Project Management Processes Used during the Development of
Software Projects in Home Office Format: A Field Research in
Multinational It Companies
Laura S. C. Claro, Ana Carolina D. Ferreira and Alessandra C. S. Dutra
School of Technology, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do RS (PUCRS), Porto Alegre, Brazil
Keywords: Project Management, Software Development, Teleworking, IT.
Abstract: Due to the consequences of the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus, home office has been adopted by
companies to enable the continuity of their activities in an emergency and preventive feature. A survey has
been conducted through interviews with ten project managers from multinational IT companies, in order to
analyse and understand how project management processes are performed during the development of software
projects in home office format. Impacts were identified in different aspects, positively and negatively, in the
project management processes. Concerning software development teams, it was possible to observe that the
greatest impact is related to communication and start using online tools for daily activities. We have also
learned that there are differences between the consequences of the home office and consequences of the
pandemic. And there are permanent changes and lessons learned during the management in pandemic.
Project management shows historical evidence of
having started during the period of the Industrial
Revolution. In the last few years, a new approach to the
execution of projects presents a differentiated view,
mostly in the execution of software projects: agile
methodologies, where the iterative approach is ideal
when the final product is not well defined and evolves
over time, agile project management focuses on active
collaboration of customers and staff and allows
flexibility and better adaptation to changes during
project execution. For all agile methods, effective
communication is highly valued during the
management process: the work team receives constant
feedback from interested parties and is willing to
change and ensure continuous improvement of the
product, embracing the work performed in each
iteration cycle (Larson & Gray, 2016).
In remote work, technology is essential, both in
the activity definition to be performed at a distance
and in the way the manager deals with his
subordinates. Several organizations already operate
in a home office arrangement; the technology sector
is one of the pioneers in this adaptation, while other
sectors are still in the learning process. This year
2020, an emergency situation forced the population to
carry out social distance and in this context many
companies had to quickly adapt into a home office
implementation for all their employees.
The pandemic caused by the new Coronavirus
COVID-19 compelled governments to make
individuals to adhere to social distance, which
includes closing schools, business centers and event
cancellation with people crowding (Wilder-smith &
Freedman, 2020). From this temporary change in
social life, several changes in the organizations' work
methodology were required in order to adapt to the
context. One of the alternatives found by the
companies is to enable their employees to perform
their work routine remotely, through the home office
It is important for managers to recognize which
processes could be impacted by and which
alternatives can be used to improve the effectiveness
of results. This work aims to identify and analyse the
project management processes used during the
development of software projects in home office
format, through field research in multinational IT
companies in a social distance context.
This work is structured in the following way: in
section 1, the theoretical basis used for the research
development. In section 2, the methodology used for
the field research phase is presented. The results found
Claro, L., Ferreira, A. and Dutra, A.
Project Management Processes Used during the Development of Software Projects in Home Office Format: A Field Research in Multinational It Companies.
DOI: 10.5220/0010406401890196
In Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems (ICEIS 2021) - Volume 2, pages 189-196
ISBN: 978-989-758-509-8
2021 by SCITEPRESS – Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
are commented and analysed in section 3. Finally, in
section 4, the conclusions of this study are presented.
2.1 Project Management
Project management comprehends a set of functions
to ensure the final objective is achieved. It comprises
management, organization and planning activities,
and it is essential to have techniques and use tools to
guarantee the control of all aspects involved in the
planning, execution and delivery of a project, in other
words, which are present in all its cycles. In the area
of software development, the project manager has the
responsibility to negotiate several changes during the
execution of the project. In order to apply the
processes that must be executed during a project, it is
recommended to use reference standards and present
their best practices for the project management
success. When implementing management methods,
it is possible to increase the project's level of success
(Sanchez et al, 2017). There are several standards
available, as PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2018).
