The use of systems development methodologies by virtual software development teams
Pitso, Thato Margaret
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In this study, we are investigating how systems development methodologies and virtual software development teams work together to produce a better end product. Systems development methodologies have been defined as an approach that helps organisations to build their systems in a well-standardised and comprehensive manner in order to achieve common goals. This includes all the procedures or steps to be followed depending on the specific approach used by the individual organisation. A virtual team has been defined as a group of people, separated locally or internationally, working to achieve a common goal. Achieving a desired goal involve use of various technologies such as telephones, e-mails, video-conferencing, and any other effective communication modes. Human resource could include the most qualified candidates from inside or outside their companies who always form or reform a specific task team continuously. Organisations would also be able to deliver quality products and increase client’s satisfaction and build strong reporting relationships as team members report to various authorities. I followed a positivistic approach which entails a survey as a research method using a questionnaire for data collection from a large group of people. Statistical analysis was applied for data analysis. Research findings were very reliable and significant based on the test for validity of data. Techniques that were used to analyse data were descriptive analysis, factor analysis, reliability analysis, correlation analysis, cross-tabulations and regression analysis. Specific objectives of this study included identifying challenges and benefits faced by virtual software development teams. The results showed that even though there are still challenges; there are more benefits in virtualisation. For instance, challenges such as technology, culture, customs, personal conflict and distance between the teams occurred. Another objective was to evaluate the use (if any) and the suitability of current systems development methodologies for use by virtual software development teams. Descriptive measures using frequency and correlations and cross-tabulations were applied to the data obtained through questionnaire surveys. The results showed that virtual software teams are using a combination of traditional and agile systems development methodologies. The other objective was to define how many are using SDM; what SDM they are using and if none; and what are the reasons for not using them. The results showed that 35% of virtual teams adapted systems development methodology (SDM) on a project-to-project basis while 33% of participants used a general guideline for all projects, and 32% of participants used a standard procedure which is followed thoroughly for all projects. Another objective was to determine the success of projects developed by virtual software development teams. The results showed that the participants strongly felt that their projects were very successful in terms of customer satisfaction, product, competencies, process, communication and leadership. The last objective was to investigate the role (if any) of systems development methodologies in the success of those projects. The stepwise regression analysis was used to determine factors that influence the overall success of recent projects developed. The results for this study showed that support provided by SDM as production technology, support provided by SDM as control technology, gender_m (males) and team performance have a large influence on the success of projects developed by virtual software development teams.