The Many Facets of High-Performing Software Teams: A Capability-Based Analysis Approach

  • Petri Kettunen
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 364)


High-performing teams (HPT) have been investigated in many fields ranging from manufacturing to knowledge work. With software teams, however, the concept is still incompletely comprehended. Software teams in practice do not reside in isolation but in specific organizational contexts and, consequently, competitive environments. Their performance is thus relative to the particular context. The performance outcomes of the teams are in turn products of their specific capabilities (including agile), provided by the underlying software competencies. This paper proposes a high-performing software team capability analysis approach supported by provisional instrumentation. The aim of such a capability analyzator is to help software teams and organizations to identify their current capabilities and – in case of gaps – to gauge the development of necessary ones. The case exhibits with respect to agile capability demonstrate that it is able to capture team performance drivers of industrial software organizations under different contextual circumstances for further performance analysis.


high-performing software organizations agile software teams capability development process improvement performance management 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Cooper, R.G., Edgett, S.J.: Lean, Rapid, and Profitable New Product Development. BookSurge Publishing, North Charleston (2005)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kettunen, P., Moilanen, S.: Sensing High-Performing Software Teams: Proposal of an Instrument for Self-monitoring. In: Wohlin, C. (ed.) XP 2012. LNBIP, vol. 111, pp. 77–92. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kleinschmidt, E., de Brentani, U., Salomo, S.: Information Processing and Firm-Internal Environment Contingencies. Performance Impact on Global New Product Development. Creativity and Innovation Management 19(3), 200–218 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kettunen, P.: Agile Software Development in Large-Scale New Product Development Organization: Team-Level Perspective. Dissertation, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland (2009)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hackman, J.R.: Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances. Harvard Business School Press, Boston (2002)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Petersen, K.: Measuring and predicting software productivity: A systematic map and review. Information and Software Technology 53, 317–343 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chenhall, R.H., Langfield-Smith, K.: Multiple Perspectives of Performance Measures. European Management Journal 25(4), 266–282 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Stensrud, E., Myrtveit, I.: Identifying High Performance ERP Projects. IEEE Trans. Software Engineering 29(5), 398–416 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Berlin, J.M., Carlström, E.D., Sandberg, H.S.: Models of teamwork: ideal or not? A critical study of theoretical team models. Team Performance Management 18(5/6), 328–340 (2012)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ginac, F.P.: Creating High Performance Software Development Teams. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (2000)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sawyer, S.: Effects of intra-group conflict on packaged software development team performance. Information Systems Journal 11, 155–178 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Narasimhaiah, G., Lam, Y.W.: Who Should Work with Whom? Building Effective Software Project Teams. Communications of the ACM 47(12), 79–82 (2004)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kasunic, M.: A Data Specification for Software Project Performance Measures: Results of a Collaboration on Performance Measurement. Technical report TR-012, CMU/SEI (2008)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Symons, C.: Software Industry Performance: What You Measure Is What You Get. IEEE Software 27(6), 66–72 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lu, Y., Xiang, C., Wang, B., Wang, X.: What affects information systems development team performance? An exploratory study from the perspective of combined socio-technical theory and coordination theory. Computers in Human Behavior 27, 811–822 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sudhakar, G.P., Farooq, A., Patnaik, S.: Soft factors affecting the performance of software development teams. Team Performance Management 17(3/4), 187–205 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Maheshwari, M., Kumar, U., Kumar, V.: Alignment between social and technical capability in software development teams: An empirical study. Team Performance Management 18(1/2), 7–26 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bozdogan, K.: A Comparative Review of Lean Thinking, Six Sigma and Related Enterprise Process Improvement Initiatives. Working paper, 060531. MIT, Cambridge (2006)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Winter, M., Szczepanek, T.: Projects and programmes as value creation processes: A new perspective and some practical implications. International Journal of Project Management 26, 95–103 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ancona, D., Bresman, H.: X-Teams: How to Build Teams that Lead, Innovate, and Succeed. Harvard Business School Press, Boston (2007)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Allee, V.: Value Network Analysis and value conversion of tangible and intangible assets. Journal of Intellectual Capital 9(1), 5–24 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Buschmann, F.: Value-Focused System Quality. IEEE Software 27(6), 84–86 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Patanakul, P., Shenhar, A.: Exploring the Concept of Value Creation in Program Planning and Systems Engineering Processes. Systems Engineering 13(4), 340–352 (2009)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mossman, A.: Creating value: a sufficient way to eliminate waste in lean design and lean production. Lean Construction Journal, 13–23 (2009)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Aoyama, M.: Web-Based Agile Software Development. IEEE Software 15(6), 56–65 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cockburn, A.: Agile Software Development. Addison-Wesley/Pearson, Boston (2002)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Highsmith, J.: Agile Software Development Ecosystems. Addison-Wesley/Pearson, Boston (2002)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Anderson, D.J.: Agile Management for Software Engineering. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (2004)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Larman, C.: Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide. Addison-Wesley/Pearson, Boston (2004)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Schuh, P.: Integrating Agile Development in the Real World. Charles River Media, Inc., Newton Center (2005)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lyytinen, K., Rose, G.M.: Information system development agility as organizational learning. European Journal of Information Systems 15, 183–199 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Subramaniam, V., Hunt, A.: Practices of an Agile Developer – Working in the Real World. The Pragmatic Bookshelf, USA (2006)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ambler, S.W.: Disciplined Agile Software Development: Definition, (accessed December 27, 2012)
