Tuesday, 20 September 2011

How to Efficiently Manage Distributed Software Development

Until management insists that product development work be planned and properly managed, effective software process improvement will not start. With an increasing number of system developments made from distributed sub-system software projects, this becomes even more challenging. Distributed software development has become omnipresent in modern enterprise environments. A software configuration management (SCM) system needs to include a common, dependable repository, be tolerant to network outages, support various environments with negligible administrative overheads, to maintain collaboration. It is difficult to visualize any considerable development project managed without a fundamental software configuration management (SCM) tool.

As early models of software development were centralized, every developer working on a project worked in the same place. Today there are global teams consisting of thousands of users, combined with newer methodologies such as agile development, resulting in processes that are both geographically dispersed and exceedingly interactive.  This requires a real-time exchange of source code, documents, and images between team members. To efficiently manage distributed software development, there are techniques and active participation required by team members.  Some of the other requirements for a distributed software development are;

Mutually Shared Repositories
Most of the software management tools that are available are internet enabled. These tools make it increasingly feasible for distributed software developers to get up-to-date information with shared repositories. The mutually shared repositories need to provide a consolidated, real-time view of all assets, their current states, and their development histories to all users. repository- centric tools like, product lifecycle management, change management, project management help to manage processes and offer integrated collaborative characteristics like messaging, threaded discussions, etc.  

Competent Network
The system needs acclimatize to provisional network outages in order to reduce the effect of the network as a restriction on performance and availability. For this the connection between users and the repository ought to utilize nominal bandwidth. To ensure that users do not feel the need to circumvent SCM procedures due to the amount of time required to check in or check out files, bandwidth efficiency is essential. For a user to work productively during an outage, network outages should be minimally disruptive and be simple for users to resolve changes made offline when connectivity is reinstated.

Adequate backing for multi-platform milieu
It is characteristic for large organizations to have numerous development groups working in cross-platform milieu. Additional challenges to deployment also arise from the need to integrate code, as organizations grow. There is also a surge in the data between groups that follow different development methodologies and use different tool sets. It is therefore necessary for a SCM tool to support all major hardware platforms and operating systems.

Latest forms of information exchange are offering inventive ways for distributed developers to collaborate. Distributed software development can be managed efficiently by utilizing the various tools that are available.

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