The contingent use of agile systems development methodologies
Kalubila, Muriel Chibwe
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Over the years, organizations have seen fit to adopt the use of agile systems development methodologies (ASDMs) because of the benefits that they offer, such as flexibility and the ability to deliver products faster, in constantly changing environments. When ASDMs are used in projects, they are made to fit or be suitable for a project's unique aspects, such as its size, requirements, scope and outcomes. This is known as the contingent use of ASDMs. Little is known about the contingent use of ASDMs in South African organizations. It is not known whether it is happening, its procedure and its success. It is important to know this because quality and control need to be maintained in systems produced. There is always a danger that the benefits of using a system development methodology (SDM) would be lost if ASDMs are highly adapted. This led to an investigation of three organizations in South Africa that use contingent ASDMs. With the help of semi-structured interviews, focus groups and documents, data was collected that was analysed, using the tool ATLAS.ti, and the analysis methods content and cross-case analysis. It was found that some South African organizations in the telecommunications, consulting, technological, outsourcing and agricultural sectors use ASDMs in combination with the still popular waterfall SDM. Compatibility between the SDM and the project is a factor in some organizations. Scrum was cited to be the ASDM that was used in some of the organizations interviewed due to its maturity. They make ASDMs contingent by using aspects in the methods, such as Scrum, that are useful for their unique projects. These aspects are in some cases combined with other SDMs to form hybrid methodologies. Some organizations use criteria, such as project needs, outcomes, size and complexity to make ASDMs contingent. Some organizations have measures and facilities in place to manage, monitor, control and document the process used to make ASDMs contingent. They make use of contingent ASDMs as they have experienced more success with them and they will continue to do so.