Systematic Literature Review on Agile Practices in Global Software Development


Context Developing software in distributed development environments exhibits coordination, control and communication challenges. Agile practices, which demand frequent communication and self-organization between remote sites, are increasingly found in global software development (GSD) to mitigate said challenges. Objective We aim to provide detailed insight into what is reported on the successful application of agile practices in GSD from 1999 to 2016 and also identify the most frequently applied agile practices and reported distribution scenarios. We further strive to uncover research opportunities and gaps in the field of agile GSD. Method We build our systematic literature review on top of a previous review, which investigated studies published between 1999 and 2009, and extend the review by years 2010-2016, for which we conduct both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis. Results Our results show that the majority of the cases studied is global and involves complex distribution scenarios with Scrum or combined Scrum/Extreme Programming being the most used agile methods. Key results include that in contrast to 1999-2009, where four Extreme Programming practices were among the ten most frequently used agile practices, in 2010-2016 Scrum is in the center of agile GSD implementations with eight Scrum-based practices in the top ten agile practices used in GSD. Conclusion Agile GSD is a maturing research field with higher quality contributions and a greater variety of publication types and methods from 2010 to 2016 than before from 1999 to 2009. However, researchers need to report full empirical contextual details of their studied cases in order to improve the generalizability of results and allow the future creation of stronger frameworks to drive the implementation of agile practices in GSD.

Information and Software Technology, 96 (2018), 161 - 180
Thomas Grechenig
Thomas Grechenig
Ao.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.