XP in a Small Software Development Business: Adapting to Local Constraints

  • Jeffry S. Babb
  • Rashina Hoda
  • Jacob Nørbjerg
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 186)


While small software development shops have trended towards the adoption of Agile methods, local conditions and high iteration pressure typically cause adaptations and appropriations of Agile methods. This paper shares evidence from a study concerning how a small software development company adopts and adapts, XP to suit their business. Based on a Dialogical Action Research project, the study reflects on the conditions leading to Agile process adaptation, and why ad hoc and “a la carte” approaches may be problematic. Limitations and drawbacks to aspects of XP are also discussed. The Agile practices most sustainable for small shop teams, with process maintenance and viability as a goal, are highlighted.


Agile methods method adoption method adaption local conditions process evolution 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Babb, J.S.: Towards A Reflective-Agile Learning Model and Method in the Case of Small-Shop Software Development: Evidence From An Action Research Study. Information Systems, PhD, pp. 449. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond VA (2009) Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hansen, P.A., Serin, G.: The Structure of the ICT Sector in the Øresund region. ÖresundIT (2010) Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fayad, M.E., Laitinen, M., Ward, R.P.: Thinking Objectively: Software Engineering in Small Companies. Commun. ACM 43, 115–118 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Pedreira, O., Piattini, M., Luaces, M.R., Brisaboa, N.R.: A Systematic Review of Software Process Tailoring. ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes 32, 1–6 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Pino, F.J., Garcia, F., Piattini, M.: Software process improvement in small and medium software enterprises: a systematic review. Software Quality Control 16, 237–261 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Babb, J.J., Nørbjerg, J.: A Model for Reflective Learning in Small Shop Agile Development. In: Molka-Danielsen, J., Nicolajsen, H.W., Persson, J.S. (eds.) Engaged Scandinavian Research. Selected Papers of the Information Systems Research Seminar in Scandinavia, vol. 1, pp. 23–38. Tapir Akademisk Forlag, Molde (2010)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dybå, T.: Factors of Software Process Improvement Success in Small and Large Organizations: An Empirical Study in the Scandinavian Context. In: ESEC/FSE, pp. 148–157. ACM, Helsinki (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Laitinen, M., Fayad, M.E., Ward, R.P.: Guest Editors’ Introduction: Software Engineering in Small Companies. IEEE Software 17, 75–77 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nerur, S., Mahapatra, R., Mangalaraj, G.: Challenges of migrating to agile methodologies. Commun. ACM 48, 72–78 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hoda, R., Noble, J., Marshall, J.: The impact of inadequate customer collaboration on self-organizing Agile teams. Information and Software Technology 53, 521–534 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Senapathi, M., Srinivasan, A.: Understanding post-adoptive agile usage: An exploratory cross-case analysis. The Journal of Systems and Software 85, 1255–1268 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mangalaraj, G., Mahapatra, R., Nerur, S.: Acceptance of software process innovations – the case of extreme programming. European Journal of Information Systems 18, 344–354 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dybå, T., Dingsøyr, T.: Empirical studies of agile software development: A systematic review. Information and Software Technology 50, 833–859 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Abrahamsson, P., Conboy, K., Wang, X.: ‘Lots done, more to do’: the current state of agile systems development research. European Journal of Information Systems 18, 281–284 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lester, N.G., Wilkie, F.G., McFall, D., Ware, M.P.: Investigating the role of CMMI with expanding company size for small- to medium-sized enterprises. J. Softw. Maint. E 22, 17–31 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Staples, M., Niazi, M., Jeffery, R., Abrahams, A., Byatt, P., Murphy, R.: An exploratory study of why organizations do not adopt CMMI. J. Syst. Softw. 80, 883–895 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bansler, J.P., Bødker, K.: A Reappraisal of Structured Analysis: Design in an Organizational Context. ACM Transactions on Information Systems 11(2), 165–193 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Stolterman, E.: How System Designers Think about Design and Methods. Some Reflections Based on an Interview Study. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 3, 137 (1991)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fitzgerald, B., Russo, N.L., Stolterman, E.: Information Systems Development. Methods in Action. McGraw-Hill (2002)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Madsen, S., Kautz, K., Vidgen, R.: A framework for understanding how a unique and local IS development method emerges in practice. European Journal of Information Systems 15, 225–238 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kautz, K., Madsen, S., Nørbjerg, J.: Persistent Problems and Practices in Information Systems Development. ISJ (2007) (accepted for publication) Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Coleman, G., O’Connor, R.: Investigating software process in practice: A grounded theory perspective. J. Syst. Softw. 81, 772–784 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hoda, R., Kruchten, P., Noble, J., Marshall, J.: Agility in Context. Object-Oriented Programming, Systmes, Languages and Applications conference (OOPSLA2010). ACM, Reno/Tahoe (2010)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cao, L., Mohan, K., Xu, P., Ramesh, B.: A framework for adapting agile development methodologies. European Journal of Information Systems 18, 332–343 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Beck, K., Andres, C.: Extreme programming explained: embrace change. Addison-Wesley Professional (2004)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Schwaber, K., Beedle, M.: Agile software development with Scrum. Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River (2002)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mårtensson, P., Lee, A.S.: Dialogical Action Research at Omega Corporation. MIS Quarterly 28 (2004)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sein, M.K., Henfridsson, O., Purao, S., Rossi, M., Lindgren, R.: Action Design Research. MIS Quarterly 35 (2011)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Costello, G.J., Donnellan, B., Conboy, K.: Dialogical Action Research as Engaged Scholarship: An Empirical Study. In: ICIS (Year)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Van de Ven, A.H.: Engaged Scholarship: A Guide for Organizational and Social Research: A Guide for Organizational and Social Research. Oxford University Press (2007)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lee, A.S., Mårtensson, P.: Dialogical Action Research at Omega Corporation, Richmond, VA, pp. 1–39 (2004)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Jeffries, R., Anderson, A., Hendrickson, C.: Extreme programming installed. Addison-Wesley Professional (2001)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    McBreen, P.: Software craftsmanship: the new imperative. Addison-Wesley Professional (2002)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Glass, R.L.: The state of the practice of software engineering. IEEE Software 20, 20–21 (2003)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Wood, W.A., Kleb, W.L.: Exploring XP for scientific research. IEEE Software 20, 30–36 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Arisholm, E., Gallis, H., Dyba, T., Sjoberg, D.I.: Evaluating pair programming with respect to system complexity and programmer expertise. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 33, 65–86 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffry S. Babb
    • 1
  • Rashina Hoda
    • 2
  • Jacob Nørbjerg
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer Information Decision ManagementWest Texas A&M UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of AalborgAalborg ØDenmark

Personalised recommendations