Agile and Lean: Organizations, Products and Development

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    On Solving the Business Requirements Engineering Problems of Information Systems Development Projects – Lessons from Three Projects
    ( 2020-01-07) Dahlberg, Tomi ; Lagstedt, Altti
    Information systems development (ISD) often fails. Requirements engineering (RE) problems rank high in ISD project failure statistics. RE is often regarded as the link between business (processes) (BP) and IS. Thus, in RE, the BP and IS requirements need to be synchronized. We conducted three case studies to investigate RE problems and the reasons for them, especially to contemplate how to synchronize business process and IS development requirements in plan-driven (waterfall) and change-driven (agile) projects. Investigated cases indicate that the ontological and epistemological matching of IS and BP requirements engineering methods improves requirements quality.
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    “We Use Scrum, but …”: Agile Modifications and Project Success
    ( 2020-01-07) Hassani-Alaoui, Salma ; Cameron, Ann-Frances ; Giannelia, Tanya
    While the Agile-Scrum (scrum) framework has specific guidelines, these guidelines are often adapted by practitioners. This research aims to understand how scrum changes in practice and how these changes impact various aspects of project success. Through interviews with representatives from 11 organizations who use scrum for software development, we found variability in the application of the guidelines, namely, that only a small number of guidelines are systematically followed, and that some guidelines are rarely followed consistently. Examining these method deviations and mapping them to specific dimensions of project success, four patterns emerged. Further, we uncovered practices that are often followed but were not part of the original Scrum guidelines, including how organizations scale scrum projects. These insights into how scrum is used in practice can help industry professionals determine how to best adapt scrum. They also serve as a promising agenda for research on the application of the scrum framework in industry.
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    The Impact of Modes, Styles, and Congruence of Control on Agile Teams: Insights from a Multiple Case Study
    ( 2020-01-07) Dreesen, Tim ; Diegmann, Phil ; Rosenkranz, Christoph
    Agile software development (ASD) strongly relies on social interaction and teamwork. Team processes and agile practices adopted by team members play an important part for the outcome of software development projects. Agile practices promise teams to be able to respond to change by granting them autonomy. Existing studies, however, imply that these projects can benefit from different elements of control. Our objective is to improve our understanding of how to enact control in agile teams and how these control mechanisms influence team autonomy and team performance. In this paper, we present our findings from four case studies conducted within two insurance companies and two software development firms. We found that it is not a question of ‘what’ controls should be exercised, but rather ‘how’ controls are implemented in practice. Our results prompt to the need for further studies on control mechanisms in ASD.
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    Towards A Lean Innovative Approach to Rethinking Employees Turnover. Surviving with Less-Knowledge, but not Knowledge-less: A Case Study
    ( 2020-01-07) Miller, James
    Regardless of title, authority level, or position in the organization hierarchy, each employee in any firm has unique knowledge that no other employee may possess. What happens when the employees with critical knowledge leave? What are the impacts of losing knowledge because of turnover? How do software development organizations mitigate the risks associated with knowledge loss? High turnover rates are forming a significant problem in the IT industry. Turnover is considered one of the main sources of draining institutional knowledge; hence, this paper seeks to identify the root impacts of the employee departure from the Lean ideal. Over a 3-year real-life case study, the investigators explored and analyzed the implications of turnover in an industrial setting. The emphasis was to re-think the way organizations deal with turnover; The study suggests retaining organization knowledge, rather than retaining staff through utilizing the lean methods to operate with less knowledge, but not knowledge-less!
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    Towards Empirically Validated Remedies for Scrum Retrospective Headaches
    ( 2020-01-07) Matthies, Christoph ; Dobrigkeit, Franziska
    Agile methods, especially Scrum, have become staples of the modern software development industry. Retrospective meetings are Scrum's instrument for process improvement and adaptation. They are considered one of the most important aspects of the Scrum method and its implementation in organizations. However, Retrospectives face their own challenges. Agile practitioners have highlighted common problems, i.e. headaches, that repeatedly appear in meetings and negatively impact the quality of process improvement efforts. To remedy these headaches, Retrospective activities, which can help teams think together and break the usual routine, have been proposed. In this research, we present case studies of educational and industry teams, investigating the effects of eleven Retrospective activities on five identified headaches. While we find evidence for the claimed benefits of activities in the majority of studied cases, application of remedies also led to new headaches arising.
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    SKI: A New Agile Framework that Supports DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and Lean Hypothesis Testing
    ( 2020-01-07) Saltz, Jeffrey ; Sutherland, Alex
    This paper explores the need for a new process framework that can effectively support DevOps and Continuous Delivery teams. It then defines a new framework, which adheres to the lean Kanban philosophy but augments Kanban by providing a structured iteration process. This new Structured Kanban Iteration (SKI) framework defines capability-based iterations (as opposed to Kanban-like no iterations or Scrum-like time-based sprints) as well as roles, meetings and artifacts. This structure enables a team to adopt a well-defined process that can be consistently used across groups and organizations. While many of SKI’s concepts are similar to those in found in Scrum, SKI’s capability-based iterations can support the demands of product development as well as operational support efforts, and hence, is well suited for DevOps and Continuous Delivery. SKI also supports lean hypothesis testing as well as more traditional software development teams where capability-based iterations are deemed more appropriate than time-based sprints.
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    In for a Penny, in for a Pound? A Lifecycle Model for Agile Teams
    ( 2020-01-07) Diegmann, Phil ; Dreesen, Tim ; Rosenkranz, Christoph
    Agile methods are increasingly popular – in information systems development and in general. The process of transformation, however, is not easily done, and the inherent barriers for successful trans-formation are high. To successfully transform a team or a whole organization to work in an agile manner, the threats, barriers, and the overall process have to be known. In this paper, we derive a lifecycle model of agile teams as well as threats to their success, based on interviews from six cases across a variety of industries and organizational contexts. This model further includes pathways for teams to discard agile methods if these do not fit the team’s needs. Based on this model, organizations can refine their agile transformation strategies and can keep on improving success rates of agile transformation processes.
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    Everyone’s Going to be an Architect: Design Principles for Architectural Thinking in Agile Organizations
    ( 2020-01-07) Horlach, Bettina ; Drechsler, Andreas ; Schirmer, Ingrid ; Drews, Paul
    Organizational agility is a prominent aim for companies to thrive in today’s volatile business environments. One common building block of agility are (semi-) autonomous teams for continuously fulfilling and surpassing customers’ needs. However, these teams still need to see the enterprise’s ‘big picture’ of strategic objectives, business processes, and IT landscape to prevent organizational inertia or technical debt. This requires architectural thinking to inform these ‘non’-architects’ decision-making. To aid companies towards achieving sustainable agility, we propose six design principles as underlying logic on how to realize architectural thinking in agile organizations. The results are based on insights from interviews with sixteen employees and consultants with expertise on architecture management and organizational agility across several industries. Our work closes a gap in the agility literature, which so far mainly focused on non-generalizable blueprints for agile setups without showing their underlying logics, or approaches and role set-ups for enterprise-level architecture management.
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    Introduction to the Minitrack on Agile and Lean: Organizations, Products and Development
    ( 2020-01-07) Sutherland, Alex ; Saltz, Jeffrey ; Anderson, Edward