Agile Offshore Software Development

With the advent of offshoring spatially and organizationally distributed software development teams have become a common practice. While capitalizing on substantially lower labor costs in low-wage countries is one of the major driving forces of offshoring, many of those projects do not only come in with fewer than expected functionality and late but also at higher cost. While maybe more prevalent in the offshoring context, such “runaway projects” are also renowned in the context of internal software development. Therefore, managers of internal projects nowadays use agile software development methodologies such as Scrum to ensure that they achieve expected goals. Given the potential of agile methods to improve software development outcomes, an increasing proportion of companies wants their distributed projects to be agile as well – i.e. organizations strive for reaping the benefits of both distributed development and agility. However, this is difficult to achieve since agile software development heavily builds on intense inter-personal interaction between the members of a co-located team. Key agile software development practices like using sticky notes on a task-board cannot be used if team members are not in the same room. Therefore, we investigate how agile software development practices can be efficiently and effectively applied in offshored software development projects. For this purpose we conduct two longitudinal studies in which we observe interactions between software developers, track their tool use behaviors and objectively measure team performance using code metrics. Based on this rich dataset we strive for a better understanding of how agile development practices are adapted over time and we look at the role of tools to deal with the specific challenges in offshoring contexts.


Winkler, Maike; Huber, Thomas; Dibbern, Jens (5 January 2016). Supporting Joint Idea Generation with Software Prototypes in Offshore-Outsourced Software Development Projects. In: Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-49). Kauai. 05.-08.01.2016.