Issue No. 05 - September/October (2004 vol. 21)
Amrit Tiwana , Emory University
The well-known black-box model of software development outsourcing is typically effective. The approach assumes that the vendor can successfully solve a client organization's business problem without either organization having to deeply understand the other?s domain. This article reports on a field study of 209 global projects that explored the black-box approach?s limits as well as potential solutions to those limits. The study?s key finding is that the black-box approach usually works well in routine projects but fails in projects involving novelty. Novel projects require careful deviations from the black-box model depending on novelty type. Conceptually novel projects require the vendor to deeply understand the client?s business whereas projects involving novel development processes require deeper technical expertise on the client?s part. The article also presents insights into the effectiveness of capability maturity, intense architecture design effort, and development coordination tools. A knowledge congruence framework is offered to apply the findings to software development practice.
outsourcing, congruence framework, knowledge management, software development, software project risk, black-box development
A. Tiwana, "Beyond the Black Box: Knowledge Overlaps in Software Outsourcing," in IEEE Software, vol. 21, no. , pp. 51-58, 2004.