Imagine you are part of a software development team based in Ireland developing a new global investment platform for a large investment bank.  Your colleagues are distributed across the world, some in China, and others in Poland, plus a few in South Africa.  Your remote colleagues speak English, but it’s not their native language.  How do you successfully collaborate with these colleagues, who are in different time zones, speak different languages, and have different cultures that influence how they interpret what they read and hear?

Developing good software is hard, and adding in the complexity of working in multi-site teams makes it even harder.  Consequently, software development companies find that implementing Global Software Engineering (GSE) is a challenge.  In Lero, we have studied globally distributed software engineering companies who practise GSE, with varying degrees of success. Resulting from this empirical research, we have developed a Global Teaming Model (Richardson et al., 2012).

But, our research does not end there.  Couple the introduction of GSE with other software development issues which companies face such as introducing effective agile development techniques or developing software for regulated markets such as healthcare. Here, the problem becomes even greater.   In line with these challenges, we have expanded our research, ensuring that our output meets the needs of companies in a variety of contexts.


Lero researchers work closely with small to medium-sized and multinational industry partners, who have been enabled to use the Global Teaming Model when implementing GSE in their organisations.  We have presented our research at many workshops, Lero events and external events, such as with Engineers’ Ireland, and have undertaken training in organisations such as Allied Irish Bank.

Our research team is involved in educating the next generation of software engineers in GSE.  We lecture to students in the University of Limerick and give guest lectures within other Universities such as National University of Ireland, Galway.   We supervise PhD students in GSE, many of whom remain in Ireland working in industry following their graduations.  Dr Sarah Beecham is currently leading an international research team on GSE Education.  This involves partners in New Zealand, Sweden, UK, and the USA.

Case Study

As an example, we are collaborating with a medium-sized software development company, Ocuco, who are based in Dublin, Ireland.  Ocuco are scaling in size, and, in early 2017, employ 70 software developers in 8 countries.  Project managers in Ocuco commenced the introduction of agile software development into their organisation, but this is difficult, given that they are also employing GSE.  Following action research principles, Lero researchers have observed the company’s GSE and agile software development practices, interviewed developers and management, participated in software development meetings and analysed documentation.  During this time, the researchers have developed a new agile-GSE model (name?) which is being implemented in Ocuco.  This model will now be evaluated by the Lero researchers to understand the efficiencies gained within the company.  The development of the model has resulted in internal project team re-structuring, and includes specifically the employment of 2 new project managers.

The Lero research team is Dr Sarah Beecham, Prof Ita Richardson and PhD student Mohammad Abdur Razzak, and their research collaborator is Dr John Noll, University of East London.

Related Publications

Beecham, S., T Clear, J Barr, M Daniels, M Oudshoorn, J Noll (2017). Preparing Tomorrow's Software Engineers for Work in a Global Environment, IEEE Software 34 (1), 9-12

Niazi, Mahmood, Sajjad Mahmood, Mohammad Alshayeb, Mohammed Rehan Riaz, Kanaan Faisal, Narciso Cerpa,  Siffat Ullah Khan and Ita Richardson (2016) Challenges of Project Management in Global Software Development: A Client-Vendor Analysis.  Information and Software Technology, Volume 80, December 2016, pp 1-19.

Noll, J., S Beecham, I Richardson, CN Canna, A Global Teaming Model for Global Software Development Governance: A Case Study. 11th IEEE International Conference Global Software Engineering (ICGSE), 2016.

Kroll, Josiane, Ita Richardson and Jorge L. N. Audy, A Proposal of a Software Process Model for Follow the Sun Development, International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering (SEKE 2014), Vancouver, July 1st-3rd, 2014.

Richardson, I., Casey, V., McCaffery, F., Burton, J. & Beecham, S., (2012), A Process Framework for Global Software Engineering Teams, Information and Software Technology, pp. 1175-1191, DOI: 10.1016/j.infsof.2012.05.002.

Noll, J., Beecham, S. & Richardson, I., (September 2010), Global Software Development and Collaboration: Barriers and Solutions, ACM Inroads - Special Section on Global Intercultural Collaboration, 1(3), pp. 66-78, ISSN: 2153-2184.

Meet the Expert - Prof Ita Richardson

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