Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

The Role of Social Agile Practices for Direct and Indirect Communication in Information Systems Development Teams

Hummel, Markus
Rosenkranz, Christoph
Volume: 36
Number: 15
Pages: 273 - 300
Month: February
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2015
Keywords: Agile Information Systems Development; Agile Practices; Communication; Case Study

Methods for Agile information systems development (ISD) are widely accepted in industry. One key difference in comparison to traditional, plan-driven ISD approaches is that Agile ISD teams rely heavily on direct, informal face-to-face communication instead of indirect and formal documents, models, and plans. While the importance of communication in Agile ISD is generally acknowledged, empirical studies investigating this phenomenon are scarce. We empirically open up the “black box” of the Agile ISD process to enhance the knowledge about the communication mechanisms of Agile ISD teams. We conducted a case study at two medium-sized ISD companies. As our primary data collection technique, we carried out semi-structured interviews, which we complemented with observations and, in one case, a survey. Our study’s main contribution is a set of so-called social Agile practices that positively impact the direct communication of team members. Our data suggests including the Agile practices co-located office space, daily stand-up meeting, iteration planning meeting, pair programming, sprint retrospective, and sprint review in this set. Furthermore, we investigate the role of more formal, indirect communication in Agile ISD projects. We highlight areas in which formal documents remain important so that a trade-off between indirect and direct communication is necessary.