2010-09-21 Software Development and Culture: Learning to Play Together

Software Development and Culture: Learning to Play Together
Presented by Robert Biddle, Carleton University

Date: Tuesday September 21, 2010
Time: 6:00pm
Place: TheCodeFactory, 246 Queen St., Ottawa


Software development means collaboration, and increasingly this collaboration must cross boundaries of organizational and national culture. Projects in multi-cultural settings involve countless challenges, including not only collaboration, but also everything from existing project planning and management, and even simple communication. Moreover, software development methods might need to be transformed to work at all. The aim of this talk is introduce models of culture, and to explore the impact of cultural differences on software development processes and methods, especially novel approaches such as agile development. The talk will be organized around a collaborative game to illustrate culture in the software development workplace. The game,‘Cultural Monopoly’ is a novel board game designed for small groups to explore the effects of cultural difference on a development project.


This talk is designed to meet the needs and challenges of software developers working in culturally diverse settings, as well as anyone implementing software methodologies in different cultures. The emphasis of the talk is in understanding the role and impact of cultural differences on software processes and methods. The talk should facilitate the development of participants’ skills to improve effective cross-cultural communication and collaboration in software projects. This talk will provide a broad cultural literacy that enhances software projects conducted in multi- cultural settings and facilitate the adoption of new software development practices in different cultures. We will contribute to the understanding of the function of cultures and diversity in a software development environment.


Highly interactive, primarily through game-play, especially a custom version of “monopoly” to simulate the software development process.


Practitioners, Managers, Educators


Robert BiddleRobert Biddle is Professor of Human Computer Interaction at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada: he is on the graduate faculty of both Computer Science and Psychology. He has degrees in Applied Analysis and Computer Science from the University of Waterloo and the University of Canterbury, and has diplomas in both childhood and adult education. His two main research areas are Software Design and Human-Computer Interaction. His current active research projects are in human issues in software development, novel approaches to computer security, and in the design of interactive media such as videogames, wikis, and end-user development environments.

When and Where:

This event will take place on Tuesday, September 21, 6:00pm at TheCodeFactory, located at 246 Queen Street, between Bank and Kent, (on the second floor) above the Green Papaya Restaurant.

Note: there is no cost for attending this event and prior registration is not required. Light snacks and refreshments will be served. An informal social gathering will follow at a nearby pub.


CapCHI is a social and professional society of people who work as user interface designers, researchers, educators, software developers, web designers, graphic designers and human factors engineers in and around Canada’s National Capital Region. Founded in 1991, CapCHI’s goal is to bring together local professionals interested in how humans and computers interact, in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.