Factors That Significantly Impact The Implementation Of An .

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JOURNAL OF SOFTWARE, VOL. 3, NO. 4, APRIL 200831Factors that Significantly Impact theImplementation of an Agile SoftwareDevelopment MethodologyJeffrey A. LivermoreWalsh College/Business Information Technology/Detroit, MI, USAEmail: jlivermore@walshcollege.edu1Abstract—The Internet economy has altered the currentrules of software engineering. Traditional developmentmethodologies have proven too cumbersome to meet therapidly changing requirements and short product cyclesdemanded by business today. To meet these rapidlychanging requirements, software developers have developedagile software development methodologies (SDMs) utilizingiterative development, prototyping, templates, and minimaldocumentation requirements.This research project investigated agile SDMimplementation using an online survey sent to softwaredevelopment practitioners worldwide. This survey data wasused to identify factors related to agile SDMimplementation. The factors that significantly impactedagile methodology implementations included training,management involvement, access to external resources, andcorporation size. Other factors such as using models, havingan implementation plan, collocating the development team,and developing software for Internet or intranet use did notsignificantly impact the implementation of an agile softwaredevelopment methodology.A number of the factors that impact theimplementation of an agile development methodology ions that are considering implement ting an agilemethodology are able to manipulate some of these factors toincrease the opportunities for success of their methodology.Index Terms—agile software development, ExtremeProgramming, Scrum, agile methodology implementationI. INTRODUCTION TO AGILE METHOLOGIESThe growth of the Internet and the digital economy hasaltered the profession of software engineering.Traditional software development methodologies (SDMs)are being replaced by new light or agile SDMs. Theseagile SDMs are characterized by iterative development,continuous code integration, and the ability to handlechanging business requirements [1].Extreme Programming (XP) is perhaps the mostpopular agile methodology. XP is based on a series ofBased on “Factors that Impact Implementing an AgileSoftware Development Methodology” by J. Livermorewhich appeared in Proceedings of IEEE Southeastcon2007 Conference. 2007 IEEE 2008 ACADEMY PUBLISHERcoding and management concepts that include: having thebusiness customer on-site with the development team,pair programming, collective code ownership, continuouscode integration, small releases, designing tests beforewriting code, standup meetings, refactoring, and 40-hourwork weeks [2].Other popular agile SDMs are Scrum, CrystalMethods, and Feature Driven Development (FDD). Allof these methodologies are fundamentally different fromtraditional SDMs and help organizations meet thechallenges of today’s digital economy [1].The use of agile methodologies enable softwaredevelopers to produce higher quality software in a shorterperiod of time. Agile methodologies were developed toimprove the development process by removing barriers toaccepting business requirement changes during thedevelopment process. It is not necessary to freeze or lockin business requirements and design details whiledeveloping software with an agile methodology [3].Agile SDMs all share several qualities includingprototyping, iterative development, and minimaldocumentation [4].A. Extreme ProgrammingExtreme Programming was developed at Chrysler byKent Beck while working on a payroll project as amember of a 15 person team. Beck continued to refineand improve the XP methodology after the project wascompleted until it gained worldwide acceptance in 2000and 2001 [5]. XP can improve software quality whileshortening functionality delivery schedules.XP is based on a set of concepts and practices thatinclude having the customer collocated with thedevelopment team, pair programming, collective codeownership, and the use of metaphors to describe businesssituations [1]. Having the customer collocated with thedevelopment team changes the customer’s traditional roleof a remote unapproachable user to being a full memberof the development team. Other XP principles include:designing tests before developing code, maintaining anopen workspace, daily stand-up meetings, coderefactoring, and a work week of no more than 40 hours tominimize staff fatigue and loss of perspective.

