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But picking up on the last of the capabilities in the above chart in particular, it is interesting to see around one in five respondents declaring extensive use of social networking tools, with a further 40 per cent making at least some use of such solutions. And when we look at the impact of this on performance, we can see that adoption of blogs, wikis, and so on can help to alleviate some of the previously identified challenges (Figure 8).

Figure 8

This kind of impact makes absolute sense. Putting facilities in place to allow developers to collaborate freely between locations can help to smooth over differences in skill sets and experience, break down 'us and them' barriers and prevent political problems, rationalise or work around differences in processes and practices and generally grease the wheels from a project management perspective.

So, is distributed software development hard to pull off successfully? The results of our poll suggests it is, but they also tell us that by paying attention to some of the key enablers of performance, there is indeed hope for those who are currently struggling. The bottom line: While saving money may cost more particularly with ad hoc approaches, there’s plenty that can be done to encourage better collaboration across all kinds of distributed environment. ®

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