This paper is an exploration of knowledge work practices in a distributed software development setting. The author has undertaken an empirical study in the Irish subsidiary of a multinational company over a 16‑month period. Our methods were inspired by ethnography; by spending an extended period of time with a software development team working on a specific project, we had the opportunity to observe real work practices in a real work setting in the specific circumstances of distributed work. The purpose of the current study is to highlight the ways in which technical and social factors are inextricably entwined in distributed work settings.
Keywords: collaboration, work practices, distributed work environments, global software development, knowledge work, mutual knowledge, transactive memory