I have been reading the book World is flat, since the last few weeks. In this book Thomas L. Friedman, argues the importance of outsourcing. I came across this wiki, in which the benefits of outsourcing is summarized as
Friedman argues that outsourcing has allowed companies to split service and manufacturing activities into components, with each component performed in most efficient, cost-effective way.
Many software and BPO companies globally have realized the above advantage of outsourcing. At the same time the global companies wants to improve the efficiency and productivity by applying efficient software development and industrial practices. One of the ways to reap the above benefits in software industry is by applying Agile methods. Currently there is a big hype in the software industry around Agile, and specifically in India, I am seeing a big wave of Agile hitting the software industries.
Even though I don't have statistics around outsourcing/distributed development, I strongly believe more than 60% of the software development happening in India is mostly in a distributed mode. Many of these developments are at different phases of implementing Agile practices.
Nowadays I have been hearing many Agile thought leaders arguing that "distributed" team is not a team and anything the distributed team calls as "Agile" is really not "Agile", like this one. Obviously if this is not called "Agile" then what are we practicing in this distributed mode ? So far the above mentioned argument is mainly coming from the developer community, thought leaders and not from business people. Business people seem to not care whether it is Agile or not, and at the end of the day, they want the application to be developed and want to make profit out of it. At the same time, developers don't care whether it is Agile or not and at the end of the day, they want to develop applications satisfying the needs of the stakeholder.
I agree that if some thing should be called as Agile, it needs to follow the values and principles mentioned in Agile Manifesto. I also agree that there is a value in following those principles. However if tomorrow, somebody comes and makes a rule saying that "Agile" word should not be used for projects in a distributed mode, then definitely one should start thinking about inventing a new methodology that can be tailored to distributed development.
I have started thinking, may be this is the right time to invent something new and that is more like "Agile" and somewhat like "lean" , that is flexible, efficient (like the "collocated Agile") and also mode free(collocated or distributed) !!! I don't know who else in the world is thinking about this, atleast I have started to do so.