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Welcome! Multi-shoring and Agile

Welcome to the Multi-shoring blog. I think I have the honor of making our inaugural post. I hope you find it and all that we blog about to be interesting and insightful. We certainly believe in the benefits of Multi-shoring, and hope to share these with our readers.

I thought an interesting kick-off might be something that addresses one of my passions, and what I’m sure will be a recurring theme in my blog entries, Agile project delivery.

I came across a link to a presentation that IBM Agile Development Practice Leader Scott Ambler gave at Agile 2009 last September entitled Agile by the Numbers on InfoQ. While there are a number of things that Scott presents that I don’t necessarily agree with I think there are some key take-aways from his presentation which relate directly to Multi-shoring.

Scott adopted a Mythbusters format, where he discusses common “myths” associated with Agile, and then described whether those myths are true (confirmed) or false (busted). I’ve highlighted several of these myths that are relevant to our multi-shore approach.

  • Confirmed: The majority of organizations are now doing Agile
    Surveys sponsored by Agile groups and Scott’s State of the IT Union Survey both find that the most organizations are now doing Agile in some of their projects. Scott’s survey indicates 76% of respondents said that at least one of their projects are doing Agile.

    Not surprising to us. We know it works, and it’s natural that organizations would gravitate towards the many benefits Agile realizes. Perficient has been an thought leader in the Agile space, and our offshore facilities in Hangzhou are particularly experienced in Agile as well as traditional project delivery approaches. We run our projects are ran using an Agile approach, our Enable-M (M is for Multi-shoring) methodology.

  • Busted: Agile is for small teams
    Some organizations are successful using Agile in very large teams.

    We certainly have positive experience applying Agile on our Multi-shoring projects with large teams. Agile can be readily and effectively applied to large projects. We have a very successful ongoing project that had over 100 team members participating during peaks in activity.

  • Busted: Agile and CMMI don’t work together
    Scott’s survey finds: a small number of teams are doing Agile and CMMI.

    We would be one of that small number. Our Perficient Hangzhou facility is SCAMPI Class A assessed CMMI Level 5.

  • Busted: Most agile teams are doing “greenfield development”
    Scott’s survey finds that 78% of teams are woking with some legacy in some way.

    We’re fortunate that we’ve had the opportunity to apply Agile to both greenfield and legacy systems. We know it works for both.

  • Busted: Most agile teams are co-located
    According to Scott’s survey, 42% of Agile teams are co-located. The majority of teams are distributed in some way, and 29% are very distant. Interestingly 1% didn’t know.

    The Multi-shoring approach differs from ‘over the wall’ type of outsourcing by recognizing the many benefits of co-location, as well as the benefits of offshoring. This is a powerful enabler to our Agile approach, having team members working closely with the client acting as close proxies for those located in other locations.

  • Confirmed: Agile works better than traditional approaches
    The survey says: “Hell yes!”  “Agile teams produce higher quality work, are quicker to deliver, and are more likely to deliver the right functionality and more likely to provide greater ROI than traditional teams.”

    Projects that are delivered using a traditional approach aren’t necessarily destined to failure, but according to Scott’s survey as well as others, and according to our experience in delivering projects, Agile is a powerful tool which can help recognize significant business benefits.

Scott also covers some more detailed engineering related myths which are probably less relevant to Multi-shoring, so those aren’t covered, nor are his occasional rants on certification (disclosure: I’m a member of the Scrum Alliance, a Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Practitioner, so I am biased — perhaps the topic of a future blog post) and specific practices such as the XP metaphor.

So, what do you think? Do you agree with what the community is saying through their survey responses?

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Vernon Stinebaker

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