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Implementing Agile Scrum in Global Software Development: Challenges & Solutions

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Introduction: Optimizing Global Software Development Through Agile Methodologies

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

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.

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