Key Challenges of improving agile teamwork

Nils Brede Moe

Research Paper


Inspect and adapt is essential to succeed with agile software development. Our objective was to understand the challenges software process improvement in agile software development teams. We designed a multiple case study consisting of five projects in three software product companies that applied Scrum. We collected data in semi-structured interviews. We found that long-term quality was often in conflict with short-term progress, specialization hinders self-management, process related problems are difficult to solve and there are major organizational barriers to self-management. The main conclusion drawn from this work is that software process improvement challenges in agile software development are the problems of increasing redundancy to create conditions for the team to self-manage, to learn how to learn, and to improving agile software development as a large long-term organizational change project.



Dr. Nils Brede Moe works with software process improvement, agile software development and global software development as a senior scientist at SINTEF Information and Communication Technology. His research interests are related to organizational, socio-technical and global/distributed aspects. His main publications in the field of agile software development include several longitudinal studies on self-management and teamwork and co-editing of the books “Agile Software Development: Current Research and Future Directions” and “Agility Across Time and Space: Implementing Agile Methods in Global Software Projects.” Moe was also a co-organizing chair of the 11th International Conference on Agile Software Development (XP2010) and co-producer of the research at work stage at Agile2011 and Agile India 2012. He wrote his thesis for the degree of doctor philosophiae on “From Improving Processes to Improving Practice – Software Process Improvement in Transition from Plan-driven to Change-driven Development.”

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