Information Systems and e-Business Management

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 693–731 | Cite as

Agile business process development: why, how and when—applying Nonaka’s theory of knowledge transformation to business process development

  • Ilia BiderEmail author
  • Amin Jalali
Original Article


The traditional way of business process development is via creating a detailed model of a business process in question, acquiring an IT-system to support it, and then implementing it in the organizational practice. Acquiring a system can be done via designing and manufacturing it by the business itself, or via commissioning it to somebody else. Alternatively, a generic system can be bought and configured according to the business process model created. The traditional approach has a number of risks that become visible only during the latest phase of introducing the system in the organizational practice, e.g., when it becomes clear that the system does not fit the business and/or people who work in it. These risks could be mitigated by using an agile approach to the development of business processes. In agile approach: (a) the phases of process modeling, IT-system design, and manufacturing are merged into one, and (b) instead of using one big cycle, a series of smaller development cycles is used. The paper discusses what is needed to implement the agile approach, and in which business situations the agile approach is the most appropriate. Examples of tools to support agile development are presented and analyzed. The results presented in the paper have been achieved based on the knowledge transformation perspective along the lines suggested by Nonaka in SECI model. The modification of this model has been used to understand the risks and requirements connected to a particular process development strategy.


Agile development Business process Knowledge transformation SECI model 



The authors are grateful to all members of our team without whose efforts this paper would have never been written. Special thanks to Tomas Andersson, Paul Johannesson, Erik Perjons, Rogier Svensson and Alexey Striy. The authors are also much in debt to the anonymous reviewers whose comments helped us to improve the structure and readability of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DSV - Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.IbisSoft ABStockholmSweden

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