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Strategies to Introduce Agile Practices: Comparing Agile Maturity Models with Practitioners’Experience
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0639-4234
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7368-4448
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
(English)In: Journal of Empirical Software Engineering, ISSN 1382-3256, E-ISSN 1573-7616Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Context: Agile maturity models (AMMs) have been proposed to provide guidance for adopting Agile practices. Evaluations of AMMs indicatethat they might not be suitable for industry use. One issue is that AMMs have mainly been evaluated against pre-defined sets of criteria, instead of industry practice. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to: (1) compare current AMMs regarding their guidance for Agile adoption, (2) investigate the strategies for Agile adoption used by practitioners, and (3) investigate similarities and differences between (1) and (2). Methods: We conducted a literature survey that included grey literature to identify strategies proposed by the AMMs. We also conducted a survey and 11 interviews to identify the strategies used by practitioners to introduce Agile practices. This study combines quantitative and qualitative analysis. Results: From the literature survey we found 26 AMMs, whereof 12 provide explicit mappings of Agile practices to maturity levels. These mappings showed little agreement in when practices should be introduced. Based on 40 survey responses we identified three high-level strategies for introducing Agile practices: big-bang, incremental, and complex strategies. The survey andinterviews revealed that the guidance suggested by AMMs are not aligned well with industry practice and that Agile practices might already be in place before an organization starts a transition to Agile. Conclusion: In their current form, AMMs do not provide sufficient information to guide Agile adoption in industry. Our results suggest that there might be no universal strategy for Agile adoption that works better than others.

National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-16237OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-16237DiVA, id: diva2:1211091
Available from: 2018-05-30 Created: 2018-05-30 Last updated: 2018-05-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Introduction of Agile Practices: Strategies and Impacts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Introduction of Agile Practices: Strategies and Impacts
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Software development organizations frequently face changes that require them to be flexible. The principles and practices of Agile software are often associated with improving software organizations’ flexibility. However, introducing Agile practices have its benefits and limitations. To amplify benefits and alleviate challenges, Agile adoption guidelines are being proposed to provide strategies for introducing Agile practices. One instance of such guidelines is known as Agile Maturity Models (AMMs). AMMs typically suggest that Agile practices are introduced in certain orders. However, AMMs provide contradictory strategies. Thus it is not known whether one strategy to introduce Agile practices is better than others.

Objective: The objective of this thesis is to gather and examine the evidence on the different strategies of introducing Agile practices, particularly on the order of introduction as suggested in the AMMs. The thesis seeks if one order for introducing Agile practices is better than others.

Method: Combination of empirical studies were used in this thesis. The data collection was done through a survey and semi-structured interviews. This involved analyzing the introduction of Agile practices over time, i.e. the start and/or end of Agile practices. A qualitative method like qualitative coding was used to analyze data obtained from the interviews. Different quantitative methods like inferential statistics and social network analysis were also used. Literature studies were also conducted to provide background and support for the empirical studies.

Results: The examination of the evidence indicates that there is not one strategy to introduce Agile practices that would yield better results than others. The lack of conclusive evidence could be caused by the lack of consideration on reporting the context of empirical studies, particularly on the baseline situation, i.e. situation prior to Agile introduction. A checklist is proposed to capture a baseline contextual information focusing on internal organizational aspects of a software organization: the constellation of team members’ skills and experience, management principles, existing practices and systems characteristics of the software under development. The checklist was validated  by seven experts in academia. The experts who participated in the validation perceived the checklist to be useful and relevant to research.

Conclusion:  The studies presented in this thesis can be a useful input for researchers who are conducting an empirical study in Agile software development. The checklist proposed in this thesis could be used to help researchers to improve their research design when evaluating the extent of improvements from introducing Agile practices. If researchers use the checklist, consistency across empirical studies can be improved. Consistency in reporting empirical studies is desired for comparing and aggregating evidence. In turn, this will help practitioners to make a fair assessment whether research results are relevant to their contexts and to what extent the results are helpful for them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2018
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 6
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-15966 (URN)978-91-7295-352-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-05, J1650, Campus Gräsvik, Karlskrona, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-03-20 Created: 2018-03-20 Last updated: 2018-05-30Bibliographically approved

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Nurdiani, IndiraBörstler, JürgenFricker, Samuel

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