Context: Offshore outsourcing collaborations can result in distributed development, which has been linked to quality-related concerns. However, there are few studies that focus on the implication of distributed development on quality, and they report inconsistent findings using different proxies for quality. Thus, there is a need for more studies, as well as to identify useful proxies for certain distributed contexts. The presented empirical study was performed in a context that involved offshore outsourcing vendors in a multisite distributed development setting.
Objective: The aim of the study is to investigate how quality changes during evolution in a distributed development environment that incurs organizational changes in terms of number of companies involved.
Method: A case study approach is followed in the investigation. Only post-release defects are used as a proxy for external quality due to unreliable defect data found pre-release such as those reported during integration. Focus group meetings were also held with practitioners.
Results: The results suggest that practices that can be grouped into product, people, and process categories can help ensure post-release quality. However, post-release defects are insufficient for showing a conclusive impact on quality of the development setting. This is because the development teams worked independently as isolated distributed teams, and integration defects would help to better reflect on the impact on quality of the development setting.
Conclusions: The mitigation practices identified can be useful information to practitioners that are planning to engage in similar globally distributed development projects. Finally, it is important to take into consideration the arrangement of distributed development teams in global projects, and to use the context to identify appropriate proxies for quality in order to draw correct conclusions about the implications of the context. This would help with providing practitioners with well-founded findings about the impact on quality of globally distributed development settings.
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 72, 125-136 p.
Offshore Outsourcing; Distributed Development; Global Software Development; Software Quality; Case Study