Global software development projects are increasingly common in today's world. Such projects consist of a number of distributed teams, usually in different parts of a country, or even in different countries, working together to develop some kind of software. Coordination is already a difficult task when we talk about distributed teams, and the scattering of these teams around the globe makes this issue even harder. A manager needs to know how the team is doing, a team leader needs to assign tasks to their team members and developers need to communicate with each other. Different time zones and working hours, along with the lack of knowledge about other teams' structure and practices present hurdles to efficient communication. Overall, GSD teams lack awareness about other teams' status and tasks, and awareness is key to good coordination.

With this in mind, we developed World View, a software visualization tool targeted at project managers and team leaders who need an overview of project health and overall status at different levels of detail. The main goal of our project is to be a central repository of information as it pertains to the global functioning of the project, enabling its users to acquire, at a glance, critical data about their project's progress.

This is a screenshot of the World View interface, We chose to use dependencies of various kind as the mechanism to illustrate how distributed project teams become intertwined over time. Dependencies may range from work items submitted by one team to another, code developed by one team that is used by another, code that is jointly authored, bug reports that have been filed by one team for another to resolve, etc.

Case study

We are currently integrating World View with project data from the IBM Jazz development project. We are leveraging the Jazz project data as a case study for the World View project by visualizing the Jazz project development situation at certain points in time. By analyzing the teams and their dependencies, together with other project data such as work items and bug reports, we hope to gain a better understanding of the issues that arise with developing software in a global setting.


This tool is under development at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, in the University of California, Irvine, by Anita Sarma, Marcelo Alvim, Nazia Chorwadwala and Theo van Oostrum under the supervision of Professor André van der Hoek. Any questions should be sent to nazia.c@uci.edu.