2.2 Agile Methodologies
Software development presents complex business
processes, and it is constantly updating. In 2001, the
Agile Manifesto was created, which states that the
ideal balance must be sought between the importance
given to documentation and processes and deliveries
of value and quick response to changes. This
manifesto is the basis for the implementation of agile
methodologies, which are widely applied and have
been showing good results in the project development
process (Prikladnicki et al, 2014).
Scrum is one of the most well-known and used
methodologies in the industry; one of its main
characteristics is to be iterative-incremental, aiming
at delivering value in the shortest possible time. As
specified in the Scrum Guide, Scrum is not a process
or a technique for building products, but a framework
in which it is possible to employ different processes
and techniques (Schwaber & Sutherland, 2013).
2.3 Home Office
Teleworking can be characterized by a set of
professional activities, without direct contact with
other people, who through the use of communication
tools are able to relate in work groups (Rafalski &
Andrade, 2015). For organizations, teleworking
reflects a continuous adaptation of work routines and
behaviors. In the current scenario, these changes in
the work format reflect a greater business
sustainability and with technological advances, it is
possible to offer the worker new skills to do his or her
work effectively and productively (Aderaldo et al,
The home office implementation requires changes
in the management form, control and work routine,
but with the pandemic advancing, the adoption of this
work format contributed to isolation, requiring that
companies change quickly. As an orientation directed
especially to the management of teams in remote
work, five points are presented as fundamental:
having a leadership team in remote work; producing
a reference manual and releasing it as the main source
of confidence to answer the main doubts and keeping
it always up to date; establishing communication
plans, keeping communication channels open and
honor transparency, more accessible leadership helps
in better team adaptation; reducing the number of
tools to a minimum, ensuring that everyone has easy
access and the instructions for use are clear, in
addition to guide communication and documentation;
and finally, recognizing that the transition to remote
work is a process and driving change at that moment
is fundamental, considering that a company's success
is based on trust, communication and support for
shared goals (Gitlab, 2020).
2.4 Pandemic and Social Distancing
COVID-19 is classified by the World Health
Organization as a transmissible and contagious
disease, which can cause everything from mild
symptoms to severe cases and death. In less than a
month since the discovery of the disease, the World
Health Organization determined that COVID-19 was
a worldwide public health emergency, in other words,
a pandemic: it is an epidemic that reaches worldwide
proportions, when there are excessive cases of
communicable and contagious diseases (CDC, 2020;
WHO, 2020; Bonita, 2010).
To control the disease spreading and contagion
reducing by the virus, the main measure of public
health prevention is social distancing, avoiding
crowding and quarantining those who show
suspicious symptoms or have been exposed to the
virus (WHO, 2020). Social distance means keeping a
minimum distance of 1 meter from other people. In
Brazil, the law No. 13,979, February 6th, 2020,
institutes isolation and quarantine as some of the
ICEIS 2021 - 23rd International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
measures to fight the Coronavirus (Brasil, 2020). The
CDC (2020) recommends that people work and study
from home and leave only when necessary. From
these determinations, the home office was the way
adopted by the companies to enable the continuity of
their activities in an emergency and preventive
Papers related to this study have been searched.
The authors have searched for articles and scientific
papers that approach project management in a home
office context, using search tools such as
ScienceDirect. No materials that presented this
subject have been found, but they have found
researches that address these themes individually:
agile project management, project management,
home office practice and its relationship to the
COVID-19 pandemic.
This research has a basic, exploratory, qualitative and
semi-structured nature. The procedure adopted was a
field research, through bibliographic investigation
and data collection by semi-structured interview. The
field research is made through a bibliographic
investigation and data collection procedure with
people. Semi-structured interviews are applied based
on a previously prepared script and usually contain
open questions (Fonseca, 2002; Manzini, 2004).
The research subjects were professionals from
multinational IT companies who work in the areas of
project management and who are in a remote work
situation. The sample was ten professionals from
multinational IT companies who exercise the role of
project manager. They were invited by the authors
and the only criteria for the selection was to work on
multinational IT companies as a project manager.
