Distributed Development

What Does Distributed Development Mean?

Distributed development is a software development model in which IT teams spread across geographical lines collaborate on applications or various software. These teams are often separated by mini-projects that are brought together for a final software buildout.


Distributed development is a familiar IT approach, but source code control and other issues make it less than ideal. However, modern and advanced Web-based tools and collaborative techniques allow teams to work effectively in a distributed fashion.

Techopedia Explains Distributed Development

Teams work remotely, collaboratively and in a distributed development fashion for a number of reasons, as follows:

  • Although team members may share similar project ideas, they may reside or work in separate locations, making in-house collaboration impossible.
  • Startups may use this approach to save upfront or capital costs, like facilities and hardware for team members.
  • Team members may want or need to work from home, or relocation may not be an option.
  • Globalization and hiring IT staff in third-world countries cuts overhead costs.

Distributed development has potential downsides. For example, a large team made up of multiple micro-teams may fail at intercommunication, delaying or extending developmental processes and timelines.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…