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For the software industry, the simultaneous launch of new products in multiple global markets has become a competitive necessity. The growing importance of overseas markets, the diverse demands of multinational customers, and the narrow profitability window for products with increasingly shorter life cycles compel software vendors to release internationalized versions of major products within months, if not weeks, of the original. <p>Concurrent engineering promises to enable simultaneous launch by dramatically reducing the time and costs involved in internationalizing a base software version and customizing it for local markets. Yet concurrent engineering also has potential risks, especially when you apply it to products that represent quantum leaps in technology or when you must disperse development teams around the globe.</p> <p>We present a framework that outlines the range of options available to managers. These options vary along the dimensions of location and timing. We assert that the most suitable choice depends on two critical factors: potential market attractiveness and the development project's inherent technological uncertainty. When concurrent, distributed development does make sense, managers must focus on key factors such as project leadership, organizational structure, and measurement systems, because these play the greatest role in determining the successful outcome of projects.</p> <p>To support our recommendations, we report on the early stages of a research effort based on three detailed case studies conducted at a large hardware and software manufacturer that was concerned with significant delays in the internationalization of its software products.</p>

F. Rafii and S. Perkins, "Internationalizing Software with Concurrent Engineering," in IEEE Software, vol. 12, no. , pp. 39-46, 1995.
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