The Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation provides critical perspectives on topics relevant to Information Systems Evaluation, with an emphasis on the organisational and management implications
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Journal Article

The Dilution of Effort in Self‑Evaluating Development Teams: Agile Loafing  pp175-186

John McAvoy, Tom Butler

© Feb 2010 Volume 12 Issue 2, Editor: Shaun Pather, pp129 - 198

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Abstract

Attempts to resolve the problems in software development have concentrated on the tools and methodologies used, despite an acceptance by many that it is a sociological problem. An example of this is the procedures and processes surrounding evaluations within projects, yet ultimately it depends on individuals more than process. This paper examines one of the sociological factors inherent in a software development team to determine its impact on evaluation within a project. Social loafing occurs where individual members of a team demonstrate a tendency not to work as hard as they could or should. This "slacking off" occurs because the team provides a degree of anonymity – the individual feels their lack of work will be hidden from evaluation within the overall output of the team. Some authors purport that Agile Software development teams have low incidences of social loafing (though these are opinions rather than research findings); the contrary can also be argued. An examination of the philosophy behind Agile Software Development, demonstrated by the Agile Manifesto, highlighted the possibility of occurrences of social loafing brought about by the Agile values. Agile espouses the importance of cohesive teams, the empowerment of these teams, and the collective ownership and self‑ evaluation of work by the team. These values map onto factors which are described as affecting social loafing. An investigation of two teams over an eight month period examined if the Agile values could lead to incidences of social loafing, specifically when their work is being evaluated The investigation determined that the opposite was actually the case. This paper then goes on to determine why the findings go against the initial hypothesis and to show the impact this can have on those evaluating software development projects.

 

Keywords: teams, agile software development, social loafing, self-evaluation, participant observation, sociological factors

 

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Journal Article

Sources of Interruptions Experienced During a Scrum Sprint  pp3-18

Maureen Tanner, Angela Mackinnon

© Jul 2015 Volume 18 Issue 1, Editor: Shaun Pather, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

Abstract: Scrum, a form of agile project management methodology, comes with many benefits derived from the iterative form of software development. Various organisations within South Africa have implemented Scrum within their development teams and are fast receiving positive benefits from it. While Scrum, in many aspects of the methodology, is highly effective and successful within different organisations, there are always going to be pitfalls and negative attributes associated with the adoption and use of a new methodology. The purpose of this research is to determine the factors leading to interruptions in the middle of a sprint while using Scrum. Case studies were conducted which included 3 companies in Johannesburg and Cape Town that have implemented S crum. In particular, data was collected through the following methods: 12 face‑to‑face, one‑on‑one interviews with participating Scrum team members; and 1 group discussion with 8 participating Scrum team members. After analysis, five theoretical statemen ts were formulated pertaining to: poorly understood and defined objectives from clients, managements lack of understanding of Scrum processes, high workload, ad‑hoc requests mid‑sprint, and low interdepartmental communication. Results from this study rev eal the need to conduct possible future research on: ways to prevent these forms of sprint interruption from having negative effects on the Scrum team and the project; and the effect that these interruptions have on the relevant stakeholders involved. The results of the study thus provide managers with the opportunity to take a deeper look into the sources of their Scrum problems and provide them with an understanding as to how they may prevent these interruptions from causing long term, negative effects on the project and the team.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Scrum, Sprint, Sources of Interruptions, agile software development, Scrum Teams

 

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Journal Article

Investigating the Characteristics Needed by Scrum Team Members to Successfully Transfer Tacit Knowledge During Agile Software Projects  pp36-54

Deon Takpuie, Maureen Tanner

© Mar 2016 Volume 19 Issue 1, Editor: Shaun Pather, pp1 - 82

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Abstract

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to propose a theoretical model describing what makes Scrum team members successful at transferring knowledge. Twelve semi‑structured interviews were conducted at two Scrum companies in Cape Town, South Africa. Partic ipants interviewed ranged from project managers and Scrum masters to software developers, business analyst and testers. The interviews were all transcribed, then analysed using thematic analysis. Past studies have already identified factors (i.e. charact eristics that enable people to transfer knowledge) that are known to impact knowledge transfer. This study further extends the body of knowledge by revealing how these existing factors are interrelated while impacting knowledge transfer. In addition, new factors (i.e. empathy and articulation skills of the source) are proposed, which were found to further impact knowledge transfer in Scrum teams. The results have shown that recipients perceive team members who are able to successfully transfer knowledg e as having the following characteristics: motivation, capability, credibility, empathy, articulate and ability to communicate enough. The contribution of this study to practice is a list of team member characteristics, that HR managers could foster throu gh appropriate training, to help improve the knowledge transfer within Scrum teams. This paper offers new contributions and a theoretical model to the under researched area of knowledge transfer within Scrum teams.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Agile software development, scrum, motivation, tacit knowledge, knowledge transfer, teams

 

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