Awareness Builder (ABX)


Improve group cohesion and thus communication in spite of physical separation in distributed software development projects by supporting group awareness.


Distributed software development has become a fact of life for many organizations. While the current telecommunication infrastructures support cheap and effective data sharing and communication, they are often under-utilized by the project participants. This leads to communication breakdowns, which can significantly reduce the probability of project success.


An environment that helps the participants become aware of the activities of others in spite of physical separation can increase group cohesion and thus improve communication. We propose a system called Awareness Builder (ABX) to gather and visualize such awareness information using existing software development tools.

ABX will enable the participants of distributed software development projects to monitor the activities of others over a wide range of artifacts (e.g., system artifacts, organizational charts, or rationale models). Participants can subscribe to be notified when specific system artifacts are modified, when specific participants trigger an activity, or when participants trigger activities related to specific issues. Relationships among the system, organizational, and rationale models are then used to provide observers a context to interpret the activities of others. By providing context in terms of issues (as opposed to only system or communication artifacts), we hope to disseminate richer and more targeted awareness information, hence creating more opportunities for informal information exchanges and for distributed collaboration.

ABX is currently under development. This summer, after the implementation is completed, we plan to perform a series of short studies with a limited number of students to calibrate the system.Those studies will have three main goals: to find suitable subscribtion rules, define meaningful relationships for artifacts and to evaluate the user interface.

The calibrated system will then be used by the participants of our next distributed project course ARENA (October 2002 - February 2003), where we will study the impact of increased awareness on project communication.


  • Dipl.-Inform. Rafael Kobylinski (Researcher)
  • Martin Ott (Student/SEP)
  • Martin Pittenauer (Student/SEP)
  • Dominik Wagner (Student/SEP)


  • Sabine Mehlstäubl (Student/SEP)

Infrastructure (Login Required)

  • Discussion Forum
  • Defect Tracking
  • REQuest (Requirements Analysis and Rationale Capture)
  • iCal Calendar (iCal required)
  • Project Server
  • Project Shared Directory /Shared/awareness on
  • CVS Repository /cvs/awareness on


R. Kobylinski, O. Creighton, A.H. Dutoit, B. Bruegge
Building Awareness in Global Software Engineering Projects: Using Issues as Context
International Workshop on Global Software Development (co-located with ICSE '02).
Orlando, FL, May 21, 2002.
R. Kobylinski
An Awareness Support System for Distributed Software Development.
Unpublished position paper. April 2001. (PDF)

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