Team Performance in Agile Development Teams: Findings from 18 Focus Groups

Torgeir Dingsøyr and Yngve Lindsjørn

Research Paper


How to make teams perform well is increasingly important in software development, as agile development methods prescribe development in small teams. Team performance has been studied in a number of research fields, and there are many models of what enables team performance. A central question then is how relevant these models are for agile development teams. This article investigates the following research question: What factors do agile software practitioners perceive to influence effective teamwork, through a focus group study with 92 participants in 18 groups. The main findings are that what agile practitioners perceive foster and hinder team performance seems to comply well with what is stated in an existing research-based model. However, agile practitioners seem to place insufficient focus on backup behaviour. Agile practitioners place much emphasis on physical and technical infrastructure of the development team as enablers of team performance.


Torgeir Dingsoyr

Dr. Torgeir Dingsøyr works with software process improvement and knowledge management projects as a senior scientist at SINTEF Information and Communication Technology. He has published more than 60 refereed papers in this field, including articles in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, IEEE Software, Communications of the ACM, Information and Software Technology and Empirical Software Engineering. In particular, he has focused on agile software development through a number of case studies, co-authoring of a systematic review of empirical studies, co-editing of the book “Agile Software Development: Current Research and Future Directions” and co-edited the special issue on Agile Methods of the Journal of Systems and Software. He wrote his doctoral thesis on “Knowledge Management in Medium-Sized Software Consulting Companies” at the Department of Computer and Information Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where he is now Adjunct Associate Professor.

SINTEF, NO-7465 Trondheim, Norway,

Yngve Lindsjørn

Yngve Lindsjørn has long experience from research, education and management within ICT, both in public and private sector. He is now a research scientist at the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo. He works with software process improvement, with focus on effective teamwork in agile software teams. He is currently leading a research project on teamwork in software teams, with the University of Oslo, SINTEF and four software companies, funded by the Research Council of Norway.

University of Oslo, Norway,