Diploma and Master Theses (authored and supervised):

B. Eckhard:
"Context-Aware Notification in Global Software Development";
Supervisor: S. Biffl, A. Schatten; Institut für Softwaretechnik und interaktive Systeme, 2007.

English abstract:
Global software development (GSD) projects should allow e cient development
of complex software systems as teams coming from diverse cultural backgrounds,
technical capabilities, and time zones work together. However, GSD projects are
also complex socio-technical systems with the challenge to collaborate in a heterogeneous
and changing technical environment. Agility to react quickly and e ciently
to changes is important, but hard to achieve with traditional process-driven methods
and tools.
Project managers, group leaders, and architects of communication and coordination
infrastructure in a GSD project need to provide a su cient and minimal set of tools
that support the timely exchange of relevant information for each role in the project.
This thesis presents:
1. A model to describe GSD projects as socio-technical systems and analyze their
risks and weak spots in order to support the project manager in weighing
the trade-o s of changes in the project plan between resources, quality and
2. A method for noti cation modeling: In a traditional software development
project informal communication is important to identify challenges (typically
linked to one or more events in the project) and discuss solution approaches.
However, in GSD projects this communication is only available in local groups,
but not necessarily between groups.
An example is the need of several roles, which are not aware of each other,
to coordinate their work. A common workaround is to notify many people of
important events via e-mail or shared lists. Unfortunately, this approach may
lead to a role receiving too many irrelevant incoming messages or miss vital
A good solution needs to build on an understanding of the project context
(roles, technologies, processes, components, dependencies, etc.) and allows
users to de ne precisely which changes in the project context should trigger
noti cations and who should receive them.
We present the Noti cation Speci cation Language (NSL) that allows a precise
and user friendly modeling of the noti cation requirements.
3. The tool prototype noticon that can interpret the NSL and inform users according
to the speci cations timely and with minimal interruption of their
primary work. The approach integrates via open source technologies (Mule,
ActiveMQ, Drools) the work tools that are used in the GSD project in order
to provide rich noti cation capabilities. Noti cations are presented to the receivers
in the user interface of the tools they are currently using; this minimizes
interruption and additional tool overhead.
4. A feasibility study for the evaluation of the model and the tool prototype that
was conducted in cooperation with experts from Siemens PSE in the context of
a typical GSD environment. Based on this setting a "Total Cost of Ownership"
analysis was done to compare noticon to a conventional "email per change"
noti cation approach.
Important results of this work are: a) GSD projects face high communication risks
and some of the risks can be mitigated with noti cation systems. b) Existing solutions
are inapplicable because they generate either too much or too less noti cations
which causes high costs in GSD projects. c) the solution proposed in this thesis can
be used to systematically describe and discover the noti cation requirements and
can e ectively and e ciently deliver 1) the right information, 2) at the right time,
3) to the right persons, without interrupting their current activities. This allows
savings of more than 50% of the communication costs in big projects.

Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.