Date of Award

Fall 12-17-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)

Department

Business

First Advisor

Richard Baskerville

Second Advisor

Lars Mathiassen

Third Advisor

Balasubramaniam Ramesh

Abstract

Agile methodologies have become a popular and widely accepted method for managing software development. Since the inception of the Agile Manifesto over ten years ago, agile development techniques have superseded waterfall methods in many, if not most, software development organizations. Despite its apparent success, many companies have struggled with the adoption and implementation of agile, and exactly what level of adoption provides optimum agility. Agility is commonly held in the literature to be constructed of elements external to a company or project but may in fact be composed of both external and internal elements. The exact relationship of the adoption of agile development techniques and their relationship to the actual agility of a business remain unclear. A primary contributor to this uncertainty is the somewhat amorphous definition of agile itself. In academic literature, the concept is still relatively young and loosely defined. In practice, organizations have largely opted for a hybrid approach to agile, mixing its concepts and methods with existing Stage Gate or waterfall methodologies. This has made the management of agile even more complex. Crucially, there is no definition or criterion available to determine the appropriate mix of agile and waterfall processes in an embedded software development context nor is there a method to determine the impact of one against the other. These issues beg the question: how do organizations manage agility? This interpretive case study provides an empirical account of how stakeholders manage both market and process agility in an embedded systems context via a hybrid agility implementation and product genesis. As a result, we provide the notion of agile vorticity, as the point at which market and process agility collide to produce business momentum at a specific point of innovation within the agile business vortex.

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