Inter-Organizational Co-Development with Scrum: Experiences and Lessons Learned from a Distributed Corporate Development Environment

Raoul Vallon, Stefan Strobl, Mario Bernhart, and Thomas Grechenig

Research Paper


Distributed development within a single organization adds a lot of overhead to every software development process. When a second organization joins for co-development, complexity reaches the next level. This case study investigates an agile approach from a real world project involving two unaffiliated IT organizations that collaborate in a distributed development environment. Adaptations to the regular Scrum process are identified and evaluated over a six-month-long period of time. The evaluation involves a detailed problem root cause analysis and suggestions on what issues to act first. Key lessons learned include that team members of one Scrum team should not be distributed over several sites and that every site should have at least one Scrum master and one product owner.



Raoul Vallon received a MSc in Business Informatics in 2011 and a MSc in Software Engineering & Internet Computing in 2012 from Vienna University of Technology. Currently he is working on his PhD study focussing on the investigation and improvement of agile and lean processes for large distributed industrial software development project environments. In the last five years he has analyzed, coached, and worked in several lean and agile projects. At INSO he is the coordinator for the AMMA (Amazing Makers) research group with a strong focus on processes for software engineering teams.

Research Group for Industrial Software, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria,

Further Authors


Stefan Strobl is a research assistant at the Vienna University of Technology. He is currently working in the field of software engineering with a strong focus on maintenance and evolution. A specific highlight is the adoption of agile practices under particularly difficult (and sometimes extreme) circumstances. Further interest lie in software internationalization and software product lines – all from an academic as well as industrial perspective. Furthermore Stefan is a committer on the Eclipse Babel Project.


Mario Bernhart is the coordinator for the BUSY (Building Systems) software engineering research group at INSO. His research interest covers everything useful and practical in large-scale and real-world software engineering. Currently he is working on code review systems and the re-engineering of legacy systems in aviation and other domains. In 2012 he was a visiting researcher at the MIT Complex Systems Research Lab (CSRL) of Prof. Nancy Leveson. He is an Eclipse committer and regular speaker at EclipseCons (2009-2011), and from 2009 to 2012 he was leading the Eclipse Mylyn Reviews project (successor of ReviewClipse) which now provides the Gerrit connector for Eclipse. From 2000 to 2005 he worked with Frequentis AG on Taptools and was the lead engineer for the successful smartStrips electronic flight strip (EFS) system.


Thomas Grechenig is a senior architect in large IT systems and nation-wide IT-infrastructures. He is a Professor for Industrial Software Engineering at the Vienna University of Technology. He and his teams have planned, designed, and built several large scale IT solutions, e.g. in health, railway systems or public transport applications. In science and research the focus of interest goes towards enhancing the stability and fine-tuning of the IT-mass-concept in all its critical sectors (usability, security, IT-infrastructure, performance, integration and interoperability).