And again, together with my colleague Nils Brede Moe we decided to summarise our learnings about using agile methods in distributed projects from research in a book. Through our research, we see many companies still struggle by experimenting and adjusting their tactical approaches, learning through failure, and sometimes failing to diagnose the challenges and loosing time and money on something that could have been corrected, if only they knew what to look for. Through our teaching and professional training, we meet students with industrial experience, who confess falling into the problems discussed in the courses. On the question – “What shall we read”, we often say – “There is not much to read about it”. This is why we, in cooperation with Viktoria Stray, decided to summarize our experience and opinions in a set of practical recommendations for active and prospective practitioners.
What is our book about?
The key question that we try to address in this book is the practical side of *how to* work in an agile fashion with offshoring partners separated by space and often time as well. This book is a continuation of our work that was published first as an edited book in 2010, that concluded that more insight into the agile process adaptations, tool support, and business analysis are needed to succeed with blending agile methods across time and space. Back then we learned that companies shall “be prepared to work hard to get it right” since being agile in a global company requires patience and stamina. In this book, we focus on the management side of these transformations and sometimes talk about general challenges that are relevant for agile as well as non-agile companies. As such, agility is the part of the organizational context, which sets important values, boundaries and goals. We try not to take any stands on whether offshoring should be done or not, whether it is good or bad, but instead focus on how to be informed about the pros and cons, and how to improve ongoing collaborations. The recommendations included in this book are based on our understanding of the problems faced and solutions implemented by actual companies that we have personally collaborated with in research projects. Finally, we believe that after reading this book, the reader shall be more informed about the challenges and typical problems that are inherited in the nature of the offshore collaborations, and equipped with a number of practical solutions to address these challenges.
What is our book not about?
Reading this book will certainly be insufficient to understand all problems or solutions related to integrating agile with an offshoring strategy. We have not performed any systematic search of solutions, or validated our recommendations in all possible offshoring setups. Due to the diversity of the offshoring strategies, the differences in scale and the degree of agility in companies, what works for one company might certainly fail to help address similar challenges in another company. Therefore, we would recommend the readers to stay awake and evaluate the relevance of the context-specific recommendations, wherever appropriate.
Who should read this book?
This book addresses the issues faced by different type of managers, from a CEO to the Line managers working closely with teams, from the strategic to tactical and operational levels. However, we believe that parts of this book might also be relevant and of interest for Agile coaches, Team leads, Product Owners, Software Engineers and especially students, who will later on find themselves working in modern software-intensive industry.