Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Agile software development in a distributed setting is challenging. The teams involved in the process face difficulties in communication, personnel selection, work culture, and knowledge management. The shortcomings associated with working in different time zones and the inabilities to develop trusting relationships between developers are well known. Companies often take recourse to agile software development methods in a distributed environment in search of reduced cost, higher efficiency, increased flexibility, and good customization. However, it is not clear whether agile methods can be successfully followed and their benefits realized in a distributed setting. This paper revisits and synthesizes the lessons learnt from twelve case studies detailing successful implementation of distributed agile software projects. The cases are analyzed from the perspective of the agile manifesto to determine how closely they follow its values and principles and to what extent they realize the benefits of the agile methodology. The cases lead to the discovery of disparate and innovative solutions adopted by different companies for overcoming the challenges of distributed agile software development. Some solutions are commonplace and others are unique and their combination in the context of the challenges is enlightening. The list of solutions can suitably guide companies that plan to adopt the agile methodology in distributed software development environments in future.