Virtual Project Team Strategy

To support software development globalization, organizations are increasingly implementing virtual project team strategies. However, these project teams have to work within the confines of the factors which distance introduces, thus not always allowing effective coordination, visibility, communication and cooperation to take place.

The successful implementation and management of such project teams must be done differently, to those at single-site locations. The advent of the internet, e-mail and improved and low cost international telecommunications has facilitated the development of virtual project teams, resulting in the global distribution of software development.

Virtual Project Team Strategy

Virtual Project Team Strategy

This has led to organizations either outsourcing application development and maintenance to third party organizations, or setting up their own subsidiaries low cost economies.

However, due to the level of complexity involved software development, outsourcing is not a straight ward task. Some of the difficulties encountered include such factors as the problem of understanding requirements and the testing of systems.

These difficulties are compounded by cultural and language differences, lack of communication, distance from the customer, different process maturity levels, testing, standards, technical ability and experience. The management of global software development is therefore a difficult and complex task.

To address the difficulty and complexity of globally distributed software development, virtual project teams to practice effective project management, knowledge management and software development processes.

In addition to the use of communication tools and collaboration technology. Virtual project teams need to be always in tune with the organization’s strategic business goals. Therefore virtual project teams need to assess if they:

  • address the strategic notion of delivering the benefits of globally distributed software development
  • take into consideration the human-centric notion of software development knowledge in relation to the activity context of the organization, and define the levels of task performance
  • provide for incorporation of the creative capabilities of team members needed for developing quality software products that deliver the , required specifications and functionality
Source: Valentine Casey’ & Ita Richardson, Uncovering the Reality within Virtual Software Teams, Proceedings of the International workshop on Global Software Development for the Practitioner, Shanghai, China, pp. 66-72, 2006, and, Marcus Goncalves, Managing Virtual Projects, McGraw-Hill, 2005.

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