AuthorsJ. E. Hannay and H. C. Benestad
EditorsM. G. M. Succi and N. Nagappan
TitlePerceived Productivity Threats in Large Agile Development Projects
AfilliationSoftware Engineering, Software Engineering
Publication TypeProceedings, refereed
Year of Publication2010
Conference NameInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM 2010)
ISBN Number978-1-4503-0039-01

Applying agile methodology in large software development projects introduces many challenges. For example, one may expect that the combination of autonomous teams and the necessity for an overall organizational control structure may lead to conflicts, and one may expect that Agile's informal means of knowledge sharing breaks down as the number of project participants increases. Issues such as these may in turn compromise the project's productivity. In order to better understand potential threats to productivity in large agile development projects, we conducted repertory grid interviews with 13 project members on their perceptions of threats to productivity. The project was a large software development project consisting of 11 Scrum teams from three different subcontractors. The repertory grid sessions produced 100 issues, which were content analyzed into 10 main problem areas: (1) Restraints on collaboration due to contracts, ownership, and culture, (2) Architectural and technical qualities are given low priority, (3) Conflicts between organizational control and flexibility, (4) Volatile and late requirements from external parties, (5) Lack of a shared vision for the end product, (6) Limited dissemination of functional knowledge, (7) Excessive dependencies within the system, (8) Overloading of key personnel, (9) Difficulties in maintaining well-functioning technical environments, (10) Difficulties in coordinating test and deployment with external parties. Using critical-case reasoning, we claim that projects deploying agile practices in projects with less favorable conditions than those enjoyed in the current project, and that are larger and more complex, are likely to face similar challenges.