Studying Onboarding in Distributed Software Teams: A Case Study and Guidelines
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonEASE '20: Proceedings of the Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering. 2020, 150-159. 10.1145/3383219.3383235
Many companies have turned towards globally distributed software development in their quest for access to more development capacity. This paper investigates how a company onboarded distributed teams in a global project, and report experience on how to study such distributed projects. Onboarding is the process of helping new team members adapt to the existing team and ways of working. The goal of the studied onboarding program was to integrate Portuguese developers into two existing Norwegian teams. Further, due to the growing trend in utilizing globally distributed projects, and the challenge of conducting studies in distributed organizations, it is crucial to find good practices for researching such projects. We collected qualitative data from interviews, observations, Slack conversations and documents, and quantitative data on Slack activity. We report experiences on different onboarding practices and techniques, and we suggest guidelines to help other researchers conduct qualitative studies in globally distributed projects.