The maturation of the technical infrastructure has enabled the emergence and growth of distributed software development. This has created tempting opportunities for companies to distribute their software development, for example, to economically favourable countries so as to gain needed expertise or to get closer to customers. Nonetheless, such distribution potentially creates problems that need to be understood and addressed in order to make possible the gains offered. To clarify and understand the most difficult problems and their nature, a survey of individuals engaged in distributed software development was conducted. The purpose of this survey was to gather and share lessons learned in order to better understand the nature of the software development process when operating in a distributed software development environment and the problems that may be associated with such distributed processes. Through a clear appreciation of the risks associated with distributed development it becomes possible to develop approaches for the mitigation of these risks. This paper presents the results of the survey, focusing on the most serious problems raised by the respondents. Some practical guidelines that have been developed by industry to overcome these problems are also briefly summarized.