Lero wants to disrupt issues with global software development via new model

11 Sep 2013

Dr Ita Richardson, co-principal investigator, Lero, who led the programme

Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, is today launching a new model that will aim to solve problems with global software development. The model is the culmination of 10 years of research.

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, plus other Irish and international funding agencies, Lero is recognised in global research circles as a centre for global software engineering (GSE) research. GSE is also used by multinational and small to medium-sized enterprises internationally.  

Researchers from University of Limerick, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, NUI Galway, and Dundalk Institute of Technology are involved in Lero, which is based in Limerick.

Future Human

Turning to the model that Lero has developed, in the software industry, many companies have reported serious challenges when trying to implement global software development.

Based on the research, Lero’s researchers are claiming that the global skills shortage for developers points to the need for multi-country software teams to work better together.

Barriers to successful software development

The research carried out amongst the Lero team has also found that cultural, trust, communications and project management issues are often barriers to successful software development.

“Many indigenous and multinational technology companies have outsourced or shared software development activities across multiple sites in different countries – often because of a shortage of skills in their home market or to save costs. “However, the results are often disappointing,” explained Dr Ita Richardson, co-principal Investigator at Lero, who led the programme.

She said that the Lero researchers set out to discover why and were then able to develop guidelines and a global teaming “best-practice model”.

Among the findings, the Lero research discovered that the main barriers were not usually technology related but were more likely to be the result of a combination of cultural, trust, communications or project management factors.

Global teaming model

The Lero model was recently published in Information and Software Technology. Prof Mike Hinchey, director, Lero, said today that that this is the first and most in-depth global teaming model that has been developed to date.

“We see potential for its adoption, not only by multinational and indigenous companies in Ireland collaborating with overseas colleagues, but in the US, UK and other international markets where software development is shared across countries, cultures and time zones,” he said.

Richardson said that the 10 years’ research with industry also found that if managers are not proactive in implementing new global teaming practices they are putting their projects under threat of failure.

Ultimately, this could have an adverse effect on an organisation’s competitive advantage, employee satisfaction, timescales and software quality, she said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic