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Introduction: Exploring The Challenges And Potential Solutions In Implementing Scrum In Global Software Development

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Software is an intangible asset that has become an inevitable component in all different sectors globally (Shahane & Jamsandekar,2014). Time, Cost, and scope are three determining factors in software development. The dynamic and volatile nature of the software demands constant upgradation to the new technologies to keep up the pace. The traditional software development approach is not elastic enough to accept the changes and that is where the agile methodology becomes relevant.

Agile methodology is a “step-by-step “dynamic software development approach that addresses the pitfalls of conventional methods by providing the feature of flexibility to modify the requirements during any phase of development through a systematic set of principles(Al-Saqqa et al.,2020). Agile software development is driven basically by the elements such as distributed development, collaboration, and communication among self-empowered teams (Vallon et al.,2018). There are different methods that follow agile such as Scrum, Extreme programming (XP), Lean, Kanban, Feature Driven Development, and so on (Al-Saqqa et al.,2020; Fustik,2017).

Scrum is a framework that follows a set of iterative and incremental steps to address complex problems by delivering products and services with the highest possible value in the minimum amount of time (Al-Saqqa et al.,2020). Global software development (GSD) is the process of developing software by multiple teams distributed across different geographical locations across the globe. GSDensures to offer cost-effective and flexible development, a diverse workforce, and finally product launch (Vallon et al.,2018).The rate of GSD projects adopting agile methodologies is increasing as it provides many advantages such as flexibility and ease of project management.

This paper is a systematic literature review on the study of implementing agile scrum methodology in global software development. Agile can be best describes as a “method to rapidly or inherentlycreate change, proactively or reactively embrace change, and learnfrom change while, contributing to perceived customer value(economy, quality, and simplicity), through its collective components and relationships with its environment.” (Conboy,2009).

Scoping literature review has been chosen as the research methodology to analyze the successful impact of adopting agile scrum methodology in GSD.To identify this, the following research questions are addressed.

The objective of this literature review is to answer the below research questions.

RQ1: What are the challenges involved in implementing scrum in GSD?

RQ2:  What methods are implemented to tackle these challenges.?

Methodical review of relevant literature

Data Sources and Search Strategies

The search was carried out in the EBSCO Discovery electronic database and the results obtained were screened to include academic journals and e-books.The search was limited to resources that are written in English and full-text articles. The articles were mostly by the following publishers.

  • IEEEXplore
  • Google Scholar
  • Elsevier Science Direct
  • SpringerLink

Figure 1 shows the stages of different screening to obtain the final set of references. All the combinations of synonyms for the search terms for agile and global software development were combined using Boolean AND and OR operators so that all the related documents can be filtered and listed. Search string used for finding the references was as follows: {category 1} AND {category 2}(Table 1) where the keywords in each category were combined using OR operator. The obtained articles were sorted by title and abstract screening. The following screening criteria were used to ensure the selected papers address our research topic.

  • whether the article addresses the use of scrum in GSD OR
  • whether the paper highlights the benefits or challenges in implementing GSD OR
  • whether there is any real-life case study on implementing scrum in GSD

The articles with titles that indicated that the above determinants were not addressed were excluded.

Type

Category 

Keywords


1

Global software development

Global software development

Global Project management

Distributed development

Geographically distributed software development

Offshore

2

Agile methodology

Agile

Scrum

Agile methods

Scrum practice

Scrum method

Table 1: Search keywords

Results

PRISMA Diagram

Figure 1: PRISMA Diagram

Literature Review

Software is an intangible asset that has become an inevitable component in all different sectors globally (Shahane & Jamsandekar, 2014). Time, Cost, and scope are three determining factors in software development. The dynamic and volatile nature of the software demands constant upgradation to the new technologies to keep up the pace. The traditional software development approach is not elastic enough to accept the changes and that is where the agile methodology becomes relevant.

Agile methodology is a “step-by-step “dynamic software development approach that addresses the pitfalls of conventional methods by providing the feature of flexibility to modify the requirements during any phase of development through a systematic set of principles(Al-Saqqa et al.,2020). Agile software development is driven basically by the elements such as distributed development, collaboration, and communication among self-empowered teams (Vallon et al.,2018). There are different methods that follow agile such as Scrum, Extreme programming (XP), Lean, Kanban, Feature Driven Development, and so on (Al-Saqqa et al., 2020; Fustik,2017).

