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Global Software Development: Who Does It?

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2 Author(s)
Begel, A. ; Microsoft Res., Redmond, WA ; Nagappan, N.

In today's world, software development is increasingly spread across national and geographic boundaries. There is limited empirical evidence about the number and distribution of people in a large software company who have to deal with global software development (GSD). Is GSD restricted to a select few in a company? How many time zones do engineers have to deal with? Do managers have to deal with GSD more than individual engineers? What are the benefits and problems that engineers see with GSD? How have they tried to improve GSD coordination? These are interesting questions to be addressed in an empirical context. In this paper, we report on the results of a large-scale survey of software engineers at Microsoft Corporation. We found that a very high proportion of engineers are directly involved with GSD. In addition, more than 50% of the respondents regularly collaborate with people more than three time zones away. Engineers also report that communication difficulties around coordination are the most critical, yet difficult to solve issues with GSD.

Published in:

Global Software Engineering, 2008. ICGSE 2008. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

17-20 Aug. 2008