering Hofstede’s model which is designed to investigate country-level cultural traits. Our results are largely parallel with the existing knowledge of Hofstede Insights specific to Turkish culture, yet we additionally present the impacts of this national culture of Turkey on the country’s Agile Software Development. Consequently, it was observed that the national cultural background has a considerable effect on the Turkish Agile software development domain. We have witnessed some similar effects in the Eastern culture as well. By providing the country’s cultural patterns through a localized lens, the study may contribute to those who may have a practical interest to Turkish in terms of which potential challenges they need to be prepared for once they move into the adoption of agile working in/with this country and more generally in/with the countries with which has similar cultures as in the Eastern civilizations. Our study also comes with global insights to the other countries in terms of understanding the use of agile methods and practices in companies located outside of the early adopters of agile methods.
... Britto et al (2017) reviewed onboard models in literature, and identified, in the context of geographically distributed development, that the most common strategy adopted is coaching and mentoring, although it is only semiformalized. Still in the context of Global Software Development (GSD), Moe et al (2020) observed that even if one organization applied the same practices and strategies for onboarding of all new employees, the results are affected by several factors such as the domain and complexity of the teams, the type of team, and availability of teammates. Sharma and Stol (2020), based on survey data, argued that a successful onboarding is associated to higher levels of job satisfaction and workplace relationship quality. ...
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