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Distributed Agile Product Engineering

Agile Product Engineering

Table of Contents


The next generation of Software Product Engineering involves a science of achieving successful product releases in midst of dynamic, competitive, global market place. Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), focus on delivering highest possible value at the minimum possible price to their customers to be ahead of their competitors. New rules of the game are challenging traditional methodology of software product engineering. ‘Distributed Agile’ methodology has become the de-facto standard for next generation of product engineering.

Business Drivers for ISV’s

Whether the particular ISV is targeting the enterprise space or the consumer space, their business drivers are common. CEOs, CTOs and Engineering heads of these companies lead from front to drive business value through the factors that can be summed up as,

  Engineering of Products Delivery of Solutions (*Only for Enterprise products) Services and Support
Time To Market To Implement To Service
Cost To Develop To Customize To Support
Value Innovations Best-Fit solution 24x7 Support

One important factor to be considered for product engineering strategy is ‘Globalization’. Products and solutions are being used by global customers. Software product that rolls out from engineering factory needs to match expectations of these global customers in terms of product as well as service excellence.


Traditional methodology of product engineering does not meet demands of today’s business. Today’s customers change their demands on a continuous basis, thus necessitating much higher amount of agility for the software product and/or service providers than can be afforded by traditional SDLC and other methods. Waiting a year for new software releases is possible only for very established software providers, with a captive customer base. Most of the market has gone toward ‘release trains’, where newer features and functions are released on a regular basis. This quicker release cycle is facilitated by ‘Agile’ software development methodology. Agile methodology has laid the foundation of ‘Self Managed’ & ‘Adaptive’ team from single location, which takes end to end ownership of meeting product owner’s expectations.

However, product development using ‘Agile’ methodology from one location was a limiting factor for growth, price performance, 24x7 support and need for multiple localized offerings. ‘Distributed Agile’ methodology got adopted widely to meet the demands of next generation of product engineering. Many ISVs quickly adopted ‘Distributed Agile’ methodology to meet their business goals. Characteristics of ‘Distributed Agile’ methodology are,


Sr. No. Characteristics of Distributed Agile model Benefits to ISVs
1 Multi-Location product engineering
  • Achieve Time to market goals due to ‘Follow the Sun’ development in multiple time zones.
  • Common Engineering environments (Dev/QA/Staging)
  • Real time visibility of progress, issues, bugs, customer tickets
2 Agile Engineering ‘Best practices’
  • 2 to 4 weeks of Sprint

  • Story point requirements

  • Test Driven development

  • Automation Testing

  • Continuous Build

3 Product Innovations
  • Tap from Global Talent pool

  • Tap from location of abundance talent

4 Service Excellence
  • Implement 24x7 support model
  • Operate from location close to Global customers
5 Price performance
  • Cost advantage from developing countries
6 Adaptation to business dynamics
  • Ramp up or Ramp down as per business demand

Distributed Agile Methodology (following SCRUM)


Distributed Agile model offers many benefits and hence, many ISV’s have opted for it. Success ratio from.

Distributed Agile models is very high. However, there are few challenges in implementation of this model.

Communication challenges

  • Communication is required among stakeholders that are operating from multiple locations in different geography
  • Communication among team members from diversified culture

Knowledge Transition

  • Knowledge transition on core product, domain, engineering & customer support processes
  • Engineering team has to adjust as per time zone of other teams for adequate overlap
    to hand-off and achieve 24x7 productivity

Multi-location best practices in Product engineering

  • Sharing and Implementation of best practices in product engineering across all locations
  • Common development, QA and staging environment
  • Sharing of ‘licenses’ across locations to gain time zone difference advantage

Visibility and Productivity

  • Use of appropriate tools and systems for real time visibility on requirements, progress, issues,
    bugs and customer tickets
  • Achieve and surpass common benchmarked productivity levels across all locations

IP Protection

  • Implement adequate controls and checkpoints for IP protection


As a strong proponent of distributed, multi-location development model and because of its target market comprising new age ISV’s and social networking/mobile applications customers, Xoriant teams have been adopting the distributed agile model wherever possible. Xoriant has been addressing the above challenges in the following manner:

  • Communications:Xoriant uses multi-channel communication platforms like e-mail, VOIP, Video conferencing, WebEx or GoTo meetings, IM’s to bridge communication gaps.
  • Knowledge Transition:Xoriant has successfully implemented ‘Train the Trainer’ model and build central knowledge repository for effective knowledge transition. Xoriant team works in an overlap working hours for effective collaboration with engineering team in different locations.
  • Multi-location best practices in Product Engineering:Xoriant teams use advanced knowledge management tools and techniques to store, evolve and disseminate knowledge. Xoriant teams adapt to their client’s knowledge management processes. On need basis, Xoriant will be happy to bring in their in-house open source tools based infrastructure for client’s use.
  • Visibility and Productivity:Xoriant uses web based monitoring tools for real time visibility on the progress of product development. Xoriant has also adapted continuous improvement program to benchmark and achieve high productivity norms across all locations.
  • IP Protection: Xoriant encourages No-compete and Non-Disclosure agreements at organization level as well as at team level. Being is a California based company; Xoriant follows the highest possible form of intellectual property protection at infrastructure, people and process levels.


Client Client Requirement Xoriant Offering
An online healthcare shopping portal To build a fully functional health care portal from ‘Ideation’ to ‘Realization’
  • Engineering team in 2 locations-USA and India
  • Biweekly releases to production
  • Quick adaptation to changes based on feedback from board and consumers
A provider of next-generation IP-based network and data services

To develop a state-of-the-art solution for mobile operators but with constraints of a tight budget and short timeline.

  • Engineering team in 3 locations – Canada, Switzerland and India
  • Biweekly releases to production

  • Quick adaptation to changes based on feedback from board and consumers

  • The first phase of the product was developed within four months using 2 weeks of Sprint cycle, allowing our client to bring the product to market within a very short timeline
  • Distributed agile model implemented for entire product portfolio
  • Follow-the-sun development model extended to 24x7 support
A Silicon Valley based start-up delivering on-demand solutions based on cloud and SaaS To revamp the website, resolve website issues and help create better modules that would enable enhanced user experience based on end-user feedback
  • Adopted Test driven development with weekly release methodology to create and implement a full suite of modules, patches, and features that responded to user feedback and client integration requirements
  • By overlapping time-zones, Xoriant could work in real time with the client to deliver the right technology within the right schedule and market launch plans
One of the largest global financial institutions involved in securities trading Ensuring to keep the systems active and current with changing business and regulatory environments through 24 hours a day, as global markets open and close during different time
  • Adopted ‘Follow-The-Sun’ approach, to meet client’s global presence requirement as trading goes on almost 24 hours for the five business days of the week covering the global securities markets
  • High availability and business-as-usual environment by testing and bringing live modules during off-hours for each geography
  • Distributed agile model implemented for entire product portfolio
  • Lower cost of operations by seamlessly ramping up and down resource base

Xoriant’s Advantage

  • Business focus of services to Product engineering companies (ISVs)

  • Best practices and established software engineering processes for delivery excellence

  • Distributed SCRUM practices and qualified SCRUM masters

  • Successful strategic partnership with more than 25 ISV’s

  • Experienced and trained resource staff

  • Central Knowledge repository on technology, best practices and learning’s

  • Complete customer experience through 24x7 support

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