A Process Framework for Global Software Engineering Teams
Context: Global Software Engineering (GSE) continues to experience substantial growth and is fundamentally different to collocated development. As a result, software managers have a pressing need for support in how to successfully manage teams in a global environment. Unfortunately, de facto process frameworks such as the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI(R)) do not explicitly cater for the complex and changing needs of global software management. Objective: To develop a Global Teaming (GT) process area to address specific problems relating to temporal, cultural, geographic and linguistic distance which will meet the complex and changing needs of global software management. Method: We carried out three in-depth case studies of GSE within industry from 1999 to 2007. To supplement these studies we conducted three literature reviews. This allowed us to identify factors which are important to GSE. Based on a gap analysis between these GSE factors and the CMMI(R), we developed the GT process area. Finally, the literature and our empirical data were used to identify threats to software projects if these processes are not implemented. Results: Our new GT process area brings together practices drawn from the GSE literature and our previous empirical work, including many socio-technical factors important to global software development. The GT process area presented in this paper encompasses recommended practices that can be used independently or with existing models. We found that if managers are not proactive in implementing new GT practices they are putting their projects under threat of failure. We therefore include a list of threats that if ignored could have an adverse effect on an organization's competitive advantage, employee satisfaction, timescales, and software quality. Conclusion: The GT process area and associated threats presented in this paper provides both a guide and motivation for software managers to better understand how to manage technical talent across the globe.