A Case Study of Coordination in Distributed Agile Software Development
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Both global software development and agile approaches have gained significant popularity. Companies even show interest in applying agile approaches in distributed development to combine the advantages of both approaches. This is done despite their differences in key tenets. In their most radical forms, agile and global software development can be placed in each end of a plan-based/agile spectrum because of how work is coordinated. This study describes how four global software development projects applying agile methods coordinate their work. The findings show that there are at least three approaches to distributed Scrum; local Scrum independent of remote team’s approach, multiple Scrum teams coordinated with Scrum of Scrums and geographic transparency and a single distributed Scrum team. It was also found that trust is needed to reduce the need of standardization and direct supervision when coordinating work in a global software development project, and that electronic chatting supports mutual adjustment. Further, co-location and modularization mitigates communication problems, enables agility in at least part of a global software development project, and renders the implementation of Scrum of Scrums possible. Proper mechanisms to provide transparency are needed to achieve mutual adjustment.