An Investigation of Causes and Effects of Trust in Boundary Artefacts

Fabian Fagerholm, Daniel Mendez, Raquel Ouriques and Baldvin Gislason Bern

Information and Software Technology,

2023 · doi:


Context: Boundary Artefacts (BAs) support software development activities in many aspects because it carries lots of information in the same object that can be used and interpreted by several social groups within an organisation. When the BAs are inconsistent regarding their content, such as many meanings or lack of contextual information, their efficiency is reduced because stakeholders will not trust them. Objective: This study aimed to understand the implications of differences in the perception of trust on software projects and their influence on stakeholders’ behaviour. Methods: We conducted an exploratory case study to observe the creation and utilisation of one specific BA and the implications of differences in trust and their influence on stakeholders’ behaviour. Results: Our investigation has shown that practitioners adding and adjusting existing content do not entirely understand the stakeholders’ needs. Together with the partial management of the content, trust is impacted. When the content of BAs does not meet the trust factors, specifically reliability and predictability, the stakeholders cannot execute their tasks appropriately, and several implications affect the software development project. Additionally, they create workarounds to supply their needs.