Agile and Lean: Organizations, Products and Development

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    “The Second Vice is Lying, the First is Running into Debt.” Antecedents and Mitigating Practices of Social Debt: an Exploratory Study in Distributed Software Development Teams
    ( 2021-01-05) Dreesen, Tim ; Hennel, Phil ; Rosenkranz, Christoph ; Kude, Thomas
    Although much is known about the concept of technical debt in software development, less is known about its social counterpart, also known as social debt. Social debt refers to future consequences of decisions related to people and their interactions. Omissions in social interactions or reduction of communication can foster social debt – and in turn result in negative outcomes in the long run. In this paper, we explore what factors drive and mitigate social debt in distributed agile software development teams. Utilizing an exploratory case study approach, we derive insights from two case organizations. We present antecedents and mitigating factors of social debt related to communication, collaboration, and coordination.
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    The Agile Coach Role: Coaching for Agile Performance Impact
    ( 2021-01-05) Stray, Viktoria ; Tkalich, Anastasiia ; Moe, Nils Brede
    It is increasingly common to introduce agile coaches to help gain speed and advantage in agile companies. Following the success of Spotify, the role of the agile coach has branched out in terms of tasks and responsibilities, but little research has been conducted to examine how this role is practiced. This paper examines the role of the agile coach through 19 semi-structured interviews with agile coaches from ten different companies. We describe the role in terms of the tasks the coach has in agile projects, valuable traits, skills, tools, and the enablers of agile coaching. Our findings indicate that agile coaches perform at the team and organizational levels. They affect effort, strategies, knowledge, and skills of the agile teams. The most essential traits of an agile coach are being emphatic, people-oriented, able to listen, diplomatic, and persistent. We suggest empirically based advice for agile coaching, for example companies giving their agile coaches the authority to implement the required organizational changes within and outside the teams.
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    Investigating the Role of Stakeholders in Agile Information Systems Development Projects: A Mixed Methods Approach
    ( 2021-01-05) Huck-Fries, Veronika ; Nothaft, Francisca ; Wiesche, Manuel
    Agile information systems development (ISD) strives for a high amount of interaction between the agile team and stakeholders to ensure that high quality software within commonly defined project goals is produced. The literature has acknowledged that agile ISD significantly changes the work of team members. How do agile practices affect the work of stakeholders? Unfortunately, little theory exists to answer this question. This paper addresses this gap by investigating the effect of agile practices on stakeholders’ job satisfaction. Adopting a mixed-methods approach, we use a review of the literature with an exploratory case study to develop the theoretical model, which was evaluated with a survey among stakeholders in agile ISD projects. We contribute to agile ISD literature by providing empirical evidence on stakeholders’ job satisfaction and highlight the relevance of interaction and collaboration between team members and stakeholders in agile ISD projects.
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    A Theory of Coordination: From Propositions to Hypotheses in Agile Software Development
    ( 2021-01-05) Kanaparan, Geetha ; Strode, Diane
    Coordination is crucial in agile software development projects and a Theory of Coordination in co-located agile software development projects explains coordination in this context. This theory has propositions based on case study research. To improve the generalisability of theory built from case studies, researchers often transition to a theory testing phase involving a large-scale field study using the survey method. Prior to a large-scale field study, the propositions generated during theory building must be converted to testable hypotheses. There is little guidance explaining the complexity of this transition process and the challenges involved. Therefore, this paper explains the operationalisation process of transitioning from research propositions to research hypotheses and illustrates the process using the Theory of Coordination. The paper offers six practical guidelines, identifies seven challenges encountered, and potential solutions for each challenge. This paper contributes to agile software development and theory testing research offering seven recommendations for research practice.
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    A Survey of DevOps in the South African Software Context
    ( 2021-01-05) Rowse, Morgan ; Cohen, Jason
    This study investigated DevOps practices and experiences in the South African software development context, along with associated perceptions of benefits and challenges. Survey data collected from a sample of 80 software development professionals showed that more frequent builds, earlier detection of bugs and reduced project lead times were the top three benefits, while getting DevOps capable members into a team, finding experienced professionals to support DevOps practice and changing deep-seated company culture to support DevOps were the top three challenges. DevOps practices are still emerging. Although 85% of respondents report continuous integration as a frequent practice, only 54% report using continuous deployment frequently. The biggest reported impacts of DevOps on software development culture were in making development team members aware of operational faults, responsible for quality assurance, and responsible for deployments. Realisation of benefits from DevOps depends largely on a culture change. Results are useful for guiding organisations considering DevOps adoption.