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Making Software Teams Effective

How Agile Practices Lead to Project Success Through Teamwork Mechanisms

Chaehan So

How does good teamwork emerge?
Can we control mechanisms of teamwork?
The author has analyzed these questions in a study involving 227 participants of 55 software development teams. First, he empirically confirmed his teamwork model based on innovation research, goal setting and control theory. Second, he measured the impact of a wide selection of agile practices on these teamwork mechanisms. Third, he explained these impacts based on a thorough review of current psychological research.
This book is intended for people working in agile contexts as they will gain insight into the complexity of how «good teamwork» emerges. This insight on team dynamics may also prove valuable for upper management for calibrating agile practices and «soft factors», thus increasing the effectiveness of software teams.

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1 Introduction 1

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Chapter 1 Introduction In 1994, the bomb exploded. It was a rather short bomb, only eight pages in length, and the worst of all, not even scientific. However, the detonation drew craters into the software industry eradicating broad belief in established meth- odology, unfolding to increasing levels of shock, anger, ridicule and – acknowl- edgment. It was acknowledgment of a painful truth unspoken before the bomb detonated. What kind of bomb was it? The bomb was the so-called CHAOS Report launched by a commercial re- search institute (Standish Group International, 1994) specializing in IT perfor- mance. The detonation was triggered by the statement that the majority of IT projects was a failure. Despite the devastating number that there was a 83.8% failure rate of all IT projects in terms of meeting both budget and time goals, and despite the heavily criticized methodology applied, the most surprising out- come was the enormous and undeniable impact on the discussion of prevalent software development methodology, i.e. the waterfall model and V-model. The latter are referred to as plan-driven methods in the sense that requirements anal- ysis fleshes out into scope definition determining the project plan, which is not to be changed over the course of the project. Although this methodology is seen appropriate for contexts where scope does not change over time, the intensi- fied discussion which was triggered after the first CHAOS report indicated that times had changed, and that a majority of projects in the field had encountered severe problems with the...

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