Impact of Small-scale Agile Development Projects on Customer Satisfaction in a Software as a Service Organization

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Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Software and Service Engineering
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences
95 +7
Software companies are nowadays adopting the Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model. In the SaaS delivery model, two important sources of revenue are retaining existing customers, aka customer retention, and gaining more customers via a positive ‘word of mouth’. Customer satisfaction plays a vital role in customer retention. Customer satisfaction can be achieved by providing a service that creates value for the customer and this eventually leads the company to establish a loyal relationship with the customer. To achieve customer satisfaction, SaaS companies are continuously striving to implement practices that will help them in delivering quality services to their customers. This thesis addresses the research problem “How can SaaS companies execute small-scale agile development projects in order to maximize customer satisfaction?” To answer the research problem we used an action research method for a Finnish company operating on the SaaS delivery model. The data collected as a part of the empirical study was later analyzed using the Grounded Theory. In our literature review, we focused on understanding the key concepts such as the SaaS delivery model, customer satisfaction, common challenges that agile development projects face, and good practices that can be used to eliminate challenges. The focus of the empirical study was to understand the current state of small-scale agile development projects at the case company, the impact these projects have on customer satisfaction, and the challenges that developers face when working on such projects. Five key challenges uncovered during the research were delayed project delivery, poor communication between the development team, and an undefined process for project delivery. Based on the literature review and the results of the empirical study this thesis suggests good practices that development teams can use in order to achieve maximum customer satisfaction. A few of the good practices suggested by this thesis are such as creating user stories, implementing pair programming, and providing guidelines to help developers steer their projects towards completion. In conclusion, developers should work, along with the customer, on eliciting requirements towards the beginning of the project by creating user stories and gain a deeper understanding of the customer requirements. As per existing literature collaboration with the customer to create user stories will eventually result in fewer post-development changes requested by the customer and hence maximizing customer satisfaction.
Kauppinen, Marjo
Thesis advisor
Kivi, Ville
agile development, software as a service, customer satisfaction, pair programming, user stories
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