Communication Challenges for Distributed Teams

Full Text (PDF, 451KB), PP.19-28

Views: 0 Downloads: 0


Muhammad Asad Bin Khalid 1,* Asim Farooq 1 Waqas Mahmood 1

1. Institute of Business Administration Karachi, Pakistan

* Corresponding author.


Received: 9 Jan. 2021 / Revised: 18 Jan. 2021 / Accepted: 25 Jan. 2021 / Published: 8 Feb. 2021

Index Terms

Communication, Communication Hurdles, Distributed environment


The paper discusses the issues and problems faced by individuals working in diverse or distributed teams especially in the software industry. The research shows a feedback and trend of the teams that work in distributed environments letting us understand the behaviors and figuring out solutions for the problems of communication. The trend was already set in a few organizations that provided outsourcing services to their clients but after the recent issue of the pandemic almost all organizations switched towards this trend and started focusing on working in distributed teams and not on site. This ensured the safety of the employees as well as it let them keep their work and performance undisturbed. But in the practice of working in distributed teams the major factor that affected the performance was the problem in communication, either due to the available mediums (online meeting software products) or the internet connections. The only factor affecting the performances somehow was the communication problem factor and we have addressed this in our paper, moreover a survey is also done through a questionnaire with the people of software industries in Pakistan and a result is generated for how the people feel working in distributed environments and what hurdles they faced in communication.

Cite This Paper

Muhammad Asad Bin Khalid, Asim Farooq, Waqas Mahmood, " Communication Challenges for Distributed Teams ", International Journal of Engineering and Manufacturing (IJEM), Vol.11, No.1, pp. 19-28, 2021. DOI: 10.5815/ijem.2021.01.03


[1] Walimbe, P. (2016).To Overcome Communication Challenges in Distributed/Virtual Scrum Teams.

[2] Communication in Distributed Agile Development: A Case Study Mikko Korkala and Pekka Abrahamson VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

[3] Quality Issues in Global Software Development Sanjay Misra Dept. of Computer Engineering, Atilim University Ankara, Turkey . Fernández-Sanz Dept. of Computer Sciences, Universidad de Alcalá Alcalá de Henares

[4] Farooqui Sumeen, and Waqas Mahmood. "A Survey of Pakistan's SQA practices: A Comparative Study." 29th International Business Information Management Association Conference. 2017

[5] Zia, Ahmed, Waleed Arshad, and Waqas Mahmood. "Preference in using agile development with larger team size." International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications 9.7 (2018): 116-123.

[6] Usmani, Nabiha, Rabbia Hassan, and Waqas Mahmood. "Impediments to Requirement Engineering in Distributed Team." International Journal of Information Engineering and Electronic Business 9.6 (2017): 10.

[7] Stephen M. Fiore, Eduardo Salas, Haydee M. Cuevas & Clint Bowers (2003) Distributed coordination space: Toward a theory of distributed team process and performance, Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 4:3-4, 340-364, DOI: 10.1080/1463922021000049971

[8] David J. Pauleen (2003) Lessons Learned Crossing Boundaries in an ICT-Supported Distributed Team, Journal of Global Information Management (JGIM) 11(4) DOI: 10.4018/jgim.2003100101

[9] M. Farmer (2004) DecisionSpace infrastructure: agile development in a large, distributed team Agile Development Conference DOI: 10.1109/ADEVC.2004.11

[10] Pamela Hinds, Sara B. Kiesler, Sara Kiesler. Distributed Work MIT Press 2002 Business & Economics

[11] Fatma Cemile Serçe, Kathleen Swigger, Ferda Nur Alpaslan, Robert Brazile, George Dafoulas, Victor Lopez, Online collaboration: Collaborative behavior patterns and factors affecting globally distributed team performance, Computers in Human Behavior, DOI: 10g.1016/j.chb.2010.09.017

[12] Kenton O'hara, Jesper Kjeldskov, Jeni Paay (2011) Blended interaction spaces for distributed team collaboration DOI: 10.1145/1959022.1959025

[13] Khan, Arif & Keung, Jacky & Hussain, Shahid & Bennin, Kwabena. (2015). Effects of Geographical, Socio-cultural and Temporal Distances on Communication in Global Software Development during Requirements Change Management: A Pilot Study. ENASE 2015 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Evaluation of Novel Approaches to Software Engineering. DOI: 10.5220/0005331401590168

[14] Layman, L., Williams, L., Damian, D., & Bures, H. (2006). Essential communication practices for Extreme Programming in a global software development team. Information and software technology, 48(9), 781-794.

[15] Diel, E., Marczak, S., & Cruzes, D. S. (2016, August). Communication challenges and strategies in distributed DevOps. In 2016 IEEE 11th International Conference on Global Software Engineering (ICGSE) (pp. 24-28). IEEE.

[16] Liu, L. A., Chua, C. H., & Stahl, G. K. (2010). Quality of communication experience: Definition, measurement, and implications for intercultural negotiations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(3), 469–487. DOI: 10.1037/a0019094

[17] Adler, N. J., & Graham, J. L. (1989). Cross-cultural interactions: The international comparison fallacy. Journal of International Business Studies, 20, 515–538.

[18] Kenneth L Hacker & Robert Steiner (2009) Hurdles of access and benefits of usage for internet communication. DOI: 10.1080/08824090109384821

[19] M Pikkarainen, J. Haikara, O. Salo, P. Abrahamsson & J. Still (2008) The impact of 9agile practices on communication in software development. DOI: 10.1007/s10664-008-9065-9

[20] Viktoria Stray, Nils Brede Moe (2020) Understanding coordination in global software engineering: A mixed-methods study on the use of meetings and Slack. DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2020.110717

[21] Cripe Krisda. Leading and Communicating to Virtual Teams by IT Project Managers. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2020. 27740504.

[22] DJ Pauleen, P Yoong (2001) Facilitating virtual team relationships via Internet and conventional communication channels. DOI: 10.1108/10662240110396450

[23] Oussama Saafein and Gholam A. Shaykhian (2013) Factors affecting virtual team performance in telecommunication support environment. DOI: 10.1016/j.tele.2013.10.004

[24] Ian Gorton and Sanjeev Motwani (1996) Issues in co-operative software engineering using globally distributed teams. DOI: 10.1016/0950-5849(96)01099-3

[25] Pamela J. Hinds and Mark Mortensen (2005) Understanding Conflict in Geographically Distributed Teams: The Moderating Effects of Shared Identity, Shared Context, and Spontaneous Communication. DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1050.0122.

[26] Reza Barkhi, Ali Amiri & Tabitha L. James (2014) A Study of Communication and Coordination in Collaborative Software Development. DOI: 10.1080/1097198X.2006.10856414

[27] Lauren E Scissors, N. Sadat Shami, Tatsuya Ishihara, Steven L. Rohall, Shin Saito (2011) Real-time collaborative editing behavior in USA and Japanese distributed teams DOI: 10.1145/1978942.1979109