Re-Evaluating Media Richness Theory in Software Development Settings

Mohammed A. Bindrees, Robert J. Pooley, Idress Skloul Ibrahim, Nicholas Kenelm Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Software development teams communicate differently by using a variety of communication tools.
Successful communication leads to competitive software based on clear and quickly delivered requirements,
as well as smoothness in bug reporting and explanation. Agile and Waterfall software
development approaches have both addressed the importance of communication for their process.
However, neither Agile nor Waterfall has guaranteed communication effectiveness during their
development lifecycle. In this study we highlight the main differences between Agile and Waterfall
approaches in the light of Media Richness Theory (MRT). We also identify the preferred communication
tools during a project’s lifecycle using both Agile and Waterfall models separately. A
mixed-method approach was employed in this study incorporating quantitative and qualitative
data from interviews and a multilingual web-based survey. The results are presented descriptively
and statistically and a rank ordering of communication tools based on our participants’
preferences leads to a better understanding of how to select the best tool in a given situation. Thus
a new updated MRT ranking model tailored for software development environment was developed,
as well as, we conclude that communication tools are employed differently based on project
stages and team member’s role. These differences in using communication tools could be also attributed
to the type of transferable information or personal preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-51
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Computer and Communications
Issue number14
Early online date17 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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