The Balancing Act of Distributed Agile
The need of the hour for almost any software organization today is being or doing Agile. It helps organizations deliver continuous business value to the customer. At the same time, some organizations may need to embrace distributed teams, working from multiple sites on a project, to capture global talent and leverage expertise at different locations.
In present times, software organizations are making a sincere attempt to successfully deliver projects following the distributed-agile approach. However, ‘Agile' and ‘ Distributed' seems to be at two opposite ends of a continuum, in terms of demands for flexibility and control to the approach of software development. In such a scenario, how does one manage to work with this approach in harmony?
We made an attempt to understand the drivers that leads to effective balance between the tenets of distributedness and agility in a software development team. Our research lead us to one of the leading agile practitioners viz. ThoughtWorks in a bid to uncover the mechanisms followed in their distributed agile projects. We interviewed several people in their organization including Developers, QA, Business Analysts, Project Leads and Managers working on a project to figure out just what makes distributed agile project(s) tick.
Our findings have led us to believe that the creation of a unique 'project context' is essential to effectively balance the conflicting requirements of distributed and agile development. Our objective is to share these findings with the agile community. We hope that our insights will help other agile practitioners working with distributed teams to execute their work more efficiently and effectively.
Moreover, we would also dwell on the case study research approach to help agile researchers carry them out in a convincing manner. In particular, we shall focus on the process of site selection, data collection and analysis which could lead to good insights from the “field" on the researchers’ topic.