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Charting Coordination Needs in Large-Scale Agile Organisationswith Boundary Objects and Methodological Islands

by   Rashidah Kasauli, et al.
Chalmers University of Technology
Göteborgs universitet

Large-scale system development companies are increasingly adopting agile methods. While this adoption may improve lead-times, such companies need to balance two trade-offs: (i) the need to have a uniform, consistent development method on system level with the need for specialised methods for teams in different disciplines(e.g., hardware, software, mechanics, sales, support); (ii) the need for comprehensive documentation on system level with the need to have lightweight documentation enabling iterative and agile work. With specialised methods for teams, isolated teams work within larger ecosystems of plan-driven culture, i.e., teams become agile "islands". At the boundaries, these teams share knowledge which needs to be managed well for a correct system to be developed. While it is useful to support diverse and specialised methods, it is important to understand which islands are repeatedly encountered, the reasons or factors triggering their existence, and how best to handle coordination between them. Based on a multiple case study, this work presents a catalogue of islands and the boundary objects between them. We believe this work will be beneficial to practitioners aiming to understand their ecosystems and researchers addressing communication and coordination challenges in large-scale development.


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