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Challenges (and Opportunities!) of a Remote Agile Software Engineering Project Course During COVID-19

Challenges (and Opportunities!) of a Remote Agile Software Engineering Project Course During COVID-19

Presentation slides of the paper "Challenges (and Opportunities!) of a Remote Agile Software Engineering Project Course During COVID-19", presented at the combined CSEE&T'22 and HICSS-55 SEET conference in January 2022.

Authors: Christoph Matthies, Ralf Teusner, Michael Perscheid
Affiliation: Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam, Germany

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Christoph Matthies

January 07, 2022
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  1. Hasso Plattner Institute University of Potsdam, Germany christoph.matthies@hpi.de @chrisma0 Challenges

    (and Opportunities!) of a Remote Agile Software Engineering Project Course During COVID-19 Christoph Matthies, Ralf Teusner, Michael Perscheid virtual conference, January ’22 Image: Video Call by Vectors Point from NounProject.com
  2. 2 Case Study Context An undergraduate Agile software engineering course

    “methods, concepts, and technologies that help successfully deliver large software products developed by multiple teams. [1]” [1]ihttps://hpi.de/plattner/teaching/archive/winter-term-2020-21/ softwaretechnik-ii-agile-software-development-in-large-teams.html Image: Mortar Board by Catia Marsh Mallow from NounProject.com
  3. Case Study Context 3 Course contents, context and study motivation

    ▪ Practical project course featuring multiple student teams ▪ Teams collaborate to build a common product ▪ Scrum and Kanban are taught and used in practice ▪ Close to real-world software development experiences: large-scale collaboration, software architecture, work organization, customer management COVID pandemic: switch from in-person teamwork to completely virtual setup Image: Virus by Nawicon from NounProject.com
  4. Main Research Question 4 The aim of this study Research

    Question: What challenges and opportunities occurred in a multi-team Agile university project course taught (emergency) remotely for the first time? Image: Question by KonKapp from NounProject.com
  5. Case Study Context 5 ▪ Experienced student tutors participate in

    all regular student team meetings, act as knowledgeable mentors ▪ Teaching team member takes on role of project customer supplying requirements and feature wishes ▪ Teaching team members available for questions and comments Teaching team support Image: High Five by Adrien Coquet from NounProject.com
  6. Data Collection 6 ▪ Two main methods of data collection:

    □ Semi-structured notes of regular teaching team meetings □ Anonymous, free-text end-of-term course evaluations ▪ Items included that received at least two separate mentions ▪ Iteratively grouped into topic cluster Categorized items as challenges or opportunities Perceptions of educators and students Image: Data Collection by Becris from NounProject.com
  7. Remote Collab. Challenges 7 ▪ Encountered challenges of emergency remote

    teaching experience mirror previous reports □ Especially regarding remote lectures [2] However, we also noticed positives of remote Agile software engineering education and teamwork that were not anticipated Perceived challenges and opportunities [2] Watermeyer, R., Crick, T., Knight, C. et al. COVID-19 and digital disruption in UK universities: afflictions and affordances of emergency online migration. High Educ 81, 623–641 (2021). Image: Challenge by LUTFI GANI AL ACHMAD from NounProject.com
  8. Positives of Remote Collab. 8 ▪ Results: 13 topic clusters

    on positives of remote collaboration in undergraduate SE project course ▪ Surprised by aspects of the remote collaboration approach that were deemed explicitly beneficial ▪ Other educators also thought “transforming to online teaching would be much harder than what they experienced” [3] Results of comment analysis regarding opportunities [3] Hjelsvold, R., Nykvist, S., Lorås, M., Bahmani, A., Krokan, A. Educators’ Experiences Online: How COVID-19 Encouraged Pedagogical Change in CS Education. No. 4 UDIT Norsk konferanse for utdanning og didaktikk i IT-fagene. (2020) Image: Positive by Ömer Demirsoy from NounProject.com
  9. Positives of Remote Collab. 9 Stable communication structures ▪ Teams'

    communication & organizational structures did not drastically change from in-person to remote setup ▪ Inter-team communication was overwhelmingly digital in previous in-person projects ▪ Instant messaging is heavily present in modern life, sending a chat message even in co-located teams is not unusual Extract of observed positives of a remote agile SE course Image: Smartphone by IconMark from NounProject.com
  10. Positives of Remote Collab. 10 Deeper connection to teaching team

    ▪ Tutors spontaneously asked to join team video calls when questions or issues arose ▪ Not possible in in-person meetings, which might not even take place in a shared space that can be easily reached ▪ Course tutors reported improved connections to the teams through instant messaging in the remote setup Extract of observed positives of a remote agile SE course Image: Video Call by Vectors Point from NounProject.com
  11. Positives of Remote Collab. 11 Easier organization of team building

    activities ▪ Organizing team-building activities, finding common time & place, reported as more straightforward in remote teams ▪ Efficient virtual communication setup already present, virtual collaborative team activities were quick to set up ▪ Mentioned examples included Scribble.io, Among Us, or virtual Settlers of Catan Extract of observed positives of a remote agile SE course Image: Game by Lukasz M. Pogoda from NounProject.com
  12. Positives of Remote Collab. 12 Documentation by default ▪ Digital

    collaboration tools lead to interactions and team decisions being documented by default ▪ Especially reported for Retrospective meetings □ Team issues & solutions persisted in digital spaces □ Readily available in next meeting ▪ In in-person course iterations, progress on improvement actions often not tracked because they were forgotten Extract of observed positives of a remote agile SE course Image: Whiteboard by Amiryshakiel from NounProject.com
  13. Positives of Remote Collab. 13 Increased Pair Programming ▪ Remote

    course featured more Pair Programming ▪ Extensive use of code collaboration tools, e.g. LiveShare ▪ Virtual setup does not require physical co-location in front of a shared computer ▪ Both “driver” and “navigator” can use their customized computing setups, which is more comfortable Extract of observed positives of a remote agile SE course [4] VisualStudio Code Liveshare https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/de/services/live-share/ Image: Pair Programming by Creative Stall from NounProject.com
  14. ▪ Study of student and educator perceptions of emergency remote

    agile software engineering project course ▪ Present 10 challenges of remote collaboration in student teams and offer countermeasures based on our teaching experience ▪ Identify 13 positives of remote collaboration and action items Ongoing discussion on how to maintain positives in future courses Conclusions 14 Summarized study results and information on full paper Image: Conclusion by Eko Purnomo from NounProject.com
  15. Summary 15 christoph.matthies@hpi.de @chrisma0 HPI, University of Potsdam, Germany