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Challenges and recommended practices for software architecting in global software development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-253
Number of pages20
JournalInformation and Software Technology
Volume106
Early online date2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Abstract

Context: Global software development (GSD), although now a norm in the software industry, carries with it enormous challenges mostly regarding communication and coordination. Aforementioned challenges are highlighted when there is a need to transfer knowledge between sites, particularly when software artifacts assigned to different sites depend on each other. The design of the software architecture and associated task dependencies play a major role in reducing some of these challenges. Objective: The current literature does not provide a cohesive picture of how the distributed nature of software development is taken into account during the design phase: what to avoid, and what works in practice. The objective of this paper is to gain an understanding of software architecting in the context of GSD, in order to develop a framework of challenges and solutions that can be applied in both research and practice. Method: We conducted a systematic literature review (SLR) that synthesises (i) challenges which GSD imposes on software architecture design, and (ii) recommended practices to alleviate these challenges. Results: We produced a comprehensive set of guidelines for performing software architecture design in GSD based on 55 selected studies. Our framework comprises nine key challenges with 28 related concerns, and nine recommended practices, with 22 related concerns for software architecture design in GSD. These challenges and practices were mapped to a thematic conceptual model with the following concepts: Organization (Structure and Resources), Ways of Working (Architecture Knowledge Management, Change Management and Quality Management), Design Practices, Modularity and Task Allocation. Conclusion: The synthesis of findings resulted in a thematic conceptual model of the problem area, a mapping of the key challenges to practices, and a concern framework providing concrete questions to aid the design process in a distributed setting. This is a first step in creating more concrete architecture design practices and guidelines.

Keywords

  • Design practice, Global software development, Software architecture, Software design, Systematic literature review

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland