Distributed IS Development Projects: Significant Relational-Oriented Conditions

Distributed IS Development Projects: Significant Relational-Oriented Conditions

Linda Bergkvist (Karlstad University, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7473-8.ch011


The management of teams in a distributed IS development project is challenging. It has even been suggested that a new breed of managers for the management of dispersed teams is needed, especially when relationships cross national boundaries. Challenges in distributed, global IS development are understood as related to three dimensions of distance: geographic, temporal, and cultural distance, which affect the manager's ability to control and coordinate distributed IS development projects. This chapter argues that combining a relationship perspective with a success perspective is fruitful for understanding distributed IS development projects. In this context there are several significant conditions that draw the attention to the challenges in the practice of distributed IS development projects. The chapter ends with the provision of a conceptual framework addressing relational-oriented conditions for the management of distributed IS development projects. Using the framework, managers can identify the relational-oriented conditions for realizing the benefits of distributed IS development projects.
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Distributed Is Development: What It Is And Challenges

Today’s globalization has contributed to the normal practice of developing software globally – commonly referred to as global, distributed ISD. Distributed ISD is described as the practice where actors, located at different geographical locations, actively work together to achieve common goals (Carmel, 1999). Rationales for global, distributed ISD include the possibility to exploit market opportunities through quick formation of global, virtual teams, to achieve ‘round-the-clock’ development by utilizing time zone differences (Holmström Olsson, Fitzgerald, Ågerfalk, & Conchúir, 2006) and the possibility for innovative collaboration (Whitley & Willcocks, 2012). A further incentive includes the desire of cost reduction through lower salary costs.

As previously introduced the process of ISD is demanding. As the development is dispersed another degree of complexity is added. Especially global distributed ISD brings challenges in relation to the communication, coordination and control of the ISD process (Handley & Benton Jr, 2013). Communication can be described as the formal or informal sharing or exchange of information between actors (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). Control includes ensuring that members of an organization act in a manner that is consistent with the goals and objectives of the organization (Kirsch, 1997). In inter-organizational relationships control includes making sure that the actors’ behaviour and interests are aligned. Coordination includes integrating and linking work processes, resources and information to accomplish joint tasks (Handley & Benton Jr, 2013).

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