A Case Study of Teamwork and Project Success in a Comprehensive Capstone Course



Teamwork is essential in agile software development projects. Therefore, software engineering students who participate in a software engineering capstone course involving teamwork are better prepared for the industry. This study investigated student teams over three years in a comprehensive capstone course offered by the University of Oslo. The collaboration between the students involved in the course changed from in person in 2019 to virtual in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we aimed to explore the differences in teamwork and the effect on project success when the student teams collaborated in person versus virtually. A mixed-methods case study was conducted. The quantitative data consisted of surveys representing 126 student teams and 595 individual respondents. The qualitative data included eight semi-structured interviews. The results indicate that the student teams in such software engineering capstone courses perform well even when collaborating virtually, but they are less satisfied than they are when in person. The student teams found it hard to motivate themselves when they suddenly had to work virtually. Still, the motivation increased when they found ways to collaborate and make the project case exciting. The teams found adequate collaboration tools and managed to carry out the teamwork virtually. Even though it was harder to work virtually, project success was not significantly affected. The student teams that performed well also used virtual collaboration proficiently.