  34. 34.
    Draft Recommended Practice for the Customer-Supplier Relationship in Agile Software Projects. P1648/D5. IEEE (2007)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Staron, M., Meding, W., Karlsson, G.: Developing measurement systems: an industrial case study. J. Softw. Maint. Evol.: Res. Pract. 23, 89–107 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Agresti, W.W.: Lightweight Software Metrics: The P10 Framework. IT Pro., 12–16 (September-October 2006)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y.: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. John Wiley & Sons, New York (2010)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Professional Staff Core Capability Dictionary. University of Adelaide, Australia (2010)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Day, G.S.: The Capabilities of Market-Driven Organizations. Journal of Marketing 58, 37–52 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Neely, A., Adams, C., Crowe, P.: The performance prism in practice. Measuring Business Excellence 5(2), 6–13 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    von Hertzen, M., Laine, J., Kangasharju, S., Timonen, J., Santala, M.: Drive for Future Software Leverage: The Role, Importance, and Future Challenges of Software Competences in Finland. Review 262. Tekes, Helsinki (2009)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Downey, J.: Designing Job Descriptions for Software Development. In: Barry, C., et al. (eds.) Information Systems Development: Challenges in Practice, Theory, and Education, vol. 1, pp. 447–460. Springer Science+Business Media (2009)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Conboy, K., Fitzgerald, B.: Toward a conceptual framework for agile methods: a study of agility in different disciplines. In: Mehandjiev, N., Brereton, P. (eds.) Workshop on Interdisciplinary Software Engineering Research (WISER), pp. 37–44. ACM, New York (2004)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    CMMI for Development. Technical report, CMU/SEI-2010-TR-033. Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, USA (2010)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Guidance on use for process improvement and process capability determination. Information technology, Process assessment, Part 4: 15504-4, ISO/IEC (2009)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    EFQM Excellence Model. EFQM Foundation, Belgium (2012)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Baldrige National Quality Program: Criteria for Performance Excellence. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD (2012)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Drexler, A., Sibbet, D.: Team Performance Model (TPModel). The Grove Consultants International, San Francisco (2004)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Miller, L.M.: Lean Team Management: How to Create Lean Management & Lean Organization. L. M. Miller Consulting (2010)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Humphrey, W.S.: Introduction to the Team Software Process. Addison Wesley Longman Inc., Reading (2000)Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Humphrey, W.S., Chick, T.A., Nichols, W.R., Pomeroy-Huff, M.: Team Software Process (TSP) Body of Knowledge (BOK). Technical report, CMU/SEI-2010-TR-020. Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, USA (2010)Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Boehm, B., Turner, R.: Balancing Agility and Discipline – A Guide for the Perplexed. Addison-Wesley, Boston (2004)Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Organization Suitability Risk List. White paper, DSDM Consortium, United Kingdom (2004)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Lappo, P., Andrew, H.C.T.: Assessing Agility. In: Eckstein, J., Baumeister, H. (eds.) XP 2004. LNCS, vol. 3092, pp. 331–338. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Hansson, C., Dittrich, Y., Gustafsson, B., Zarnak, S.: How agile are industrial software development practices? Journal of Systems and Software 79(9), 1295–1311 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Pettit, R.: An “Agile Maturity Model”? Agile Journal (2006)Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Highsmith, J., Wysocki, K.: How Agile Are Organizations Today? Cutter Agile Project Management Executive Report 7(12) (2006)Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Pikkarainen, M.: Towards a Framework for Improving Software Development Process Mediated with CMMI Goals and Agile Practices. Dissertation, University of Oulu, Finland (2008)Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Pikkarainen, M., Mäntyniemi, A.: An Approach for Using CMMI in Agile Software Development Assessments: Experiences from Three Case Studies. In: SPICE (2006)Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Sidky, A.: A Structured Approach to Adopting Agile Practices: The Agile Adoption Framework. Dissertation, Virginia Tech., USA (2007)Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Kroll, P., Krebs, W.: Introducing IBM Rational Self Check for Software Teams,
  62. 62.
    Oza, N., Abrahamsson, P., Conboy, K.: Positioning Agility. In: Abrahamsson, P., Marchesi, M., Maurer, F. (eds.) XP 2009. LNBIP, vol. 31, pp. 206–208. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Glazer, H.: Love and Marriage: CMMI and Agile Need Each Other. CrossTalk 23(1), 29–34 (2010)Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Wirtenberg, J., Lipsky, D., Abrams, L., Conway, M., Slepian, J.: The Future of Organization Development: Enabling Sustainable Business Performance Through People. Organization Development Journal 25(2), 11–22 (2007)Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Turley, R., Bieman, J.: Competencies of exceptional and non-exceptional software engineers. Journal of Systems and Software 28(1), 19–38 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Colomo-Palacios, R., Casado-Lumbreras, C., Soto-Acosta, P., García-Peñalvo, F.J., Tovar-Caro, E.: Competence gaps in software personnel. A multi-organizational study. Computers in Human Behavior 29(2), 456–461 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petri Kettunen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations