Document roles and responsibilities

Pattern Attributes

Intervention Organization
Domain any
Work Programme WP3
Research Area GSD
Evidence Type Lit. review; Case studies
Evidence Source literature
Evidence Strength Valid
Trigger num_sites > 1


You are undertaking Global Software Development, and you need to ensure that roles and responsibilities are understood by all relevant parties.


Research shows that there can be a blurring of roles, and that it can be unclear who is responsible for a given task or output. Poorly defined roles can lead to one person being over-burdened or people being blamed or praised for issues that are unrelated to their perception of what they are employed to do.


  1. Organizational structure should be documented and available to all teams to allow a clear understanding of everyone’s roles and responsibilities within the project.
  2. Each location should understand their role within the life cycle of the product.
  3. Ensure that Information about each team member is easily accessible by colleagues.
  4. Information of an individual’s role within the team and their specific areas of responsibility should be combined with a photograph, their first name, surname, friendly name (if appropriate) and their preferred form of address.

Appoint Deputy Architect. Common Task Vision, Distributed Team Management, Knowledge Management Infrastructure, Manage Workforce Mobility.


  1. Noll, J., S. Beecham and I. Richardson (2010). “Global software development and collaboration: barriers and solutions.” ACM SIGCSE Bulletin - Special Section on Global Intercultural Collaboration(Sept.).
  2. Richardson, I., V. Casey, F. McCaffery, J. Burton and S. Beecham (2012). “A process framework for global software engineering teams.” Information and Software Technology 54(11): 1175-1191.
  3. V. Casey, in: I. Richardson, M. O’hAodha (Eds.), Software Testing and Global Industry: Future Paradigms, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, UK, 2009, p. 220.
  4. V. Casey, I. Richardson, Project management within virtual software teams, in: International Conference on Global Software Engineering, ICGSE 2006, IEEE, Florianopolis, Brazil, 2006.