The in Distributed Software Development projects to

The
growing trends as today’s software business are Agile and Distributed Software
Developments (Global Software Development) that requires development of quality
product at cheaper price. Many agile teams focus on distributed development.

In
last two decades, software development has evolved from being concentrated at a
single site to being geographically distributed across the globe and hence,
characterized as Distributed Software Development (DSD) 1. With the help of
DSD, organizations increase time-zone efficiency, influence a large skill group,
develop software nearer to the customer’s requirements and utilize low labor
cost in certain parts of the world 2. Distributed Software development (DSD)
is a general term to represent software development with dispersed teams.

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Present
organizations are working under tight time and cost constraints and the
development of software occurs in highly unpredictable environment due to the
changes in the product requirement, business and market needs. Agile
methodology is able to deliver products that satisfy customer needs and is
faster than the traditional approach, thus many organizations are adopting it
today for Software Production 3. There is an increasing interest in applying
agile practices in Distributed Software Development projects to leverage the
combined advantage of both the approaches 4.

One of the 12 principles of Agile Manifesto (proposed
by Kent Beck) is:

“The best form of communication is face to face communication or
collocation”.

It means that the team will be able to give the best result if the “Agile
Software Development ” takes place in the environment where teams are
collocated.

Collocation is defined as “the
physical closeness of the various individuals, teams, functional areas, and
organizational subunits involved in the development of a particular product or
process” (Rafii, 1995), p.78).

Agile teams collocate their team members
in a single room known as a “team room” in order to further improve
productivity and collaboration.

“Putting an entire project team in one room for the
duration of the project”
is known as radical collocation.
(Teasley, Covi, Krishnan and Olson, 2000, p.339). 

In response to the communication
difficulties, such as the time wasted on communication in distributed
environments and the usual communication breakdowns that occur on projects,
this strategy was developed. (Teasleyet
al, 2000).

 In World War II, the concept of war room came
into picture, during which major leaders had “special rooms equipped with
key maps and other information as well as the key figures at hand” wherein they
would meet and discuss their strategies (Teasley
et al, 2000, p. 671).

Agile when combined with Distributed Software Development also brings
some new challenges and associated risks and makes the software development
process more complicated 5. Distributed Software Development and agile work
on different principles, which makes the distributed agile projects difficult
to manage. Distributed Software Development requires formal communication
amongst the geographically distributed team members while agile is based on
informal communication with co-located teams working in close collaboration.
The best agile practices including teamwork, face to face communication, self
organizing teams, retrospectives, showcases become more demanding in the
distributed mode.

It is assumed by most of the agile methodologies (e.g. scrum, Xp) that
the team is located in a single room. Unfortunately, this principle does not
fit in the real scenario where agile teams are also distributed across the
geographical locations. A survey conducted by VersionOne, states that
organizations are constantly scaling agile beyond single team and single
project 6. Thus there is a need to extend the agile practices to distributed
software development.

 “Greater is the level of
geographic distribution, greater is the risk due to communication and
coordination challenges, resulting in lower success rate” is the result of the
recent survey by Scott Ambler on scaling agile 7. Another survey result shows
that 60% of co-located agile projects are successful, while roughly 25% can be
considered as failed projects. On the other hand, although, more than 50%
distributed agile projects have been successful, but 50% of them have failed
too 8.

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