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IBM Journal of Research and Development

Business Value through Software Development   Abstract
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Effective management of roles and responsibilities: Driving accountability in software development teams

by Y. Dubinsky,
A. Yaeli,
and A. Kofman
Teams differ in the way they define roles and responsibilities and in the level of formalism by which they establish and communicate these definitions. Responsibilities are not always clearly defined, and there is often confusion or mismatch between the individualís perspectives of a role and the expectations of that role by other team members. This lack of shared understanding can lead to issues in performance and lack of accountability. We review the notion of role specification as part of software development governance and present an approach for specifying responsibilities in terms of decisions to be made during the life cycle of software development artifacts. We present evaluation data from software teams as they redefine their roles and shape their responsibilities. We further present a tool for governance specification based on this approach, which can ensure that these specifications are adhered to in the software development platform. We conclude by describing a methodology for how the tool and approach can be implemented to help software development teams understand and evolve the appropriate governance for their needs.

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