An interview script was developed with ten
different questions about project management in the
home office context, caused by the pandemic. The
interview was guided and applied by the authors
remotely, using the video tool called Zoom.
After all the interviews were accomplished, each
of them was transcribed and the data collected were
organized. The data underwent a qualitative analysis,
in order to organize, analyse and interpret the data.
Then, the data obtained through the interviews were
categorized. Ten categories were defined with
Ethical aspects were handled by obtaining
informed consent and ensuring the privacy
preservation of the interviewees', without
discrimination in selection of those.
In this section, the field research results are presented,
according to the objectives of this work. The
interviewed managers’ profile is shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Demographic information of the interviewed.
20 - 30 1
31 - 40 4
41 - 50 3
> 50 2
Female 5
Male 5
Current Position
Project Manager 7
Software Research and
Development Manager
Software Development
IT Development Manager 1
Experience time in years
1 - 5 3
6 - 10 4
11 - 20 2
> 21 1
4.1 Obtained Results Analysis
This is a qualitative analysis, and it characterizes the
content found in the interview phase. Ten categories
were defined (with subcategories) following a
categorization methodology. The topics specified
below present the analysis from the raised categories.
4.2 Methods
The methods used by all the managers interviewed,
during the home office context, are Scrum and
Kanban, along with the use of a combination of both
methods by one of the managers. These were not
affected by the change from the face-to-face to the
Project Management Processes Used during the Development of Software Projects in Home Office Format: A Field Research in
Multinational It Companies
remote context: the only change was the way to use
and apply the techniques and methods, which became
entirely online. Following Scrum, managers cited the
performance of all ceremonies. The Kanban started to
be used with an open scope and with continuous
deliveries. Some techniques started to be applied
completely online: Design Thinking for discoveries,
war room for problem solving, Lean tools and
methodologies for root cause analysis, such as
fishbone diagram.
4.3 Tools
The use of tools before and during the pandemic has
changed, although both project teams and managers
have used many of them previously. The main change
mentioned was related to the intensity and frequency
use of these. According to the interviewees, the most
used tool in the face-to-face context that was lost in
changing the work format is the whiteboard, used to
perform group actions and monitor the development
Table 3: Tools that had their use affected by the pandemic.
Use purpose Tools
Dynamics and
actions group
FunRetro, Mural, Miro
Zoom, Webex,
Microsoft Teams,
Microsoft Outlook
Organization and
planning, team work
Jira, Rally, Microsoft
Planner, Trello,
Microsoft Project
Confluence, Microsoft
Word, Microsoft
PowerPoint, OneNote
People Management
Microsoft Excel
CRM Siebel
Data and business
Microsoft PowerBI
Document and file
Google Drive, Microsoft
The white board was mentioned in 6 of the 10
interviews as the most affected tool by remote work.
The meetings did not stop happening: in person, no
specific tools were used, but after the beginning of the
remote work, the use of videoconferencing
applications was reported. The interviews mentioned
the tools that were affected by the pandemic and are
listed in Table 3.
Managers reported significant learnings for
improving processes regarding the use of online tools.
According to a report by one of the interviewees: “[...]
things that were very difficult, perhaps one would be
waiting to solved in person with the client and with
the people on the team. Since we do not have this
option, we learn and look for other alternatives to
accomplish them remotely, both the way of talking,
connecting, as well as searching for digital tools that
before were always sought for an in-person
alternative”. It has been identified learning with tools
has been identified to improve the communication of
the team and stakeholders, bringing transparency to
the management. Managers also started learning
about virtual tools, with presentation and conference
protocols, security, types of tools best suited to each
situation, online courses and training. Interviewed
pointed the replacement of face-to-face tools with
digital tools as a permanent adaptation to the
companies' project management, especially for teams
distributed in different locations.
