Project Management Institute

Managing geographically distributed clients throughout the project management life cycle

Managing the development of innovative software systems is highly complex because such efforts--in today's market--not only demand creating new solutions to meet a client's ever-evolving yet unique competitive requirements but also involve outsourcing--from primarily Western organizations to mostly offshore vendors operating in distant regions such as Southeast Asia--key project functions. The result is that managers of such projects must oversee the efforts of stakeholders located worldwide. This article examines a two-phase survey-based study involving 40 project managers and looking at the twelve critical issues that these project managers most often face when managing complex software development projects for geographically distributed clients. In doing so, it overviews the previous research on managing geographically distributed projects and on engaging a client's involvement in the software development life cycle (SDLC). It details the major issues that project managers face while managing projects for globally distributed clients, issues that are discussed in relation to the nine Knowledge Areas outlined in PMI's PMBOK Guide and from the project team's point-of-view. It then outlines the study's methodology and its three-layered model; it lists the survey's twelve variables and the study's four hypotheses. It explains the survey results, identifying the 12 variables that affect the outcome of geographically distributed projects.
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