This propelled Indian software firms onto the world stage and they haven't looked back. Today there is an increasing interest in nearshore locations such as in Eastern Europe. These regions offer well educated software development at a lower cost and they are not that far away geographically or culturally.
From meetings I have had with suppliers in eastern Europe as well as feedback from their customers it seems that they are seen as a trusted source for agile software development.
Demand for agile software development skills is growing fast. According to research from CWJobs that I recently wrote about, it will soon be one of the most in demand software skills. (see table below for CWJobs' figures.)
But is insourcing, outsourcing, offshoring or nearshoring the best option for businesses hoping to take advantage of the software development methodology.
Agile software development requires development teams and users communicating all the time.
The flexibility and constant testing makes it a challenge to succeed using agile software development techniques if groups of people are not in close contact during work time. You can't really do a scrum over thousands of miles.
This introduces major challenges for businesses outsourcing never mind offshoring.
I met a company last year based in Romania and Moldova. Endava has customers including Cadbury and Endsleigh Insurance who use it in part because of its agile software development capability. Nearshore locations are less costly than onshore services but are often seen as less risky than offshore.
Because central and eastern Europe are close to the UK both geographically and culturally Agile software techniques are easier.
One source said that distance and cultural differences can be a problem in agile development projects. "I advised on an agile software development project that went badly wrong. The customer was UK-based, and the supplier was in India. It proved to be very difficult to use agile principles when there were both geographical and cultural differences."
But companies are reporting good results from nearshore locations. .Jason Collins, IT development centre manager at Endsleigh, said the internal team stretched when the company is preparing for the new intake of university students every year. "Agile development is critical because Endava and Endsleigh had to be in constant contact during the project, so requirements and changes could be immediately communicated and deadlines met," he added.
See CWJobs's latest figures on software jobs advertised.
IT permanent software skills advertised: Q3 2008-Q3 2012
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