4.4 Communication
The point which was most addressed by the
interviewees was communication during the home
office. It was necessary for a quick and effective
manager’s adaptation with the team and with the form
of management, so that the communication could be
maintained with quality and efficiency. Although in a
smaller quantity, some points were reported in which
the home office brought advantages in
communication, with the convenience in
communication that was necessary, since the agendas
became busier and time needed to be optimized.
There was a communication restructuring in order
to be more objective and more comprehensive. The
concept of non-violent communication was
fomented, which consists in a communication
approach that aims to speak and listen with
compassion (Rosenberg, 2006). According to one of
the managers: “The effort to better communicate with
others has generated a more careful behavior with
communication, [...] to be clearer, to check if the
other is understanding what is being said and agreed.
This is one of the lessons learned from the pandemic
ICEIS 2021 - 23rd International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
that I think will last forever”. As a disadvantage, the
lack of proximity to the managed was raised, as
reported below: “It is more difficult to understand
what the other person is going through. The
relationship between people has been lost, there is no
way of knowing if the person we are talking to is
really well or not”. This change in the relationship
format reflected in the way the managers work. They
felt the need to increase the frequency of private
conversations with each member of the team. The
formation of new teams made it difficult to get closer
to the members of the newly formed team. Beyond
that, there is a difficulty in guaranteeing the
motivation and engagement of the team. One of the
managers narrates: “I'm not sure if people are really
engaged and dedicated to what they need right now,
as I can't see the difficulties closely”. Another
disadvantage was the increased frequency of
information transmission, resulting in a greater
number of meetings, e-mails and messages. Because
of this, the team members forget the aligned
processes, and it became necessary to prepare
meeting minutes and formalize decisions and
agreements made.
4.5 Productivity
Productivity was related to factors such as the work
environment, adaptability, focus and distractions. For
most managers, teams were able to adapt quickly to
the new reality in this regard, and in some cases,
productivity increased. The performance of software
developers has grown proportionately: many of them
have reported to managers that they have started to
focus more on their day-to-day activities when they
are working from home. However, for some
managers, productivity remained similar to the face-
to-face format.
4.5.1 Focus
The focus was responsible for increasing the
productivity of some employees. This is because
virtual meetings decrease the scope for interruptions,
delays, informal conversations and other situations
that cause distractions; people spend more time on the
same task in virtual mode than in person. According
to the managers, the distractions experienced in the
company office decreased significantly with remote
work, giving people greater concentration on their
tasks. This reduction was pointed out as one of the
advantages in the home office context: "[...] in the
office I was frequently interrupted, I started doing an
activity and someone called me, that often happened
and in remote work, you can actually work on what is
in your schedule. "The following points were
indicated as responsible for increasing the focus:
reduction of informal conversations; meetings are
virtual; option to use "do not disturb" features in
communication tools; less travel time to devote to
other tasks.
4.5.2 Work Environment
Work environment was also addressed as a decisive
factor for home office productivity: many employees
do not have an appropriate workstation, which
directly affects the employee's productivity, since
they lack the comfort offered by the company in the
office. The report translates this reality: “At home, in
an emergency situation like the one we have been
through, not everyone was able to prepare properly.
As far as the pandemic period was being
extended, things became less improvised, but not
necessarily everyone on the team has an ideal home
office structure. “Plus, there is the environment itself:
children and family members close to the work
environment, making it difficult to focus on activities.
However, despite the presence of that reality in
the daily lives of many employees today, this scenario
does not originate from teleworking, but from the
pandemic, which forces distance and, consequently,
distances children from schools and family members
from their respective workspaces.
4.6 Personal Organization
Personal organization has been mentioned numerous
times. In remote work, personal organization was
necessary so that the management activities (and
other employees) were properly fulfilled, regardless
of the operating environment. Thanks to the need for
greater agendas and schedules control, it was possible
for some managers to follow a previously defined
task plan in order to fulfil the expected day-to-day
activities. This context favored the managers and
employees' personal organization. According to one
of the managers: “Self-organization has become
much more demanded, and not everyone is able to be
self-organized and self-managed”. Some of the
managers interviewed report that, at the beginning of
the pandemic, discipline in the home office was less;
over time, this self-organization has increased, in
some cases, including in personal activities. A work
routine started to be established as in the face-to-face
context, with meeting and work schedules and rest,
lunch and leisure times.
