A tale of two projects: A pattern based comparison of communication strategies in student software development

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Conference Proceeding

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Preparing students for the communication realities of software development is as difficult as it is important. Training in specific genres of oral and written communication is vital, but successful software developers must also design their communication, choosing appropriate genres and styles to fit the audience and context. We introduce a pattern language for classifying and describing communication strategies. Communication Patterns serve both as an approach for rigorous qualitative analysis and as a library of established practices that students can draw from. The approach has clear links to software design patterns and highlights the fact that communication, like software, is a designed artifact. We focus on two software projects from our case study repository, using Communication Patterns. The two case studies have a great deal of overlap in objectives, stakeholders, responsibilities and timescales, but the outcomes are drastically different. Through patterns, we assess communication at strategic and tactical levels, and we find major differences in communication choices. We also discuss our attempts to expose students to Communication Patterns in the classroom. We conclude with a look at future efforts to deepen our pattern library and diversify our approaches to building and using them. © 2013 IEEE.

Publication Title

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE