Global Software Development: A Review of the State-Of-The-Art (2007-2011)

Muhammad Ali Babar, Mansooreh Zahedi

Research output: Book / Anthology / Report / Ph.D. thesisReportResearch


Context: Global Software Development (GSD) paradigm has gained significant popularity and widespread adoption. There has been a large amount of research efforts dedicated to gain understanding and knowledge about the GSD challenges and benefits in order to devise and evaluate appropriate solutions to address the challenges. It is equally important to provide period review of the published literature on GSD challenges, benefits, and proposed solution to inform practitioners and researchers about the state-of-the-art in this area.
Objectives: This research has been motivated by the need of providing a state-of-the-art review of the GSD research literature published in the main venue of Global Software Engineering in order to identify the main research trends and gaps that needs to be filled by future research. We were also interested placing the findings of our review with respect to a practice-driven GSD research agenda.
Method: We used structured literature review methodology for which we decided to select and review the recently published research papers (i.e., 2007 - 2011) from the International Conference in Global Software Engineering (ICGSE). We used a framework for organizing GSD research challenges and threats and a practice-driven research agenda for extracting and organizing the data from the reviewed papers. We used theoretical reasoning for classifying the reviewed papers under different categories, which were mainly based on the framework, a
decision that also enabled us to propose certain extensions to the framework.
Results: Given the resources and time available, we decided to review 50 out of the 97 research papers that had been published in the proceedings of ICGSE 2007-2011 conference over the last five years. This review has helped us to produce interesting findings about the research literature published over the last five years as we have observed that there is an increasing trend of proposing solutions rather than just mentioning GSD problems. Moreover, we also have found that a large majority of the reviewed papers belonged to the software
development governance and its sub-categories and many of the papers have focused on the human-aspects of GSD rather than technical aspects.
Conclusions: GSD research continues attracting significant attention, however, the most of the published research does not appear to have very tight focus rather its spread quite thin without taking much influence from the previously published research agenda. There is an increasing tendency of providing solutions to the identified problems rather than just reporting problems. However, many of the proposed solutions have not been rigorously
assessed. Whilst the output from the GSD research is increasing, there are significant gaps that needs to be filled, for example, studying the challenges and proposing solutions specific to different phases of software development such software design and testing. This review has also enabled us to propose an extension to a previously reported framework for organizing and classifying the GSD challenges, benefits, and solutions. We expect this review to provide
useful insights that can be used to draw interesting and challenging research questions to direct the future research in this area.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherIT-Universitetet i København
Number of pages81
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7949-265-3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
SeriesI T University. Technical Report Series


  • Global Software Development
  • Global Software Engineering
  • Knowledge management
  • information acquisition and sharing


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