Taming the Big Animal - Agile Intervention in a Large Organization

I made an academic paper about our first larger scale agile experiment available. You can find it via this link (pdf), and it can be found also from the sidebar. Also see the analysis that started this experiment.

Abstract— New Product Development (NPD) today is mainly
managed with plan-driven, relay race type, processes. Today’s
dynamic markets and new technology used in NPD result in a
possibility of benefiting from more adaptive, rugby style,
methods. In the software community methods applying this
approach are commonly called agile methods. In this study I
present experiences from a bottom-up initiative to apply agile
methods for embedded system development in a large
organization using the Stage-Gate® project management
framework. The purpose of the study was to find out whether
agile methods have a chance and how much this type of
organization could benefit from agile methods. Study supported
the earlier research showing that implementing incrementally
some agile practices the project organization was able to improve
the team spirit, motivation level, and additionally to increase
productivity. The affect of agile practices to the Stage-Gate®
framework was minimal. Through wider buy-in and
commitment, the agile development increments could be
synchronized seamlessly to the Stage-Gate® milestones. However
as described earlier in literature, top-down commitment and
changes in organization culture are needed in order to succeed in
process change. The philosophy of agile development is quite
contrary to so called traditional NPD approaches. These changes
in organization culture are also needed in order to fully harness
the power of agile development.

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