Overcoming Challenges of Requirements Elicitation in Offshore Software Development Projects

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för programvaruteknik

Abstract: Context. Global Software Development (GSD) is the plan of action in which software development is performed under temporal, political, organizational and cultural boundaries. Offshore outsourced software development is the part of GSD, which refers to the transfer of certain software development activities to an external organization in another country. The primary factors driving offshore outsourced software development are low cost, access to a large pool of skilled laborers, increased productivity, high quality, market access and short development cycle. Requirements engineering (RE) and especially requirements elicitation is highly affected by the geographical distribution and multitude of stakeholders. Objectives. The goal of conducting this study is to explore the challenges and solutions associated with requirements elicitation phase during offshore software projects, both in research literature and in industrial practice. Moreover, this study examines that which of the challenges and practices reported in literature can be seen in industrial practice. This helped in finding out the similarities and differences between the state of art and state of practice. Methods. Data collection process has been done through systematic literature review (SLR) and web survey. SLR has been conducted using guidelines of Kitchenham and Charters. During SLR, The studies have been identified from the most reliable and authentic databases such as Compendex, Inspec (Engineering village) and Scopus. In the 2nd phase, survey has been conducted with 391 practitioners from various organizations involved in GSD projects. In the 3rd phase, qualitative comparative analysis has been applied as an analysis method. Results. In total 10 challenges and 45 solutions have been identified from SLR and survey. Through SLR, 8 challenges and 22 solutions have been identified. While through industrial survey, 2 additional challenges and 23 additional solutions have been identified. By analyzing the frequency of challenges, the most compelling challenges are communication, control and socio-cultural issues. Conclusions. The comparison between theory and practice explored the most compelling challenges and their associated solutions. It is concluded that socio-cultural awareness and proper communication between client and supplier organization’s personnel is paramount for successful requirements elicitation. The scarcity of research literature in this area suggests that more work needs to be done to explore some strategies to mitigate the impact of additional 2 challenges revealed through survey.

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