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Agile Methodologies in Large Scale Information Systems Project Context : A Literature Review and Reflections

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Title: Agile Methodologies in Large Scale Information Systems Project Context : A Literature Review and Reflections
Author(s): Aintila, Eeva Katri Johanna
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Computer Science
Discipline: Computer science
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2016
Expected benefits from agile methodologies to project success have encouraged organizations to extend agile approaches to areas they were not originally intended to such as large scale information systems projects. Research regarding agile methods in large scale software development projects have existed for few years and it is considered as its own research area. This study investigates agile methods on the large scale software development and information systems projects and its goal is to produce more understanding of agile methods suitability and the conditions under which they would most likely contribute to project success. The goal is specified with three research questions; I) what are the characteristics specific to large scale software engineering projects or large scale Information Systems project, II) what are the challenges caused by these characteristics and III) how agile methodologies mitigate these challenges? In this study resent research papers related to the subject are investigated and characteristics of large scale projects and challenges associated to them are recognized. Material of the topic was searched starting from the conference publications and distributions sites related to the subject. Collected information is supplemented with the analysis of project characteristics against SWEBOK knowledge areas. Resulting challenge categories are mapped against agile practises promoted by Agile Alliance to conclude the impact of practises to the challenges. Study is not a systematics literature review. As a result 6 characteristics specific to large scale software development and IS projects and 10 challenge categories associated to these characteristics are recognized. The analysis reveals that agile practises enhance the team level performance and provide direct practises to manage challenges associated to high amount of changes and unpredictability of software process both characteristic to a large scale IS project but challenges still remain on the cross team and overall project level. As a conclusion it is stated that when seeking the process model with agile approach which would respond to all the characteristics of large scale project thus adding the likelihood of project success adaptations of current practises and development of additional practises are needed. To contribute this four areas for adaptations and additional practises are suggested when scaling agile methodologies over large scale project contexts; 1) adaptation of practises related to distribution, assignment and follow up of tasks, 2) alignment of practises related to software development process, ways of working and common principles over all teams, 3) developing additional practises to facilitate collaboration between teams, to ensure interactions with the cross functional project dimensions and to strengthen the dependency management and decision making between all project dimensions and 4) possibly developing and aligning practises to facilitate teams' external communication. Results of the study are expected to be useful for software development and IS project practitioners when considering agile method adoptions or adaptations in a large scale project context. ACM Computing Classification System (CCS) 2012: - Social and professional topics~Management of computing and information systems - Software and its engineering~Software creation and management

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