AN EXPERIENCE USING TEAM RULES FOR IMPROVING TEAM WORK IN SOFTWARE ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION

D. Tamayo Avila1, W. Van Petegem2

1University of Holguin (CUBA)
2KU Leuven (BELGIUM)
Modern software development involves intensive team work. Consequently, it is required to update software engineers’ education with regard to collaborating in team. Cohesion is considered a human factor impacting team effectiveness in general (Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, & Gilson, 2008). Some authors have been researching team cohesion in software engineering. It has been found that team cohesion is an important human factor in the establishment of a motivating working environment in software organizations (França, Fabio, Felix, & Carneiro, 2014), with significant positive effect on the productivity of developers (Anupriya et al, 2014; Xuan, Fang, Fu, & Filkov, 2015) and on team performance (Yang & Tang, 2004). Despite cohesion is recognized to play an important role by not only the corporate but also the academic world (C.-yang Chen, Hong, & P.-chi Chen, 2014; Wellington, Briggs, & Girard, 2005), scarce evidence exists about team cohesion as taught in software engineering education.

This work shows the results of a pilot study related to cohesion and its relationship with performance behaviors in undergraduate software engineering education. The students’ teams were involved in software projects in industry. Teams had to agree on rules with regard to communication and conflict management pursuing more cohesive teams. It was observed that the level of cohesion was related with team performance behaviors. Students’ perceptions of the member contributions related with behaviors for several levels of performance were used as a feedback in order to update the initial agreements on team rules. The study was deployed in Cuba during a software engineering course.