Bridging the gap between research and agile practice: an evolutionary model

Abstract

There is wide acceptance in the software engineering field that industry and research can gain significantly from each other and there have been several initiatives to encourage collaboration between the two. However there are some often-quoted challenges in this kind of collaboration. For example, that the timescales of research and practice are incompatible, that research is not seen as relevant for practice, and that research demands a different kind of rigour than practice supports. These are complex challenges that are not always easy to overcome. Since the beginning of 2013 we have been using an approach designed to address some of these challenges and to bridge the gap between research and practice, specifically in the agile software development arena. So far we have collaborated successfully with three partners and have investigated three practitioner-driven challenges with agile. The model of collaboration that we adopted has evolved with the lessons learned in the first two collaborations and been modified for the third. In this paper we introduce the collaboration model, discuss how it addresses the collaboration challenges between research and practice and how it has evolved, and describe the lessons learned from our experience.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Abrahamsson P, Conboy K, Wang X (2009) Lots done, more to do: the current state of agile. Eur J Inf Syst 18:281–284

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Agerfalk P, Fitzgerald B (2006) Flexible and distributed software processes: old petunias in new bowls? Commun ACM 10(49):27–34

    Google Scholar 

  3. Arisholm E, Gallis H, Dyba T (2007) Evaluating pair programming with respect to system complexity and programmer expertise. IEEE Trans Softw Eng 33(2):65–86

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Avison DE, Lau F, Myers MD, Nielsen PA (1999) Action research. Commun ACM 42(1):94–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Baskerville R, Myers MD (2004) Special issue on action research in information systems: making is research relevant to practice—forward. MIS Quart 28(3):329–335

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Baskerville R, Pries-Heje J, Madsen S (2011) Post-agility: what follows a decade of agility? Information and software technology. 53(5):543–555. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0950584910001953. Accessed 30 June 2014

  7. Baskerville R, Wood-Harper T (1996) A critical perspective on action research as a method for information systems research. J Inf Tech 11(3):235–246

  8. Beck K (2000) Extreme programming explained: embrace change. Addison-Wesley, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  9. Checkland P, Holwell S (2007) Action research. In: Kock N (ed) Information systems action research. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

  10. Cockburn A (2004) Crystal clear: a human-powered methodology for small teams. Addison-Wesley, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  11. DSDM Consortium (2012) The DSDM agile project framework pocketbook. DSDM Consortium

  12. DSDM Consortium (2015) The DSDM UX pocketbook. DSDM Consortium

  13. Dingsøyr T, Dyba T, Abrahamsson P (2008) A preliminary roadmap for empirical research on agile software development. Agile 2008. IEEE Press, Toronto

    Google Scholar 

  14. Dingsøyr T, Nerur S, Balijepally V, Moe NB (2012) A decade of agile methodologies: towards explaining agile software development. J Syst Softw 85:1213–1221

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Dittrich Y, Rönkkö K, Eriksson J, Hansson C Lindeberg, Olle L (2007) Cooperative method development. Empir Softw Eng 13(3):231–260

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Doyle M, Williams L, Conh M, Rubin K (2014) Agile Software development in practice. In: Cantone G, Marchesi M (eds) XP, Springer, Switzerland, p 32–45, http://collaboration.csc.ncsu.edu/laurie/Papers/xp2014_submission_51.pdf. Accessed 13 Oct 2014

  17. Dybå T, Dingsøyr T (2008) Empirical studies of agile software development: a systematic review. Inf Softw Technol 50:833–859

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Erikson J, Lyytinen K, Siau K (2005) Agile modeling, agile software development, and extreme programming: the state of research. J Database Manag 16(4):88–100

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Gibbons M, Limoges C, Nowotony H, Schwartzman S, Scott P, Trow M (1994) The new production of know-ledge: the dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. Sage Publications, London

    Google Scholar 

  20. Gray D, Illes P, Watson S (2011) Spanning the HRD academic practitioner divide—bridging the gap through mode 2 Research. J Eur Ind Train 35(3):247–263

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Gregory P, Plonka L, Sharp H, Taylor KJ (2014) Bridging the gap between research and practice: the Agile Research Network. In: Proceedings of European conference on research methodology (ECRM), June, London

  22. Hanly S, Waite L, Meadows L, Leaton R (2006) Agile coaching in British telecom: making strawberry jam. In: Proceedings of agile 2006 conference

  23. Hartley J, Benington J (2006) Copy and paste, or graft and transplant? Knowledge sharing through inter-organizational networks. Public Money Manag 26(2):101–108

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Highsmith J (2002) Agile software development ecosystems. Addison Wesley Professional, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  25. Huff AS, Huff JO (2001) Re-focusing the business school agenda. Br J Manag 12:S49–S54

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Kieser A, Leiner L (2012) Collaborate with practitioners: but beaware of collaborative research. J Manag Inq 21:14–28

