Adopting Agile Methods in Large-scale Organizations using Scaling Frameworks

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Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Science | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2022-11-18
Date
2022
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
108 + app. 142
Series
Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL THESES, 155/2022
Abstract
Agile methods were originally developed for small and co-located teams. The popularity and success of agile methods in small teams led to growing interest on agile adoption across large organizations as well. However, there are several challenges while adopting agile to large, e.g., coordination between large number of teams and integration of other nondevelopment units e.g., HR, and marketing. Scaling frameworks, e.g. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and Large ScaleScrum (LeSS) to support scaling agile to large have become popular in the recent past. Despite of popularity, there is very little scientific research on usage of the scaling frameworks. The primary goal of the thesis is to investigate the adoption and usage of scaling frameworks in practice. The goal is divided into two parts: a) scaling frameworks usage and adoption and b) SAFe usage and adoption. In the first part, we conducted two surveys. The first survey aimed to explore why the frameworks were developed, and how they were evolved, their benefits and challenges directly from the practitioners who developed them. Later, in second survey, we collected data from 204 software practitioners using scaling frameworks to understand the reasons, expected benefits and satisfaction of using them. In the second part, we conducted a multivocal literature review (MLR) due to the lack of scientific evidence on SAFe, to understand the benefits and challenges of SAFe adoption. Next, we conducted an indepth case study to explore the reasons, transformation process, benefits and challenges of SAFe. To get a wider overview of the benefits and challenges of SAFe we conducted a survey, to explore the benefits and challenges of SAFe. Our results for the first part show that majority of the frameworks were designed to improve agility, collaboration, coordination,and synchronization between agile teams. The most common reasons for their adoption were to scale more people and deal with existing challenges and pain points. The benefits of adopting these frameworks were categorized intoto business, product, organizational, and culture and the challenges were categorized to implementation, organizational,and scope. Our results for the second part show that reasons for SAFe adoption are related to organizational, business,and framework-specific. SAFe transformation activities typically map with the SAFe roadmap activities. The most common benefits of SAFe adoption are improved transparency, collaboration and faster time to market. The most significant challenges of SAFe adoption are identifying value streams and forming ARTs, change resistance, and inculcating an agile mindset. More in-depth research on scaling frameworks is needed to establish the effectiveness oftheir usage in practice. We encourage researchers to conduct in-depth case studies on their usage and adoption.
Description
Supervising professor
Lassenius, Casper, Prof., Aalto University, Department of Computer Science, Finland
Thesis advisor
Paasivaara, Maria, Prof., Aalto University, Finland
Keywords
agile methods, organizations, team work
Other note
Parts
  • [Publication 1]: Ömer Uludag, Abheeshta Putta, Maria Paasivaara, Florian Mattes: Evolution of the Agile Scaling Frameworks. Proceedings of International Conference on Agile Software Development (XP), 2021, pp. 123-139.
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-78098-2_8 View at publisher
  • [Publication 2]: Abheeshta Putta, Ömer Uludag, Shun-Long Hong, Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius: Why Do Organizations Adopt Agile Scaling Frameworks?— A Survey of Practitioners. Proceedings of the 15th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM), 2021, Article No.: 26, Pages 1–12.
    Full text in Acris/Aaltodoc: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:aalto-202201131191
    DOI: 10.1145/3475716.3475788 View at publisher
  • [Publication 3]: Abheeshta Putta, Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius: Benefits and Challenges of Adopting the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): Preliminary Results from a Multi-vocal Literature Review Proceedings of International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement (PROFES), 2018, pp. 334-351.
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-78098-2_11 View at publisher
  • [Publication 4]: Abheeshta Putta, Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius: How are Agile Release Trains Formed in Practice? A Case study in a Large Financial Corporation Proceedings of International Conference on Agile Software Development (XP), 2019, pp. 154-170.
    Full text in Acris/Aaltodoc: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:aalto-201906203865
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-19034-7_10 View at publisher
  • [Publication 5]: Abheeshta Putta, Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius: SAFe Transformation in a Large Financial Corporation. Under Revision in Empirical Software Engineering Journal
  • [Publication 6]: Abheeshta Putta, Ömer Uludag, Maria Paasivaara, Shun-Long Hong: Benefits and Challenges of Adopting SAFe-An Empirical Survey. Proceedings of International Conference on Agile Software Development (XP), 2021, pp. 172-187.
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-78098-2_11 View at publisher
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