Research in global software engineering: a systematic snapshot
This paper reports our extended analysis of the recent literature addressing global software engineering (GSE), using a new Systematic Snapshot Mapping (SSM) technique. The primary purpose of this work is to understand what issues are being addressed and how research is being carried out in GSE – and comparatively, what work is not being conducted. We carried out the analysis in two stages. In the first stage we analyzed 275 papers published between January 2011 and June 2012, and in the second stage we augmented our analysis by considering a further 26 papers (from the 2013 International Conference on Global Software Engineering (ICGSE’13). Our results reveal that, currently, GSE studies are focused on management- and infrastructure-related factors, using principally evaluative research approaches. Most of the studies are conducted at the organizational level, mainly using methods such as interviews, surveys, field studies and case studies. The USA, India and China are major players in GSE, with USA-India collaborations being the most frequently studied, followed by USA-China. While a considerable number of GSE-related studies have been published since January 2011 they are currently quite narrowly focused, on exploratory research and explanatory theories, and the critical research paradigm has been untouched. An absence of formulative research, experimentation and simulation, and a related focus on evaluative approaches, all suggest that existing tools, methods and approaches from related fields are being tested in the GSE context, even though these may not be inherently applicable to the additional scale and complexity of GSE.