Global Information Management

Offshore Software Development Projects

Increased globalization and improved IT infrastructures have resulted in the distribution of IT activities around the globe. The development of software in offshore countries like India and Vietnam has experienced tremendous growth since the 1990s and this growth is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Although offshore software development (OSD) projects are primarily undertaken as measures for reducing costs in high-cost countries, many globally distributed projects fail to achieve the intended results. Research into OSD projects show that several inherent factors such as culture, distance and language affect the outcome. However, the dynamics that lead to project failures were not studied in depth. Especially, the flow of knowledge in global software development teams and the influence of cultural background need to be explored further to improve the project results.

In order to address the communication and coordination challenges within the global team, we explore the media selection. We propose the selection of situated media to bolster the cultural influence. We develop frameworks to understand OSD projects and their failures better, which will further help to explain why many projects do not achieve the anticipated results.

Our research provides better managerial and theoretical understanding of OSD projects before troubles arise. The knowledge of critical issues and early warning signs of OSD project failures provide the key to improve the success rates. The cultural influence on knowledge transfer and the role of media selection in reducing the complexities involved in offshore projects play important roles during the transition phases.