32XP contains development practices that are new tomany organizations and developers. The practices of pairprogramming, open workspaces, and the 40 hourworkweek may lead to resistance from developers andmanagement [6]. Another practice unique to XP isholding a daily stand-up meeting. The development teammeets every morning to exchange information and theteam members stand during the entire meeting to helpkeep the meetings short [7].B. ScrumThe Scrum methodology was specifically designed tohandle rapidly changing business requirements. TheScrum name is derived from a strategy used in the sportof English Rugby. In a Rugby scrum, the ball is passedback and forth between team members to move the balldown the field. The Scrum methodology moves a projectforward by improving communication between teammembers and breaking the work into a series of “sprints”[8]. A sprint should last between one and four weeks [8].All development sprints should be kept to less than thirtydays. Scrum focuses more on management of thedevelopment process than software coding techniques [9].Like XP, Scrum was designed to work with smallteams of ten or less members, however Scrum is amethodology that can be used effectively on both smalland large projects. Individual teams can use the Scrumtechniques on small or medium projects. Large projectscan be broken into subprojects and a Scrum teamassigned to each subproject. The communication andpriority management negotiation between the subprojectteams can be managed with standard Scrum techniques.C. Crystal MethodsCrystal Methods is an agile SDM based on thepremise that people impact software developmentprojects more than tools or processes [5]. CrystalMethods is a toolkit or collection of methodologyelements that organizations combine into appropriatemethodologies to suit individual projects. Large projectsand projects that impact public safety require moremethodology elements than small non-critical projects.With Crystal Methods, organizations only create and useas large a methodology as their project and businessneeds demand.According to Highsmith [5], the shade of CrystalMethods, or the amount of methodology elements used ina development project is determined by three factors.The first factor is the amount of communicationnecessary between the members of the developmentteam. This factor is affected by the physical location ofdevelopment team members, the office layout, and thepersonalities of the team members. The second factor isthe presence of life-threatening implications ifundiscovered software defects are present in the softwarewhen it is released. The third factor is the presence ofcorporate priorities that complicate the developmentprocess. 2008 ACADEMY PUBLISHERJOURNAL OF SOFTWARE, VOL. 3, NO. 4, APRIL 2008D. Feature Driven DevelopmentThe FDD methodology was developed for a bankproject in Singapore [10]. The bank’s developmentproject required an iterative development process thatwas both easy to use and provided accurate progressreporting for management. FDD was developed by Coadand DeLuca to meet both these needs.FDD is a five step process that does not requireextensive training for a development team to use it [10].The first three steps are: develop an overall model of thedesired application, develop a list of the desired features,and prioritize that list into an implementation plan. Thefourth and fifth steps are where the development iterationoccurs.Each development iteration produces adeliverable for the customer. As features are developedand released, the feature list is reprioritized to keep thedevelopment team working on the highest priorityfeatures with the most value to the business customer.FDD can incorporate agile development techniquesfrom other methodologies. For example, FDD worksvery well with the XP practices of pair programming anddaily standup meetings. The iterative fourth and fifthsteps of FDD can also be time boxed to help manage thedevelopment process [10]. Time boxing enables thecustomers to maintain better control of the developmentpriorities and determination of which functionality getsdeveloped.E. WISDOMThe Whitewater Interactive System Developmentwith Object modules (WISDOM) is another agile SDM.WISDOM was developed between 1997 and 1999 for useat small companies [11]. Small companies frequentlyhave different business requirements than largecompanies and may not have the large financial resourcesnecessary to fund a large software development project.WISDOM was designed to match the needs of smallcompanies by utilizing an iterative process of refining aprototype [12].WISDOM has no documentationrequirements outside of the use of Unified MarkupLanguage (UML) to specify the software architecture.F. Traditional Software Development MethodologiesTraditional methodologies such as SDM-70 orMethod-1 were developed before current computingtechnologies such as the Internet, XML, wirelessnetworking, or ubiquitous computing were in existence.Traditional methodologies were both innovative andeffective within the context of existing technologies andrelatively static business requirements.Traditionalmethodologies require extensive documentation, freezingor locking in business requirements during the entiredevelopment process, and require changes to existingsoftware products and documentation produced prior towhen a business requirement changes [2].The factors that impact implementing a traditionalSDM were researched by Roberts, Gibson, Fields, andRanier in 1998 [13]. This early implementation studyfound that having a complete organizational transitionplan for a new SDM, management involvement andcommitment, using models, and providing access to

