Configuring Global Software Teams: A Multi-Company Analysis of Project Productivity, Quality, and Profits

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In this paper, the authors examined the impact of project-level configurational choices of globally distributed software teams on project productivity, quality, and profits. Their analysis used data from 362 projects of four different firms. These projects spanned a wide range of programming languages, application domain, process choices, and development sites spread over 15 countries and 5 continents. Their analysis revealed fundamental tradeoffs in choosing configurational choices that are optimized for productivity, quality, and/or profits. In particular, achieving higher levels of productivity and quality require diametrically opposed configurational choices. In addition, creating imbalances in the expertise and personnel distribution of project teams significantly helps increase profit margins.