Disciplined Agile

Is Geographic Distribution a Good Idea?

It depends, but generally no. As you can see in Figure 1, the rate of success drops quickly the further apart people are. This is due to the increased risks associated with geographic distribution as well as the increased complexity of your organizational structure, process, and tooling configurations required to address these risks. Our advice is to get good at co-located agile development first, then try near-located, and then only when you’re successful at these should you consider far-located development. In other words, learn to crawl first, then walk, then finally run.

Project Success Rate by Paradigm and Distribution Level

Figure 1: Success rates by level of geographic distribution.