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Global software development (GSD) has become a dominant paradigm in the software industry. Conducting development projects in multiple countries offers many potential benefits including reduction in development cost and reduction in time-to-market especially trough the use of follow-the-sun strategy. However, GSD also poses challenges and difficulties due to geographic dispersion, time-zone differences as well as cultural and language differences. Thus, few GSD projects have been able to realize the full benefits of follow-the-sun development. This raises the question whether follow-the-sun strategy is the best way to pursue in order to reduce development time. What need to be done to ensure that the full benefits of follow-the-sun are achieved? In this paper, we described a hybrid simulation model of the software development process that is specifically architected to examine GSD projects. Then, we illustrated how project managers can use such model to support project planning and process improvement. We found that, in general, one should avoid using follow-the-sun strategy since it requires too much communication and coordination between sites, which resulted in higher effort and longer duration. If one is determined to use a follow-the-sun strategy, three development sites working in 24- hour cycle are needed in order to reduce cycle time.
Date of Conference: 5-9 Aug. 2007