I’ve been around offshoring for quite a while now, and I’ve heard people tout the benefit of the 24-hour development cycle many times.  The idea is that when your developers in the Western Hemisphere are going to sleep, your developers in the Easter Hemisphere are waking up.  When those developers go to sleep, the cycle begins again.  Voilá!  24×5 coding effort.

But it never made sense to me.  It was like there were two people building a house, and claiming that if one person worked on the house during the day, and one person worked at night, it would be faster than if both people worked during the day.  At best, it would be equal effort.  It may even be a little worse because if two people work on it together, they can re-use tools and such, and they each have someone to keep them company.

Looking for some literature on using agile methods with offshore teams a while ago, I finally found someone had put the same thought in writing.

Another benefit of offshore that’s coming up is the use of 24 hour development to reduce time to market. The benefit that touted is that by putting hands on the code base at all hours of the day, functionality gets written faster. Frankly I think this is a totally bogus argument, since I don’t see what adding people does in India that it wouldn’t do by adding them to the onshore team. If I need to add people, it’s more efficient to do it while minimizing the communication difficulties.

Martin Fowler, "Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development"