Escalation of Commitment: A Longitudinal Case Study of Daily Meetings
Escalating commitment is a common and costly phenomenon in software projects in which decision-makers continue to invest resources to a failing course of action. We conducted a longitudinal case study exploring the effect of daily meetings on escalating commitment. This was done in an agile project building software for the oil and gas industry. By analyzing data collected over a period of four years, and drawing on concepts from self-justification theory we found that daily meetings contributed to maintain a situation of escalating commitment. This especially occurs if the meeting becomes a place for reporting and defending decisions with team members feeling that they have to justify their choices towards the project management or fellow team members. Early signs of escalation such as rationalizing continuation of a chosen course of action must therefore be taken seriously.
KeywordsEscalating commitment daily meetings stand-up Scrum self-justification theory agile software development
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