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Laanti M, Salo O, Abrahamsson P (2011) Agile methods rapidly replacing traditional methods at Nokia: a survey of opinions on agile transformation. Inf Softw Technol 53(3):276–290. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0950584910002119. Accessed 11 June 2014

  28. Lagerberg L, Tor S, Emanuelsson P, Sandahl K, Sthahl D (2013) The impact of agile principles and practices on large-scale software development projects: a multiple-case study of two projects at Ericsson. 2013 ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, p 348–356. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/lpdocs/epic03/wrapper.htm?arnumber=6681378. Accessed 27 May 2014

  29. Lamprecht SJ, van Rooyen G-J (2012) Models for technology research collaboration between industry and academia in South Africa. In: Proceedings of the 2012 software engineering colloquium

  30. Lockett N, Kerr R, Robinson S (2008) Multiple perspectives on the challenges for knowledge transfer between higher education insititutions and industry. Int Small Bus J 26:661–681

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. MacLean D, MacIntosh R, Grant S (2002) Mode 2 management research. Br J Manag 13:189–207

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Martin A (2009) The role of customers in extreme programming projects, PhD thesis at Victoria University of Wellington

  33. Mendes E, Al-Fakhri LB, Luxton-Reilly A (2004) Investigating pair-programming in a 2nd-year software development and design computer science course. ACM SIGCSE Bull 37(3):296–300

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Murphy B, Bird C, Nagappan N, Zimmermann T, Williams L, Begel A (2013) Have Agile techniques been the silver bullet for software development at Microsoft? In: 2013 ACM/IEEE international symposium on empirical software engineering and measurement, p 75–84. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/lpdocs/epic03/wrapper.htm?arnumber=6681340. Accessed 8 June 2014

  35. Parker LE (1992) Industry–University collaboration in developed and developing countries, the World Bank, september

  36. Perkmann M, Walsh K (2010) The two faces of collaboration: impacts of university industry relations on public research, industrial and corporate change 2009

  37. Pertuze J, Calder E, Greitzer E, Lucas W (2010) Best practices for industry-university collaboration. MITS Loan Manag Rev 51(4):83–90

    Google Scholar 

  38. Plonka L, Sharp H, Barroca L, Salah D, Gregory P, Taylor KJ (2014) Agile projects in a non-agile environment. http://agileresearchnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Nonagile_environment_WhitePaper.pdf. Accessed 10 Oct 2014

  39. Plonka L, Sharp H, van der Linden J, Dittrich Y (2015) Knowledge transfer in pair programming: an in-depth analysis. Int J Human-Comput Stud 73. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2014.09.001

  40. Rieger C (2008) Models for academic/industry partnerships. A presentation made at the center for research on information technology and organisations, University of California at Irvine, 13 Feb 2008

  41. Rosemann M, Vessey I (2008) Toward improving the relevance of information systems research to practice: the role of applicability checks. MIS Q 32(1):1–22

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Santos V, Goldman A, DeSouza C, Sharp H (2013) A pattern language for inter-team knowledge sharing in agile software development. In: PLoP 2013

  43. Schwaber K (2004) Agile software development with scrum. Microsoft Press, Redmond

    Google Scholar 

  44. Shani A, Coghlan D (2014) Collaborate with practitioners: an alternative perspective a rejoinder to Kieser and Leiner (2012). J Manag Inq 23:433–437

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Sharp H, Robinson H (2004) An ethnographic study of XP practices. Empir Softw Eng 9(4):353–375

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Sharp H, Plonka L, Gregory P, Taylor KJ (2014a) Integrating UX design into a DSDM project: challenges, work practices and lessons learned. http://agileresearchnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DSDM_UX_White_Paper-update-151113.pdf. Accessed 10 Oct 2014

  47. Sharp H, Plonka L, Taylor KJ, Gregory AJ (2014b) Overcoming challenges in collaboration between research and practice: the Agile Research Network in proceedings of software engineering research and industrial practices (SER & IP), a workshop co-located at ICSE 2014, Hyderabad, 1 June 2014

  48. Svejvig P, Fladkjær Nielsen A (2010) The Dilemma of High Level Planning in Distributed Agile Software Projects: An Action Research Study in a Danish Bank. In: Šmite D, Moe NB, Ågerfalk PJ (eds) Agility across time and space. Springer, Berlin

    Google Scholar 

  49. Van Waardenburg G, van Vliet H (2013) When agile meets the enterprise. Inf Softw Technol 55(12):2154–2171

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Vardiman P, Mhlanga F (2010) Conceptual models of collaborative partnerships and the infusion of knowledge workers in the local IT sector. In: Conference of information systems applied research, Nashville Tennessee, USA

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank our collaborators and the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) consortium.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Leonor Barroca.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Barroca, L., Sharp, H., Salah, D. et al. Bridging the gap between research and agile practice: an evolutionary model. Int J Syst Assur Eng Manag 9, 323–334 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13198-015-0355-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Agile software development
  • Action research
  • Collaboration model