Communications of the AIS
Global sourcing of software development has imposed new skill requirements on Information Technology (IT) personnel. In the U.S., this has resulted in a paradigm shift from technical to softer skills such as communications and virtual team management. Higher education institutions must, consequently, initiate innovative curriculum transformations to better prepare students for these emerging workforce needs. This paper describes one such venture between Marquette University (MU), U.S.A. and Management Development Institute (MDI), India, wherein IT students at MU collaborated with Management Information Systems (MIS) students at MDI on an offshore software development project. The class environment replicated an offshore client/vendor relationship in a fully virtual setting while integrating communications and virtual team management with traditional IT project management principles. Course measures indicated that students benefited from this project, gained first-hand experience in the process of software offshoring, and learned skills critical for conduct of global business. For faculty considering such initiatives, we describe the design and administration of this class over two semesters, lessons learned from our engagement, and factors critical to success of such initiatives and those detrimental to their sustenance.