The War Room Command Console, Shared Visualizations for Inclusive Team Coordination

C. O’Reilly, D. Bustard, and P. Morrow. The war room command console, shared visualizations for inclusive team coordination. In Proceedings of 2005 ACM Symposium on Software Visualization (Softviz 2005), pages 57–65, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA, May, 14-15 2005. Association for Computing Machinery. [pdf]


This paper presents a study on making the structure of software visible during system development. This is proven to have beneficial effects on building a shared understanding of the context for each piece of work; identify the progress with implementation; and highlight the any conflict between the individual delvelopment activities.

One of the central aspect of improving collaborative work is maintaining the level of conflict up to a certain level. In the author situation they identified this aspect with the code problem handling. Instead of a simple problem notification, it seemed desirable to allow delevopers to have access to each oither’s activities.

The authors identifies several obstacles to communication when trying to coordinate activities between members of a software development team: (a) conveying effort, the scale and complexity of the work involved; (b) determining current progress, to better coordinate activities; (c) identify conflict, to avoid wasted efforts; (d) highlight areas of concern, keep track of the artifacts that are of importance; and (e) translating between viewpoints, reconciliating different perspectives.

The rest of the paper details the experiments the users did with their test interface, which showed a positive effect on some of the points above. The trial also highlighted some important facts: 1) the definition of code complexity is not an easy one; 2) the mapping from the visualization to the code provided good effects on the users.


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