An interpretive analysis of systems development methodology adaptation in South Africa
Pieterse, Petronella Johanna
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According to recent surveys on the use of systems development methodologies, many organizations claim that they are adapting systems development methodologies (Hardy et al. 1995; Russo et al. 1996; Fitzgerald, 1998). The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the adaptation of systems development methodologies in South Africa. This problem was investigated by addressing the following research questions: • What are the perceptions of system developers regarding systems development methodologies? • Why do system developers adapt system development methodologies? • How do they adapt the methodologies? • Is there a difference in the quality of the systems which are developed with these adapted systems development methodologies opposed to those systems which are developed according to a specific formalised methodology? In this dissertation, interpretive case studies have been used to add to the researcher's knowledge concerning how and why systems development methodologies in South Africa are adapted. Qualitative interviewing was used as a data collection method. All interviews were recorded and transcribed. The next step was to analyse the transcribed data. In this study, content analysis with cross-case analysis was used. The findings obtained were confirmed by making use of triangulation and member checking. The results indicated that although the use of systems development methodologies is mandatory in organizations, it is not enforced by senior employees. Organizations use multiple systems development methodologies. Systems development methodologies are adapted due to several reasons, i.e. financial gains that is obtained, the lack of knowledge, time limitations, the fact that methodologies are not universally applicable, etc. Systems development methodologies are statically and dynamically adapted by adding and removing steps. The combination of methodologies and switching between methodologies also occur. The results indicate that developers realize that formal systems development methodologies produce systems of a higher quality. However, because it is so time-consuming, they are prepared to accept a lower quality system in order to gain a faster delivery time.