Global Software Development Challenges Mitigation Strategies

During the recent years organizations are moving to the development of Global Software Engineering. The Projects which are been developed by separate teams have been noted as more challenging as compared to those project which are been running at one platform. Furthermore knowledge of all possible challenges and potential mitigation strategies of GSE is essential for running a successful project. The collected challenges may further compiled into checklists. The developed checklists separated into risk management process particularly risk identification and risk mitigation planning.

This research enhances organized literature study conducted on experimental research on GSE. This research paper specifically focus on challenges specially related to GSE challenges and mitigation strategies. Therefore more empirical research still needs to be done to identifying challenges and mitigation strategies in distributed software development projects which have to be discussed.


Interest in Global Software Engineering is briskly growing in software industry. Stakeholders from different national, organizational cultures and time zones are involved in developing software and implemented at different locations with the help of information and communication technologies.

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Nowadays, software developing organizations have adapted global software development (GSD) with distributed development sites. GSD or also known as Global Software Engineering (GSE) or Distributed Software Development (DSD) can be defined as developing software with development teams distributed in different geographical locations. The teams can be within the same organization (off-shore) or different organizations (outsourcing).

Most companies venture into GSD situations so as to take advantage of the benefits that are perceived to be associated with such settings.

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The perceived benefits include gaining competitive advantage, maintaining proximity to market, improving time to market with “round-the-clock” development, and accessing cheap yet skilled labor. Apart from being geographically dispersed, globally dispersed teams face the possibility of experiencing different time zones and having social, cultural and normative differences. These differences in time zones and cultural background add challenges to GSD, especially with respect to communication, coordination, and control. Pervasiveness of numerous challenges in GSD makes it a risky venture. These problems get failure as result to complete the project on routine and went over the budget.

Various studies have reported and suggested different mitigation approaches to some of the risks and challenges that may hinder the success of a GSD project. Given six integrate forces are the solutions that can associate with global software teams together which make them more efficient. Those forces consist of telecommunication infrastructure, project architecture, team building, development technique, managerial approach collaborative technique. They can be used as basis determining strategies that can diminished issues come across in distributed projects.

The aim of this research is to determine and elaborate the significant difficulties experience in distributed software development projects and the strategies to address them. This achieved by gathering GSE related challenges and their mitigation strategies expressed in empirical studies on GSE. This study interpret that what are the challenges and challenges are for GSE and how issues can be solved.

Risk Management is a systematic approach to reduce impairment due to risks, making the project less sensitive and the product more hefty. Risk management is essential in every business and to make project successful. The target of risk management is to identify uncertainties in order to reduce loss and decrease objective achievements. The implication of each risk is determined by convenient mitigation actions.

The importance of risk management has made its application to be more structured overtime. There are various approaches in implementing risk management as addressed in literature and standards such as PMBOK and IRM Standard. There is a consensus that risk management mainly entails processes in developing risk management planning, risk identification, risk evaluation, risk monitoring, and also developing risk mitigation strategies. GSD has additional challenges compared to collocated software development. GSD exacerbates existing risks and introduces new risks that are unique to this setting. As a result, the work in GSD environments is more problematic than in centralized ones, and the effective risk management can never be depreciated. The risk management importance must be emphasized and its participation must be more decisive in the GSD projects. Moreover, effective risk management is an alternative for coping with the GSD related challenges.

Systematic Literature Review (SLR):

Systematic Literature Review (SLR) is “a means of identifying, evaluating and interpreting all available research relevant to a particular research question, or topic area, or phenomenon of interest”. SLR is a form of secondary study, while the individual studies included in the systematic review are called primary studies.

SLR helps researchers to reduce preference and provides basis for understanding state of art in GSE. An SLR is conducted mainly to gather GSE complexities, challenges, risks as well as mitigation related strategies.

There are three reasons to perform SLR, and these reasons will also applicable for this research:

  1. To identify current evidence on a particular analysis of technology and identify challenges that are essential to GSE along with their mitigation strategies.
  2. To identify difference in the current research and suggest future work.
  3. To provide a background to start new research from collected challenges and mitigation strategies further it will proceed with systematically and organize them into checklists and further used to identify challenges and practices in industry.

The main reason for conducting SLR in this research to ensure we thoroughly cover all circumstances surrounding challenges and mitigation strategies for projects run in GSE setting.

GSE related challenges studies report the challenges and mitigation strategies from one empirical study. In this thesis challenges and strategies are compiled collectively from various empirical studies conducted in industry as well as academic settings. From the related work it can be seen that GSD challenges are multi-faceted and the practices are highly situational.The aim of this study is to identify challenges and mitigation strategies gathered from empirical studies in GSE from various platform. The challenges reported by respondents from various roles and responsibilities in which project managers, team leaders, as well as developers. It shows the most reported challenges that are faced by different team members in the project.

Communication Coordination Control

Cultural diversity separated by geographical boundaries Ensuring all remotes sites are aware of change to essential projects Project member leaving during the project Acquiring extra costs for traveling Provide convenient project scope Preparing accurate effort assessment Less face to face meetings Defining a software development processes that suits the project Avoid of rework of developed components

The mitigation strategies reported by respondents from various roles and responsibilities in which project managers, team leaders, as well as developers. It shows the most reported mitigation strategies that are faced by different team members in the project.


Furthermore GSE and different settings and scenarios, Thus checklists should be base for identifying appropriate challenges and mitigation strategies in particular scenario. Even though data in checklists are more organized in particular order but some of the challenges and mitigation strategies fall in different category as well. For instance one challenge still is issue in coordination as well as in control.

Risk identification and risk management process is considered more difficult in GSE projects. It is due to lack of knowledge regarding GSE setting. Even most experienced project manager fails in GSE project. Therefore checklists can also be integrated as tools in risk management processes especially as a foundation in risk and risk mitigation plans.

There is also no one to one relationship between the challenges and mitigation strategies. GSD settings are different and vary therefore strategy that may work in one situation. Therefore it is essential analysis conducted on the issue and the possible strategies, to determine most effective and useful relief methods.


The GSE risk and mitigation strategies reported in literature were discussed through the support of empirical data and were gathered through the help of system literature review. This brutal method was used specifically on empirical research to know the knowledge on the current trend of surroundings challenges of GSE projects.

Updated: Feb 26, 2024
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Global Software Development Challenges Mitigation Strategies. (2024, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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