Implementation of Agile Methodologies in a Mature Software Development Organization:: Evaluation and Further Improvement
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Agile Software Development (ASD) methodologies have attracted a growing interest and spurred an increasing amount of research that examines different aspects related to the new methodologies introduced a decade ago. However, the majority of recent research related to ASD has investigated the introduction stage of agile methodologies, focused on Extreme Programming (XP), and to a lesser degree examined more mature large-scale organizations experience of implementing Scrum. This study addresses this gap in literature and aims to identify and describe challenges related to implementation of agile methodologies in large-scale and mature software development organizations, discuss possible explanations to the issues that arise and suggest how to cope with the identified challenges. The company NorTech constitutes the research context within which the research was conducted autumn 2009 into the beginning of 2010. In NorTech, the organization introduced ASD methodologies in 2007, starting out with Scrum and later supplementing with XP. To a large extent, data was provided by in-depth interviews in one supplier department [NTIS] and one customer department [NTO]. In addition, but to a less extent, observation was implemented as well as collection of some selected documents. The observed challenges relate to the level of knowledge and understanding of agile and Scrum throughout the organization; knowledge sharing and learning; team stability; organizing of teams and managerial support. NorTech is advised to take into consideration the following actions: NorTech should consider which projects most suited for agile methodologies and allocate software developers that are positive to ASD/Scrum in the teams working with projects that are suitable to agile methodologies. Such a step requires thorough assessment of the teams personnel, their capabilities, projects and securing team stability. Consider to establish and co-locate a core team of software development specialists to serve several more generalized teams. Inspire and promote double-loop learning. Increase the understanding, knowledge and skills in agile methods throughout the teams and customers involved in designated agile projects. Motivate greater management involvement in the institutionalization of agile methods. This could for example imply that management learn more about agile, shows even larger support to agile methodologies and allocate resources to implementation of change necessary to improve. It is important that managers act as role models in the institutionalization of agile methodologies.This study points to several issues that might guide NorTech s management when planning for increased efficiency. The present study may also contribute to further theoretical examinations of not only how an organization practice agile values and principles, but also to why issues occur and how to improve.