Important characteristics of software development team members: An empirical investigation using Repertory Grid

by Keng Siau, Xin Tan, Hong Sheng
Information Systems Journal ()


An information system is typically developed by a team of information systems (IS) professionals. Research shows that teams staffed with the right people are more likely to be effective and efficient. There is a paucity of study that examines the important traits of IS professionals in team contexts. The objective of this research is to identify and understand the important characteristics of good team members in software development projects. We applied an established psychological technique (Repertory Grid) to guide our interviews with 21 experienced IS professionals, who have had extensive experience in software development teams. The comprehensive list of important characteristics was analysed qualitatively using open coding method of grounded theory. Fifty-nine unique characteristics were identified and classified into eight categories. Among them, attitude/motivation, knowledge, interpersonal/communication skills, and working/cognitive ability were perceived by research participants to be the most important categories. Our study provides a context-specific (i.e. software development team) evaluation of important characteristics of IS professionals. The results have significant implications for IS recruiting, IS training, IS staffing, and IS human resource management. Our study also supplements the research on management of IS development teams.

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