Scrum is a framework that follows a set of iterative and incremental steps to address complex problems by delivering products and services with the highest possible value in the minimum amount of time (Al-Saqqa et al.,2020). Global software development (GSD) is the process of developing software by multiple teams distributed across different geographical locations across the globe. Ensures to offer cost-effective and flexible development, a diverse workforce, and finally product launch (Vallon et al.,2018).The rate of GSD projects adopting agile methodologies is increasing as it provides many advantages such as flexibility and ease of project management.

This paper is a systematic literature review on the study of implementing agile scrum methodology in global software development. Agile can be best describes as a “method to rapidly or inherently create change, proactively or reactively embrace change, and learn from change while, contributing to perceived customer value(economy, quality, and simplicity),through its collective components and relationships with its environment.” (Conboy,2009).

Scoping literature review has been chosen as the research methodology to analyze the successful impact of adopting agile scrum methodology in GSD. To identify this, the following research questions are addressed.

The scum master help to control the activities of time-boxing. This is mainly utilized to get the event and activities’ time limit and teams that are not available in this limited time cannot manage the daily workload. Scrums permit the members of the team to be in various places. Communication is the main problem between the distributed team. Different working hours and various time zones can impair the total effectiveness and collaboration can be difficult in many cases (Sievi-Korte, Beecham & Richardson, 2019). Delay can occur because of the communication lack and parties are required to wait prior starting the next step of the assignment. People have to interact with each other at very unsociable hours because of the different time zone problem and that led to load quality sustainability and communication that affects the productivity. Many organisations have the tendency to resolve the resourcing issues by altering the members of the team because of the continuous effort for providing highest business worth for the stakeholder. 

The teams are designed for facing the changes and the majority of them are not very comfortable during the alteration making an impact on the team. The rhythm of the team breaks and disturbs the velocity of the team. The Scrum's necessary effort is to keep the team completely focused on their triumph. Stability is required to arrive at the stage of the performance. The main responsibility of the Scrum Master is to manage the entire team during the alteration. After the alteration it creates notes of the impression about the previous team. Scrums allow the meeting for a maximum of 15 minutes. This is a common issue faced by the Scrum teams. Time and money are proportional and this is a non-essential expense. In case the team begins a sprint and assumes that no alteration at that period and every problem cannot wait for the upcoming Sprint (Hidayati, A., Budiardjo, E. K., &Purwandari, B. 2020). Many of them may be fulfilled in Backlog and stand by for their next turn but in many cases, the problems must be handles with the arising. 

Another issue that is faced by the Scrum teams occurs when the developer ends their job at the sprint's end day and then gives it to the testers and this puts them under pressure to end the testing in a very short time. Teams’ of tester struggle to figure out what they want to do in the Sprint when there are no work products for testing. Some teams find this challenging for generating a software increment and turning it releasable. Releasable includes regression tests, performing functional and writing code, and obtaining the product owner's approval. This turns challenging when it is realized in a very small two-week iteration. Bug fixing and saved testing cycles happen while the developer talks with QA upon the acceptance manner of any type of functionality from the perspective of the user (Pardo-Calvache et al. 2019). The developers aim at working only with the code and the testers on the other hand the testers operate in the preparation of tests and write the automation scripts. Moreover, after the completion of the tests, the developers aim to tackle the high-level tests described by the question answers. The completion of user stories when accepted then the sprint is over.

GSD or global software development is the most trending issue related to architecture and various networks. The development cost reduction is the main motive of the developed software. Good management practices and a friendly environment help to improve developmental skills. The adoption of a scrum framework is helpful to manage business projects. Water falling tasks drift and resistance power of changes is the common challenges in the scrum framework (Maruping & Matook, 2020). The team is working sprint to deliver during the time of the scrum project. New requirements and scrum masters are mostly interfaces during the time of teamwork. The scrum master main its strict position during the time of project disruption. 

The inadequate duration of a sprint is another challenge of the scrum framework. The jury is not totally perfect during the timer of sprint duration. Most difficult situations arise during the time of suggestive studies related to scrum. The sprint duration is fixed by the scrum master with the help of additional knowledge (Ouriques et al. 2019). The sprints have to fix on track and it is the most difficult challenge in business. Good skills in technology and management help to keep sprints on a particular track. The time box also existed in this matter and only three days is the duration of the time box. 

