I follow the discussions around the power of the crowd with big interest. The emerging start-ups dealing with crowdsourcing alone are a source of inspiration. Some university professors even call it “the Future of Digital Work”. I truly follow their perceptions that the new options to reach out to a global mass of highly creative people to generate new ideas or to solve problems in real time and at low cost are offering tremendous opportunities.
In contrast to generating a new design or identifying bugs in an application, where the result of one individual might be the final result, the development of complex SW is a task that requires several people working simultaneously in a coordinated way. Their individual artefacts (source code) need to fit in an overall architecture and together build a running application. Thus the challenges already in place in SW development projects with distributed teams as in an offshore/nearshore set up apply. On top of that, management of a crowd build up by individuals not belonging to one service provider impose further challenges. There is no longer a single Vendor to be managed.
I think this to be a good opportunity to companies like our who have the knowledge plus the tools in place to manage projects with heterogeneous teams (e.g. a crowd) in an effective way and be a single interface or support for a customer.
As one existing example, we ourselves are exactly doing that: The founders are located in Munich and Heidelberg (Germany) as well as in London (United Kingdom, the software development is done in Nowosibirsk (Russia), further work is done in Kolkata (India) and - of course - partners and customers are on a global scale. pliXos is successfully using its own technology to effectively manage the deliveries across its own the distributed teams.
Our Outsourcing Director is per see able to effectively manage globally spread teams by simultaneously providing the specific functionalities to govern SW development projects. This ensures efficiency in distributed teams and at the same time allows including the best possible talents in a team, wherever they are.