GSE: Identifying Challenges is Important and Providing Solutions is Even Better

Eventually we have managed to finalised the special section of the best papers published in the International Conference on Global Software Engineering, 2011 (ICGSE 2011) that was organised in Helsinki, Finland. The special section will be published in the January 2014 edition of the Information and Software Technology Journal. Christian and I decided to write an extended introduction to the special section as we wanted to share our views about the research and practice of Global Software Engineering (GSE). One view about the GSE research and practice that we share has been reflected in the title of the introduction to the special section: Global Software Engineering: Identifying Challenges is Important and Providing Solutions is Even Better. Our introduction acknowledges that GSE has become a well established paradigm of software development in all sorts of industries and companies and can’t be categorised as a phenomenon that can be characterised by an overwhelming number of potentials and challenges but not many solutions around. GSE has been around for almost two decade now and it is hard to find a decent size of software (except in some regulated industries) being developed at one location and companies have been identifying and addressing the challenges their software development team face but without any theoretical or systematic underpinning. Their solutions usually remain very localised, no effort for wider dissemination; that means many companies are likely to face the same or similar challenges and ten devise proprietary solutions costing each of them a large amount money, time, and energy. On the other hand, research community has been focusing on identifying the potential challenges with minimum efforts focused on devising, assessing, and deploying solutions to the GSE problems. Whilst it is important that we identify and report GSE challenges as our evidence-bsaed and thorough understanding of the GSE challenges is far from any reasonable level of maturity, it is equally important that we  devise and report appropriate solutions to the reported challenges. And that is the key argument of our writing in this editorial. Through this editorial we also introduce a framework of ten heuristics for devising, developing, and managing a GSE team for successful implementation of the GSE paradigm in an organization. We really hope that researchers and practitioners critically review this framework based on their own observations, experiences, and knowledge and get engaged in a constructive debate for moving forward the research and practice in GSE. Enjoy the reading of the editorial and two high quality papers included in this special section.