JOURNAL OF SOFTWARE, VOL. 3, NO. 4, APRIL 2008external resources all impacted the implementation oftraditional SDMs. The Roberts study became a seminalwork that served as the inspiration for this researchproject.II. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS REVIEWThe research survey instrument was designed tocollect data that would answer research questionsconnected to eight hypotheses. The first five hypotheseswere drawn from the earlier Roberts study on traditionalmethodology implementation with the remaining threehypotheses drawn from a literature review. The eightresearch hypotheses were;H1: Training on the use of an agile SDM will have asignificant impact on implementing that methodology.H2: Active management involvement and support willhave a significant impact on a methodologyimplementation.H3: Having a compete methodology implementationstrategy will significantly impact implementing thatmethodology.H4: Selecting an agile SDM that utilizes models andtemplates will significantly impact the implementation ofthat agile SDM.H5: Providing the development team access to externalresources such as off-site training sessions, journals,consultants, books and online resources will have asignificant impact on agile methodology implementation.H6: Developing software for Internet or intranetapplications as opposed to traditional computingplatforms (mainframe, midrange, PC) will have asignificant impact on agile methodology implementation.H7: The size of the corporation or software developmentteam will have a significant impact on agile SDMimplementation.H8: Collocating the development team will have asignificant impact on agile methodology implementation.III. RESEARCH METHODOLOGYA survey instrument was developed to collectinformation on the eight research hypotheses regardingagile SDM implementations. The questions in the surveyinstrument came from the research hypotheses drawnfrom the Roberts et al. study and the literature review.The survey instrument was reviewed by a panel of peersfor readability and then by a panel of agile SDM expertsfor content validity. The survey instrument was placedonline for six weeks.The survey instrument was designed to be adaptive sothe questions presented to each respondent weredetermined by their answers to the initial series ofquestions that inquired about the respondent’s experiencewith methodology implementation. For example, XPusers were presented with questions about implementingand using XP as opposed to Scrum users who were askedquestions about implementing and using Scrum.Obtaining relevant response information on agilemethodology implementations required identifying apopulation of software developers with SDM experience. 2008 ACADEMY PUBLISHER33This population was found in the Software EngineeringInstitute’s Software Process Improvement Network(SPIN). SPIN consists of local chapters of individualswho are dedicated to improving the processes used todevelop software [14]. An invitation to complete thisresearch survey with a hyperlink to the survey was sentvia e-mail to the presidents of all domestic andinternational SPIN chapters and a small number ofsimilar organizations. The chapter presidents were askedto complete the survey and also forward the invitation toall of their members. The survey was also sent to authorswho had published articles on agile SDMimplementation.IV SURVEY RESULTSA total of 112 survey responses was received.Incorrect e-mail addresses caused 23 of the survey emails to be rejected. Six domestic SPIN chapterpresidents agreed to forward survey invitations to acombined membership of 1,803 software professionalsinterested in software development. Survey invitationswere also sent to 143 authors who had published books orarticles on agile SDM implementation or usage. Therewere 58 incorrect addresses for the authors that causedtheir invitations to be rejected. There were 112 surveyresponses received from the 1,946 individuals whoreceived an invitation to participate in the survey for areturn rate of 5.76%. No incentives were offered tocomplete and submit the lengthy 66 question surveyinstrument. The survey instrument was placed online forsix weeks.This survey research had a low response rate of5.76%. A low response rate limits the applicability of theresults to the larger population. Additional researchshould be conducted with a different research sample orwith modifications to the research methodology thatincrease the response rate. This may be accomplishedwith a shorter survey instrument or survey completionincentives.Agile methodology users provided 71 of theresponses. More than third (26) of those organizationsactively use XP. Responses were received from agilemethodology users, traditional methodology users, andorganizations that do not use any form of methodology todetermine the effectiveness and benefits received fromimplementing agile methodologies.Scrum wasimplemented at eight of the responding organizations,Feature Driven Development at four, Dynamic SystemDevelopment Methodology at three, Adaptive SoftwareDevelopment at one, and 34 organizations developedtheir own agile SDM.Ten of these homegrownmethodologies were built on a foundation of XPpractices.A. Respondent DemographicsThe responses came from a diverse group of welleducated and experienced IT professionals.Theindividuals that responded to the survey had an averageof 14.02 years of professional experience.Theseindividuals had a wide variety of job roles within their