Lack of knowledge during the time of training can create a big problem for the organisation. The usage of Scrum practitioners has some proper direction and proper training is needed for it. The team sometimes used this skill without proper training. The agile process is another skill that also worked with the help of previous knowledge (Dima & Maassen, 2018). Lack of proper knowledge about the latest technologies can create a big problem in the organisation. Everyone has to gain knowledge about scrum before usage of this factor. A scrum master is an experienced person in this and he can easily run his team. Proper management process as well as proper knowledge about software solves the problem of disruption. 

The framework of scrum is immovable and the daily role of the scrum is organised by the scrum master. Many team members resigned from the organisation because they have lesser knowledge about this factor. Proper encouragement from the scrum master and proper collaboration helps to solve various challenges. Proper freedom for the employees of the organisation and an influential team leader help to solve these challenges. Keeping a minimum sprint to avoid disruption is the solution to various challenges (Maruping & Matook, 2020). Gain a good knowledge about projects as well as scrum master helps to solve problems related to these factors. A proper training system can make an expert about these factors and the team can manage the circumstances more easy way. Proper understanding of time management and providing training according to it is the main responsibility of the management in the organisation. Finding out the lack of a team and removing the lack is the big responsibility of the team, the manager in the organisation.

Critical analysis and application

The proper implementation of the Scrum practises needs collaboration, coordination and a spirit of organising culture within the team. Despite being a major issue in all development settings, uncertainty and ambiguity is even more of a concern in GSD because of informal communication in distant teams(Hjelsvold& Mishra, 2019). The administrative processes, project management, client requirements, and design are all possible places where there are ambiguities. The situation can worsen when combined with a lack of team experience and subject matter expertise. It is anticipated that this issue would be significantly reduced from the global development environment due to the inherent availability of communication and coordination procedures in Scrum through daily Scrum meetings and planning. The use of Scrum methodology in the distributed environment helps in the maximization of stability in the process of development as a distributed team cannot follow the defined goals due to the team being scattered into various teams. 

The various interdependent relationship and the various responsibilities help in entailing the size, frequency and type of collaboration that is required among the various contributors. This is very much necessary for the proper development of Scrum practises in Global Software Development (Khalil, & Khalil, 2020). This step is very important for the crucial planning and implementation of the project and a strong hold on the need for synchronisation. All these things are very much expected for the proper implementation of the project. Proper coordination and collaboration among the members of the team are very much important as this would help in the proper management of the development plans. There is a big problem with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the various development practices and Scrum can only be considered in such distributed environment. Daily meetings and planning are very much crucial for the overall implementation of the Scrum practice in the industry that is growing at such a rapid pace. 

The various areas that are considered relevant for the study in the area of project management include Integration management, Management of scope, management of time, management of cost, management of quality and management of the human resource (Khan, Hussain & Zamir, 2021). The areas that can also be included are management of communication, management of risk and management of procurement. The success of an open-source, distributed scrum project depends on the team's ability to govern itself in a cooperative, self-organized, and autonomous manner. A strong infrastructure should be made available to team members for improved communication and collaboration. To support team members' synchronous and asynchronous communication, this infrastructure will offer a thorough user interface and tool support. 

Results explanation

On-site communication between team members and clients is a challenging and expensive activity to execute in Open Source distributed software development (DSD), hence numerous alternative strategies are recommended by various scholars and practitioners for better and more affordable communication (Matthiesen, Bjørn&Trillingsgaard, 2022). These methods include procedures, diverse equipment, specialised personnel, and appropriate modularization across locations. Additionally, academics have advised using agile methods for improved team cooperation and communication from a GSD standpoint. The merits and downsides of combining agile and GSD will be covered in detail in the following section. Traditional project management places a premium on risk management, which is also one of the knowledge domains covered by the PMI body of knowledge. 

The handling and management of risks in agile software development is currently an open research subject. Particularly from the perspective of GSD, risks result in unanticipated events and results (Pardo-Calvache et al. 2019). Risks can be either positive or negative. Positive risks lead to possibilities, but negative risks create threats to projects. This is not related to that problem because the result was unexpected or unanticipated. It is unknown where the risk accrues but does exist in the project because there are numerous potential factors engaged just before it. An organisation needs a particular way of information and various mechanism of knowledge sharing that involves the use of Scrum mechanism with predefined actions and standards. The training of staff in relation to this technique leads to enhanced mechanisms of collaboration. The Scrum approach uses team members to gather knowledge, techniques, decisions and various skills in the process of development. This is used so that the team members can use all these experiences that will help in the reduction of cost and work redundantly. 

