Chapter 20. Global Software Development


  • To understand the main issues that impact global software development

  • To know different approaches for addressing the challenges of global software development


In global software development projects, work is distributed over sites that operate in different time zones and geographical locations. People working at these different sites may differ widely in culture. The specific challenges imposed by this distance in time, place, and culture are discussed in this chapter. These challenges concern the way people communicate and collaborate, and the way work is coordinated and controlled.

A friend of mine runs a small Dutch software company that develops websites for organizations such as healthcare insurance agencies and municipal bodies. The requirements engineering and design is done in the Netherlands. Implementation and unit testing is outsourced to an Eastern European partner. Management and acceptance testing is again the responsibility of the Dutch company.

The reason for this division of labor is primarily cost – at the time of writing, salaries are still quite a bit lower in Eastern Europe than in the Netherlands. The technical competence of the Eastern European partner is very high. Consequently, the technical quality of their work is very high as well. But they have much less feeling for user interface issues. As long as all items appear on the website, they do not care so much about fonts, colors, and the like. ...

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