Socio-technical Affordances for Stigmergic Coordination Implemented in MIDST, a Tool for Data-Science Teams

Professors Jeff Saltz and Kevin Crowston, along with Research Analyst Yatish Hegde, are researching a conceptual framework for socio-technical affordances for stigmergic coordination, that is, coordination supported by a shared work product.

Based on research on free/libre open source software development, they theorize that stigmergic coordination depends on three sets of socio-technical affordances: the visibility and combinability of the work, along with defined genres of work contributions.

As a demonstration of the utility of the developed framework, their team uses it as the basis for the design and implementation of a system, MIDST, that supports these affordances and that they thus expect to support stigmergic coordination.

The team describes an initial assessment of the impact of the tool on the work of project teams of three to six data-science students that suggests that the tool was useful but also in need of further development. Saltz, Crowston, and Hegde plans to conduct further research and an assessment of theory-driven system design.