Title: The Rising Importance of Soft Skills for IT-Students: Working Online in Agile Globally Distributed Teams During the Pandemic
Stream: International Education
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Patricia Brockmann, Nuremberg Institute of Technology, Germany
Yana Moroshan, Nuremberg Institute of Technology, Germany
During the current pandemic, globally distributed software development teams have had to adapt their communication strategies. IT-students will need to learn new soft skills during their university studies. This work presents results from qualitative interviews of IT professionals during the current pandemic. Specific problems in adapting to remote, online work were identified. Language barriers, including different levels of English proficiency among non-native speakers of English, were increased by online communication. In spite of cultural awareness seminars, cultural differences between teams members remained a challenge. All of the interview partners reported difficulties in knowledge management. Information could not be evenly communicated between team members. This lack of transparence decreased acceptance of decisions. One of the biggest changes reported was the lack of in-person contact. Informal communication between co-located team members, which used to take place over lunch or coffee, had previously helped build trust between team members and to integrate new employees. Team-building measures, such as online game nights, or “chat-roulettes” with randomly selected team members, were introduced. Advantages to remote work, such as the reduction of travel times, were also identified. Some employees moved home, even back to their original countries. Shorter meetings resulted from strict agendas. Remote work helped parents with children, especially when many child care facilities were closed due to the pandemic. These results will be used to define requirements for a university course to teach students the skills necessary to work in globally distributed, agile software development teams.
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