The use of agile systems development methodologies in the telecommunication industry in South Africa
Mazengera, Bruce Mwai Analinafe
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Over the last decade, systems development professionals have recognised the need to use agile systems development methodologies (ASDMs) in the telecommunication industry. This is partly due to the barriers identified by Mansurov (2000) which suggest that the use of agile methodologies in the telecommunication industry would reduce the ratio of time-to-market. In the South African context, the industry has cemented its position as a major driving force of the economy as a whole. The industry's level of competitiveness is in part informed by the information technology practices that it follows, and hence systems development is deemed to be a crucial and value-adding component of the environment. This research therefore aims to investigate the systems development practices currently being used in the telecommunication industry of South Africa, as well as the perceived sentiments towards the use of ASDMs. The investigation into the level of applicability of ASDMs in the industry is largely informed by literature from agile proponents which suggest that ASDMs are highly suitable to projects where the user requirements continuously change. In order to identify the current SD practices followed and the sentiments towards ASDMs in the telecommunication industry, the interpretive paradigm was used. Three prominent organisations were identified and case studies were conducted at each of these companies. The data collection method used was a combination of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, and the data analysis tools were ATLAS.ti for the semi-structured interviews and SPSS for the questionnaires. Thereafter, the data collected was analysed by using the cross-case analysis method. The results indicated that the incumbent companies in the telecommunication industry used an SDM that followed the waterfall approach, and the use of ASDMs was informed by a multitude of factors.