Distributed Scrum: Agile Project Management with Outsourced Development Teams

J. Sutherland, A. Viktorov, J. Blount, & N. Puntikov, IEEE HICSS 40th Hawaii International Conference on Software Systems, 2007.

Agile project management with Scrum derives from best business practices in companies like Fuji-Xerox, Honda, Canon, and Toyota. Toyota routinely achieves four times the productivity and 12 times the quality of competitors. Can Scrum do the same for globally distributed teams? Two Agile companies, SirsiDynix and StarSoft Development Laboratories achieved comparable performance developing a Java application with over 1,000,000 lines of code. During 2005, a distributed team of 56 Scrum developers working from Provo, Utah; Waterloo, Canada; and St. Petersburg, Russia, delivered 671,688 lines of production Java code. At 15.3 function points per developer/month, this is the most productive Java project ever documented. SirsiDynix best practices are similar to those observed on distributed Scrum teams at IDX Systems, radically different than those promoted by PMBOK, and counter-intuitive to practices advocated by the Scrum Alliance. This paper analyzes and recommends best practices for globally distributed Agile teams.

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