Evaluating AGILE adoption in software delivery organizations
Software development methodologies play an important role in the organizations’ ability to respond to new stimuli originating from new requirements, features, vulnerabilities and bugs. AGILE methodologies are widely used, based on the premise of fast reaction and minimal expenditure in responding to these stimuli. Research in the field of AGILE is evaluated against (a) culture transformation (Gregory & Taylor, 2019), (b) projects, (c) frameworks (Dingsøyr et al., 2012; Diebold et al., 2018) or (d) specific IT functions. Table 1 demonstrates the extensive research undertaken in the evaluation of AGILE against specific IT functions. Software delivery organizations necessitate the use of the above functions in their overall software delivery success.
|Development||Bianchi et al., 2020|
Perkusich et al., 2020
Zaitsev et al. 2020
|Architecture||Beecham et al., 2021|
|Project management||Bass & Haxby, 2019|
Hemon et al., 2019
Galup et al., 2020
Hemon-Hildgen et al. 2020
Wiedemann et al., 2020
|Security||Zaydi & Nassereddine, 2019|
|Governance||Vejseli et al., 2018|
Amorim et al., 2020
IT functions in AGILE teams
The below list explains the role of each IT function within the software development organization.
- Development (D) – The actual development teams.
- IT Governance (G) – The overall IT function which ensures that all IT functions are aligned and co-ordinated toward the organization’s IT strategy.
- Architecture (A) – The IT function responsible to leverage standardization, reduce complexity and maximizing efficiency and quality. The architecture function works closely with Product Owner, Project manager and development leads.
- Operations (O) – The IT function responsible to facilitate, enable, deliver and maintain software artefacts, produced by development teams. In today’s environments this is normally referred to as DEVOPS. Other IT functions can be included in this category including security (DEVSECOPS) and DATAOPS.
The IT Governance, Architecture and Operations functions are supporting agents to the development teams. Yet they are essential towards successful software delivery cycles. Based on the above, a logical model is presented in Figure 1 involving external (green) and internal (blue) agents affecting the success of agile software delivery. These agents are subject to unexpected and frequent changes (Dooley, 1997).
AGILE teams as Complex Adaptive Systems
The theoretical foundation enables the researcher to investigate the research problem. The Complex Adaptive Systems theory is suitable for such investigation since it evaluates the AGILE teams within the broader ecosystem. Agile teams are complex due to their characteristics, whereby every person has relationships and interaction and behavior is unpredictable (Alaa & Fitzgerald, 2013). Utilizing Ashby’s law of requisite variety, AGILE teams require internal capabilities to meet external requirements (Nerur & Balijepally, 2007). The study conducted by Jain and Meso (2004) demonstrate the lack of documentation produced by AGILE methodologies which can potentially compromise operations through refactoring, maintenance and support. Another issue related to AGILE methodologies is related to fast resolution of issues (software fixing; due to velocity-constraints the teams do not engage in adequate problem solving engagement (Nerur & Balijepally, 2007) thereby falling apart from architecture and governance paradigms. Figure 2 depicts AGILE-driven IT functions working in harmony within a complex system.
Validated instruments to measure the success of AGILE transformation
The instrumentation methods proposed in table 2 may be utilized to collect the necessary information from the appropriate IT functions. Such data allows researchers to evaluate the adoption and effectiveness of AGILE teams within the ecosystem.
|Strategic alignment maturity assessment||Measure adoption of governance, architecture, operations within the organization||Luftman, 2003|
|DEVOPS assessment||Measure DEVOPS maturity within the organization||Gupta et al., 2017|
|AGILE maturity model||Measure AGILE maturity within the organization||Gren et al., 2015|
|AGILE transformation||Measure AGILE impact on software organization||Olszewska et al., 2016|
The above research allows organizations to evaluate the agile adoption amongst all the IT functions, whereby the entire ecosystems is assessed and tuned accordingly. Such reality checks allow organizations to continuously improve their process and workforce towards improved software delivery cycles.
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