GSD by asifkalwar


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“Software work undertaken at geographically
separated locations across national boundaries in a
coordinated fashion involving real time (synchronous)
and asynchronous interaction”.
–Involves communication for information exchange.
–Involves coordination of groups, activities and
artifacts so they contribute to the overall objective.
–Involves control of groups (adhering to goals and
policies) and artifacts (quality, visibility &
The roles of GSD:
•Strategic roles: when, to whom and how, task
•Communication roles: distance, time zone difference,
infrastructure support, distinct backgrounds, lack of
informal communication.
•Coordination complexity
•Cultural roles: power distance, individualism vs.
collectivism, attitude to time etc.
•Geographical dispersion: vendor support, access to
experts, software practices that need face-to-face
•Technical roles: information and artifact sharing,
software architecture.
•Knowledge management: slow communication, poor
documentation, tacit knowledge, repositories etc


    40% of the Fortune 500 companies use GSD and
     185 of these outsourced to India alone [Global
     Business Technology, NASSCOM, 2000].
    Upwards to 50 nations are participating in GSD
     [Carmel, 2001].
    IBM, British Airways, Alcatel, British Telecom
     and General Electric have moved parts of their
     software development to countries like Ireland
     and India [Khan, 2003].
    80% of the Irish software industry’s output is
     exported [Cochran, 2001].
    Gartner Dataquest has projected that IT
     outsourcing will reach $159 billion by 2005
     [Laplante, 2004].
    87 000 open source projects are hosted at
     SourceForge.neton Sept. 2004.
The four approaches to GSD
1. Intra-organizational or legally related companies;
-E.g. Siemens, Lucent Technologies, IBM, Ericsson
2. Inter-organizational or outsourcing;
-IT infrastructure, data centers, embedded software,
maintenance or even software applications.
3. Open Source Software or non-organizational;
-OS like Linux, programs for programmers (editors,
4. Services or components over Web;
-Application Service Providers (ASP), pay-per-use
services and recent component markets.
Global Software            Development         (GSD)
Global Software Development (GSD) is a trend of
increasing importance in the software industry. This
has been highlighted by US estimates that the value of
the offshore software development market has
increased 25-fold over the past 10 years, to the extent
that one-quarter of US spending on application
development, integration and management services
will go off-shore by 2008. There are many potential
benefits for those companies seeking to globalize their
software development activities. The reduction of costs
due to salary savings is the most widely cited benefit
[1, 2]. GSD can also allow for a so-called `follow-the-
sun' software development model [3, 4, 5]. GSD
affords     new      opportunities    for     cross-site
modularization of development work [6, 7]; potential
access to a larger skilled developer pool [2, 8]; the
potential for increased innovation, learning and
transfer of best practices [5]. Finally, GSD can
facilitate closer proximity to markets and customers
[9, 10]. However, many challenges relating to
communication, coordination and control of the
development process arise in GSD. These challenges
are due to the distances involved in three dimensions -
geographical,      temporal,     and     socio-cultural.
Consequently, much research and effort has
attempted to overcome these challenges. Meanwhile,
the potential benefits of GSD have generally been
mentioned very briefly in the literature, with the
realisation of these benefits having been more or less
taken for granted. In our research with a number of
global software development companies, we saw a
definite mismatch in the extent to which these benefits
were being realised in GSD practice. Our research
covered three global software development companies,
International Semiconductor, Digital Solutions and
Global Investments Inc. The companies are
headquartered in the US, with each of the companies
carrying out substantial software development
activities at their Irish sites. The International
Semiconductor site we studied employs 125 people,
and works with other GSD teams in the US, Malaysia,
China, India, and Poland. Global Investments is an
international provider of financial services and
investment resources and is one of the largest private
companies in the US. The Irish site in the study has
200 employees, and software development is closely
linked with teams in the US and India. Digital
Solutions provides desktop support services right
through to mission critical service delivery. The Irish
team of around 130 people develops remote support
and proactive services and are closely involved with
teams in both the US and Asia. Benefit one: reduced
development costs According to a Global Investments
manager, the base annual salary of US$15,000 for a
software developer in India is one quarter of the
salary of an Irish developer, who in turn earns half
that of a developer in the US. While this eight-fold
salary saving seems like a significant up-front benefit,
this doesn't tell the whole story. Coordination
complexity increases when developers are distributed.
In practice, GSD necessitates an increased number of
managerial roles due to a tendency to replicate
management roles at the local and remote site even in
`virtual team' settings. Local developers expressed
fears of losing their jobs to less expensive offshore
colleagues. Some also admitted that the skills and
competencies of offshore colleagues may be
underestimated. The establishment of trust between
remote colleagues would help to alleviate such issues.
For this reason, an International Semiconductor
stated that, "It's essential that developers travel". In
Digital Solutions, "Travel restrictions would never
allow that", due to the expense of travel. The drive to
lower costs was constraining the possibility of building
effective long-term relationships with remote
colleagues and ultimately affected the development
work. Finally, a Digital Solutions manager warned of
the lack of models for calculating the true cost of
distributing development. Benefit two: time-zone
effectiveness Having developers located in different
time-zones can allow organisations to increase the
number of working hours during a day. Such a
`follow-the-sun' development model can decrease cycle
time [e.g. 3, 4, 10]. The companies in our research
study acknowledged that such a model for most GSD
tasks would be problematic. However, International
Semiconductor found that it was possible to
accomplish the testing phase using daily hand-offs,
and Global Investments found they could achieve this
model for defect resolution and support tasks.
Interestingly, the companies seemed to strive for a
model that was actually diametrically opposed to
follow-the-sun development - that is rather than
seeking to extend the virtual working day, they tended
to shift their working hours in order to maximise the
number of overlapping work-hours across sites.
Indeed, it seems that the companies view time-zone
differences not as a potential benefit to them but as a
negative side effect of GSD. Finally, a Digital Solutions
manager expressed concern that shifted work hours
can, in turn, affect the personal lives of the developers,
and possibly lead to a burnout of people. Benefit
three: cross-site modularisation The nature of GSD
allows development work to be subdivided into
individual modules, which may be developed in
parallel across multiple sites [5, 6, 7], thus leading to
reduced cycle time. We found varying approaches
with regard to the modularisation of work. The Digital
Solutions team practiced the `virtual team' model,
Engineers …
Benefits              Risks
                      Threat of opportunism, security
Solution to IT skills
                      and trust concerns, training,
                      cultural issues
                      Hidden or unexpected costs,
                      delay, the value and cost is
Cost efficiency
                      intangible and long-term oriented,
                      detailed spec.
                      Loss of control
development       or Geopolitical risks, coordination
Round-the-clock       problems

New markets           Legal issues

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