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Universities to Research Collaboration Methods of Global Software Development

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IBM has announced that universities around the world are researching how to break down cultural and geographic barriers when developing software. Through Jazz Faculty Grants, universities are exploring the promise of global collaborative software development that taps into the skills and expertise of developers regardless of location.

The Jazz project is an open commercial community where IBM Rational customers, academics and partners can transparently collaborate on the development of Jazz technology. Historically, software development has been limited to in-house skills and software development tools focused on making individual developers more productive. Today, software development is becoming more complex with the actual development happening with offshore teams and/or business partners in different locations. Managing projects that span geographic and organizational boundaries is emerging as one of the top software delivery challenges.

Three universities were awarded prestigious Jazz Faculty Grants to further the software community's ability to think beyond individual developer productivity to organizational productivity, providing insight into how developers can communicate and work together more cohesively. Just as an air traffic controller has multiple screens to track flight patterns, the University of California, Irvine is exploring the use of multi-monitor environments to improve project awareness and development practices. The University of British Columbia and University of Victoria are embracing the collaboration capabilities of Jazz and researching software development team interactions and communication.

IBM is also announcing that universities are using commercial products based on Jazz technology, such as IBM Rational Team Concert, in the classroom. For example, University of British Columbia is using IBM Rational Team Concert to provide students with a collaborative development environment that mirrors a real-world team setting. In further support of the academic community, IBM intends to offer IBM Rational Team Concert 1.0 free of charge to academic institutions for use in accredited course programs or academic research projects.

"Bridging cultural, organizational and geographic boundaries to successfully develop and deliver software is crucial to today's global businesses," said Dr. Daniel Sabbah, general manager, Rational Software, IBM. "We expect the breakthrough research by IBM's university partners using these Jazz technology grants will help to further revolutionize the way software development teams collaborate.

Research findings promote collaboration across borders The University of British Columbia is researching the increasingly dynamic organization of software development teams in its project called Emergent Teams. Teams often form on an as-needed basis to solve particular problems. To help software developers collaborate within a dynamic team environment, University of British Columbia has introduced the Emergent Expertise Locator tool, built as an extension to the Jazz platform. Based on how files have changed in the past and who has participated in these changes, the Emergent Expertise Locator recommends members of an emergent team for a current problem of interest.

Determining what software development team members are working on and keeping tabs on their involvement, expertise, and inter-issue dependencies is a constant challenge in software engineering. Since team awareness and coordination is further tested as project complexity and geographic distribution increase, the University of Victoria has developed two prototypes that address these challenges. Using the Jazz platform, the Related Contributors Recommender and the Feature Awareness Team Explorer help team members visually understand social and artifact relationships to expose expertise and maintain awareness of their colleagues.

In its research, the University of California, Irvine is exploring the use of multi-monitor environments to improve project awareness and development practices. To date, software engineering tools are designed under the assumption that they must effectively operate on a single monitor on a developer's desk. The trend, however, is to equip developer's desks with multiple, typically larger monitors, and to equip community areas with tiled displays through which vast amounts of information can be shared. This research leverages Jazz technology to explore how software development tools should be (re)designed to take advantage of this extra display space, with a particular focus on project awareness. The Jazz platform provides many hooks and listeners through which the information that the visualizations need can be obtained.

Live multi-location demonstration of Jazz As economics and skilled labor expand the geographies of teams, development environments need to adapt to handle the needs of distributed groups. Jazz was developed using agile practices, but the IBM team never had the luxury of developing in a single location or even a single time zone. The Jazz development team used Jazz and adapted and evolved its own practices, and those from the agile community, to support its own cross borders software development project. This continues today at jazz.net.

On October 23, 2007, IBM will demonstrate the collaborative nature of the Jazz software development environment and Jazz-based IBM Rational Team Concert at the OOPSLA conference in Montreal and concurrently with the IBM CASCON conference in Toronto. Following this demonstration, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria and University of California, Irvine will present posters of the work they are doing to extend the Jazz platform and help increase software development team productivity. The three universities will also deliver presentations on their Jazz-related research at OOPSLA on October 24, 2007. IBM Rational Team Concert, beta 1, will be on display in the exposition floors at OOPSLA and CASCON.

For more information on IBM's Jazz project, go to http://jazz.net.

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit: www.ibm.com.

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