Project Management Processes Used during the Development of Software Projects in Home Office Format: A Field Research in
Multinational It Companies
4.7 Working Day Tracking
Managers are responsible for managing not only
projects, but people who make them happen.
Monitoring the development of the team members of
the managers interviewed was affected by the home
office in different aspects, from communication to
direct people management. Relaxation moments were
excluded from work routine and this reality directly
interfered in the relationship between managers and
their respective teams. It was necessary to increase
the frequency of private meetings with the
employees, since there are no more casual meetings
for the natural development of conversations.
Managers began to monitor people's feelings, tone
of voice, and non-verbal language more closely, as
there is no visual and face-to-face contact to capture
key points for personnel management. Some of the
interviewees started managing new teams in a
completely remote way, relating only through virtual
communication tools. “[...] I lost feeling of how the
day-to-day life is, how the team's energy is, the
progress of the work. I spend many moments without
talking to them and without feeling how things are
going”. There is no one-off help from collaborator to
collaborator, when they are blocked or having
trouble. The relationship of trust and proximity
between managers and employees has become more
challenging, since there are no gaps for building
bonds and empathies in the same way as in the face-
to-face context. “[...] it is much more natural to focus
more on what has to be done and not on the people
who are working with us”.
4.8 Flexibilization
Work flexibility was mentioned, on several occasions
in the interviews, as an advantage and a learning
experience for the home office, and is considered a
permanent change in companies, even after the end of
the pandemic context.
4.8.1 Schedule Flexibilization
An advantage mentioned was the schedule's
flexibility: as examples, one can mention the
possibility of scheduling online meetings, which
eliminate travel time and can avoid delays. In
addition, by viewing online calendars, it is easier to
find compatible schedules for everyone involved. The
option of not responding instantly to messages
received by chat also contributes to the focus on the
execution of activities and the flexibility of work
4.8.2 Place Flexibilization
The workplace flexibility is directly related to the
possibility found by the managers and their team to
perform their activities in places other than the
physical office. This was a learning experience
presented by a manager who, before the pandemic,
worked in person with his team and, even with the
possibility of opting for working days in the home
office model, he believed that being present in the
office brought more benefits for the execution of his
tasks. Currently, he identified that the activities
developed in a virtual way have the same expected
result. The client and stakeholders' relationship also
had a positive impact. As access to people became
more flexible, there is no longer a need to travel and
the communication channels (e-mails, chat,
videoconferences) become more accessible, besides
the permanent flexibility of hours worked in the home
office: before the pandemic, some companies limited
the hours that employees could join the home office.
After the forced change of context, some
companies started to allow people to work entirely in
home office format, even after returning to the office.
4.8.3 Hiring Flexibilization
Hiring has become more flexible for companies, since
the pandemic has allowed people from different
locations and offices to be included in the same team.
Previously, managers reported that, when joining a
team together, they were limited to professionals
located in the same region, which would be an
advantage to expand the possibilities of finding
people with the best profile to form work teams and
was considered as a possible permanent change in the
4.9 Infrastructure
Different situations related to infrastructure were
4.9.1 Digital Infrastructure
The change in the way of working has increased the
use of online tools. Access to these tools must be
guaranteed for all team members, but at the beginning
of teleworking, there was a need to adapt to the new
format, which is currently stabilized. This situation
allowed a greater perception of the manager in the
process of starting a new team: “[...] we have to
ensure that everyone has access and that everyone has
a license to access the standard tools”. The possible
lack of connection was considered a new risk,
ICEIS 2021 - 23rd International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
because in the space provided by the company, people
have a standardized structure, designed for
performance and usage time. With little time to adapt
to remote work in their homes, some employees have
connection problems as they do not have the same
connection conditions as in the office and, for these
reasons, the quality of work or communication may
be compromised.
