UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The importance of team skills for software development Wick, Carolyn Tanya


Software does not just happen - it must be engineered systematically through the collaboration of individuals with necessary software development skills and appropriate tools. Similarly, effective software teams do not just happen - they too are built over time through the collaboration of individuals with appropriate team skills, tools and resources. This thesis outlines the need for superior software teams, reviews the literature on team performance and argues that a practical way to begin improving the effectiveness of software teams is in training software engineers in the skills necessary for effective teamwork. A list of fundamental skills for software development is presented, including skills for team leaders interested in building effective software teams, and general-purpose team skills benefiting all software team members. The most important team skills for software development are described in detail, including: project management skills, meeting skills, asynchronous communication skills, interaction skills, conflict management skills, group problem-solving and decision-making skills, skills for understanding the user or customer, team-building skills, leadership, and process awareness. The thesis concludes with a case study of an undergraduate software engineering team project course, in which several initiatives were taken to observe the performance of software teams and to learn more about teaching team skills to software engineers. Some special skills needed for effectively teaching team skills are identified, and recommendations are offered to educators for modifying the undergraduate software engineering curriculum, as well as to software professionals in industry for engineering their own effective software teams.

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