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Response to [… on Project Landscape] by Dagenais et al.


This paper looks in to the research question of an experienced software developers getting into an ongoing project – how can they orient themselves to fit in the project. To answer this question they conducted a study based on grounded theory where they firstly asked participants to sketch their project team as a way to introduce it to the others. Secondly they conducted a semi-structure interview ended by asking participants to analyze the sketches they drew. Up to the point of publication they already gained some insight of the question including newcomers prefer learning by experimenting and communicating with colleagues and they usually rely less on wiki and documentations.


Research questions:

  1. what are the key, prominent features in a project landscape?
  2. what obstacles do new team members face? and
  3. what orientation help could be provided?


  1. One dichotomy of this research question is: 1) what can software developing team do? and 2) what can newcomers do?
  2. To me it seems that it is quite difficult to draw the line within which you can conduct a right amount of observation or study regarding the topic ‘landscape’. How do you know the participants are getting through orientation and how do you know where they are?
  3. Should there be a mechanism within each development team to welcome and orient newcomers?
  4. Should wiki and in-person tutoring be integrated?
  5. “To code a transcription, we read each sentence or paragraph and if it helps us answer our general research questions, we summarize the underlying concept with a code (one to three words). If the code representing the concept does not exist yet, we create and entry in our list of codes and add a definition. At the end of a few coding passes, at least one other person in our team reviews the codes, their definitions, and how they were assigned.”

About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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