The Practice of Not Knowing for Sure: How Agile Teams Manage Uncertainties

  • Denniz Dönmez
  • Gudela Grote
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 149)


Uncertainties are ubiquitous in software development. They impact almost every aspect of a development project. Most uncertainties are viewed as threats to project efficiency and there are strong calls to their reduction. However, uncertainties can pose opportunities for creativity and innovation in some situations. The literature has been dominated by discussions that focus on requirements uncertainties. We aim to extend these discussions by drawing attention to additional types of uncertainties, namely resource, task, and output uncertainties. In this empirical study we investigate the potential of agile software development methods to manage these different types of uncertainties, and examine the mechanisms available to development teams. Our results reveal how some agile teams seized mechanisms to harvest positive and mitigate negative impacts of uncertainties. Drawing upon these results, we discuss several antecedents of successful uncertainty management.


Uncertainties Uncertainty Management Agile Software Development Methods Scrum Empirical Study 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denniz Dönmez
    • 1
  • Gudela Grote
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Management, Technology, and EconomicsETH ZurichSwitzerland

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