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Integration by communication: knowledge exchange in global outsourcing of product software development



Global outsourcing is a growing trend among independent software vendors. In these projects like other distributed work, distances have negative effects on communication and coordination, directly impacting performance. We present a normative model designed to address this issue by improving communication and knowledge exchange. The model consists of six distinct practices and a tool blueprint, each coming with practical guidelines. It is based in part on two case studies of Dutch software vendors who have successfully outsourced part of their activities to an Eastern European outsourcing vendor, and validated by a panel of six experts from industry and the scientific community. It is concluded that knowledge exchange in global software outsourcing is a by-product of efforts to enhance communication and coordination, rather than specific technical solutions. By committing to sharing knowledge, emphasizing transparency and integrating the outsourcing team into their organizations, customers from the product software business can realize the benefits of global outsourcing.

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