4.9.2 Physical Infrastructure
Despite the initial period of adaptation to the new
work format, currently the teams are already adjusted
to the new structure and routine. Project managers
recognized the greatest need to ensure that all people
have the necessary equipment to do the job, such as a
suitable computer, camera and microphone, as well as
an ergonomic and comfortable environment.
However, the physical structure presents a greater
challenge when it needs adjustments, especially in an
emergency. In an effort to reduce the difficulty of
adaptation, managers needed to provide accessories,
table and chair for employees. This new process is
even being included in the stage of forming new
teams and hiring new employees. In response to this
new scenario, the gradual reopening of some offices
is being considered by some companies soon, and it
will bring new processes and rules to ensure the
health of all employees.
4.10 Delivering
Managers answered questions about the influences of
the work situation on delivering value and measuring
4.10.1 Delivering Value
Part of the interviewees noticed small improvements
in the teams' value delivery, but almost insignificant
when compared to the face-to-face work model: “The
fear of remote work having too much impact on
deliveries was demystified by the pandemic, which
forced a movement that was slowing down”. The
following is an account of the improvements
identified in the delivery of teams' value: “Most
managed to adapt well and had increased
productivity, mainly the developers, who reported
being able to focus much more when they are at
home”. Managers who saw no improvement noticed
that their team's delivery speed dropped at the start of
the pandemic, during the adaptation period. Other
managers reported not noticing differences in their
teams' value delivery. One report cited the balance
between people who adapted better to the remote
work situation and others who did not, balancing the
result of delivering value. The following quote
presents a reflection on the adaptation of the work:
“We had an organizational climate survey that ran in
June of this year and the result this year was even
better than last year. In other words, if the pandemic
had generated a very bad feeling in relation to the
business execution, in which the processes had not
been working, the deliveries would not been
happening, or if the quality had fallen, certainly this
research would have shown”.
4.10.2 Results Measurement
When questioning the managers about the way of
measuring and precision of the results, all of them
replied that there were no differences caused by the
change in the way of working. The metrics and tools
used have remained the same. Report sending on the
project changed during the pandemic: before, it was
sent only to the client, but it started to be sent to
everyone on the team, so that everyone remains
informed about the results of the metrics and progress
of the project.
It was possible to raise considerations about the
project management processes used during the
development of software projects in the context of the
home office. Other points related to software
development teams were also affected by the context
of social distance. The manager's communication
with employees and customers has undergone
significant changes. The tools were divided between
new tools adopted and tools that were already used in
the face-to-face context, but which had their use
intensified. Some scenarios are consequences of
different origins, between consequences of the
pandemic and consequences caused by the home
office. Many learnings and new working ways will be
applied in project management after the pandemic
and in general, companies continue to discuss
permanent changes to be applied. Results delivery as
well as how to obtain team metrics have not changed
This work presented limitations, such as the
researchers' bias and the pandemic context, which
brought some adversities: difficulty in contacting the
interviewees for an invitation to participate and delay
in their return. This reduced the numbers of
interviewed and the time foreseen for the analysis of
results, since the realization of private individuals
Project Management Processes Used during the Development of Software Projects in Home Office Format: A Field Research in
Multinational It Companies
depended on the availability of managers. In addition,
the interviews were conducted via the Zoom video
conferencing tool, and unforeseen circumstances
such as a lack of connection delayed the progress of
some of the scheduled interviews.
There has been difficulty in identifying in the
scientific literature works similar to this one.
Authors believe that new research can be
developed considering the changing work context
during pandemic. It is possible to accomplish
comparative research after the pandemic, studies
dedicated to the consequence of the pandemic in
communication and its effects and research dedicated
to the use of new tools for project management in the
home office.
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ICEIS 2021 - 23rd International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems