Challenges for Autonomous Development Teams - A Multiple Case Study
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Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to identify and explore how challenges for autonomous development teams relate to autonomy. As the use of autonomous teams has seen a renewed interest in recent years, more knowledge of the implications for how to succeed with autonomous teams is considered valuable.Method: Empirical data from development teams in finance and consulting companies is gathered through semi-structured interviews for an inductive multiple case study. We identify challenges from the empirical data through the following themes: Overall Direction, External Coordination, Intra-team Coordination, Decision-making and Human Factors. Theory from different theoretical aspects, including STS and agile development, is used to provide a thorough background and a basis for our discussions.Findings: Eight challenges for autonomous development teams are identified: commitment to goals, external dependencies, coordination mechanisms, process improvement, unequally distributed decision-making authority, customer authority, empty role titles and specialists. Autonomy is viewed in terms of three aspects: the individual freedom of the members, shared decision-making in the team and authority given to the team from the external environment. All of the challenges relate to one or more aspects of autonomy. Our study contributes to the knowledge on autonomous development teams, which is valuable for both researchers in the field and industries engaged in the practice.