The results shown were searches from the electronic database related to EBSCO Discovery which showed initial search keywords as Scrum and software development. The results were drawn after removing all the duplicates and resulted in the search query (Schmiedmayer et al. 2022). The search query includes the SU or geographically distributed software development, SU or Scrum practice and TI global software development. The full-text language was considered English and the titles were abstract. The outcome came as 40 and some records were excluded which is nearly around 1584. These search results were deeply analysed and surveyed for a better approach to the Scrum practises in the field of software development (Vizcaíno et al. 2019). Through the use of a PRISMA diagram, the results were represented and presented in the form of a flowchart. There is a need for solid infrastructure so that the team members get dedicated support and there remains collaboration between the client and the team.

Analysis and discussion

The physical proximity of members of a software development team is one of the most crucial factors in the attainment of Scrum goals. However, the collective efforts also present instances of successful use of Scrum methods in international and distributed software development (Hidayati, Budiardjo&Purwandari, 2020). Therefore, implementing Scrum techniques in a distributed software development environment may advance collaboration, self-assurance, creativity, and supremacy. Numerous academics have additionally hypothesized that specific Scrum methods may help to mitigate a number of the well-known problems and difficulties associated with global development. Additionally, it is asserted by various authors in various contexts that Scrum practises like a scrum of a scrum, daily scrum meetings, sprint planning, and review meetings engage dispersed group members in cooperation, support positive thinking of unforeseen complications, upturn team life force, and improve trust. Sprint scheduling offers a similar benefit. 

The use of a global task board could prove beneficial for the improvement of productivity in the area of agile teams as there is distributed internationally. The action that needs to be taken is organized properly through the use of meetings with every member of the team. Problems that are aroused could be solved in this way or else there will be a postponement in the accomplishment of the practices (Sinha, Shameem & Kumar, 2020). The origin of various tools to implement sprints can help in effective creativity. The success of a proper architecture should have the adoption of the right governance. Members that are working in the environment of Scrum are able to cooperate and collaborate to reach the goals and objectives of the plan. Team members are located far wide and have different cultures and are able to coordinate with each other. The need for the utilization of asynchronous communication help in the process of further meeting practices. 

One site is in sleeping hours while the other is in an open state, which causes communication-related problems that result in coordination and integration problems as well as delays in receiving responses from one another. In order to handle time delay issues effectively, these businesses need to adopt proper strategies and take into account their global contexts (Camara et al. 2020). It is crucial to replace a hierarchical management environment within the team with a collaborative, self-organized, and autonomous one for an open-source, distributed scrum project to succeed. Team members need to be given access to a sound infrastructure for improved communication and collaboration. This infrastructure will offer a thorough user interface and tool support to make it easier for team members to communicate both synchronously and asynchronously. 

Conclusion

The study is prepared through a literature review that involved the various Scrum practices that are involved in the development process of Global Software development. The main aim of the study was to understand the maximum benefit of the use of the scrum methodology which includes the maximization of stability and enhanced coordination. These are further followed by reducing the level of ambiguity and understanding further deficiencies that would help in the familiarization of Scrum practices to global software development. For the successful implementation of the Scrum process, there is a need for a disciplined agile methodology. The various challenges and issues related to the effective use of Scrum methodology include the distance in geography, management of the team, management of risk, differences in culture and issues in knowledge management. There are various infrastructure and privacy challenges alongside the main challenges. The study provided information that is important for Global Software Development Organizations and included experts that will help in the understanding of various challenges. 

The success of GSD requires the proper coordination and cooperation of the whole agile team workers. There is a need for a proper architectural phase to provide the right direction that includes well-modelled governance and proper reporting of risks. The proper implementation requires significant focus on the validation. The scrum methodology can be implemented properly provided there are well-designed agile-based software at all levels. This is needed for the proper alliance of business goals and mission. The Global Software development project needs to take further help from the knowledge about the various approaches that can actually be used to deal with various challenges that are acknowledged. 

References

Journals

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Camara, R., Alves, A., Monte, I., &Marinho, M. (2020, October). Agile global software development: A systematic literature review. In Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Symposium on Software Engineering (pp. 31-40). https://doi. org/10.1145/3422392.3422411

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