34JOURNAL OF SOFTWARE, VOL. 3, NO. 4, APRIL 2008organizations. The respondent job roles are contained inTable 1. The respondents came from a variety ofindustries with the majority coming from IT or consultingfirms. Table 2 lists the industry affiliations of therespondents. Table 3 lists the education levels of thesurvey respondents.Table 1.Respondent job rolesJob RoleEntireSampleDeveloper34IT Management20IT Senior Management11Corporate Management13Business Partner/Use2Other11No answer21Total112AgileUsers221710717771Table 2.Industry No Answer18Total112AgileUsers11222392211011771Table 3.Respondent education levelsHighest level of educationEntirecompletedSampleHigh School6Trade School02-year degree24-year degree37Graduate degree49No answer21Total112AgileUsers2022536771B. Methodology TrainingThe survey results established a significant correlationbetween successful methodology implementation andreceiving training on the methodology. A correlationbetween two variables is a statistical measurement oftheir tendency to increase or decrease with each other. Astatistical correlation is considered significant if it is 2008 ACADEMY PUBLISHERunlikely to have occurred by chance. Organizations thatprovided methodology training to their developmentteams were more likely to have a successfulimplementation of that methodology than organizationsthat did not provide training. This is a common senseresult that was predicted in the literature search. Trainingin a methodology enables an organization to developexpertise and be better prepared to implement themethodology.C. Management Support and InvolvementThere was a significant correlation betweenmethodology implementation success and managementsupport and involvement. This positive correlation wasboth predicted in the literature and intuitively obvious.Management involvement and support should improvethe success of virtually any business project.D. Methodology Implementation StrategiesThere was not a significant correlation betweendeveloping a complete plan for implementing an agilemethodology and the successful implementation of thatmethodology. The lack of a correlation may be explainedby the adaptable and flexible nature of agilemethodologies. One of the survey respondents explainedthis as “Having a complete and workable plan in advanceis contrary to the spirit of XP. We started with a roughidea of what we needed and improved it every week.”E. The Use of Models and TemplatesThere was no significant correlation between agilemethodology implementation success and the use ofmodels or templates. A correlation existed for traditionalmethodologies but did not exist with agile methodologies.The underlying reason is likely that agile methodologiesdo not rely heavily on documentation templates the waythat traditional methodologies do.F. Access to External ResourcesThere was a significant positive relationship betweenaccess to outside resources and the successfulimplementation of an agile SDM. The survey instrumentcollected data on external resources such as books,journals, consultants, and attendance at methodology usergroups and conferences.This correlation was predicted by the literature andmakes common sense. Allocating resources to almostany IT project will increase the likelihood that the projectwill be successful.Allocating resources such asconsultants, books, and journals will increase thedevelopment team’s knowledge of the methodology andhow to exploit that methodology’s features to bringbenefits to the organization.G. Internet/Intranet Software DevelopmentThe literature indicated that there were differencesbetween developing software for Internet or intranetusage and traditional computing platforms. The researchfound that there was no significant correlation betweentraditional software development and developingsoftware for Internet or intranet-based applications. This

JOURNAL OF SOFTWARE, VOL. 3, NO. 4, APRIL 2008result was not expected as Internet and intranetapplications both require short development schedulesand frequently changing business requirements [15].H. Company and Team SizeThere was no significant correlation betweenimplementation success and the size of the d

agile software development methodologies (SDMs) utilizing iterative development, prototyping, templates, and minimal documentation requirements. This research project investigated agile SDM implementation using an online survey sent to software development practitioners worldwide. This survey data was used to identify factors related to agile SDM implementation. The factors that significantly .

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