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Business Information Systems

Handling the Complexity of Information Systems Development Projects With Agile Methods

Corina Raduescu; Asif Qumer Gill, University of Sydney; University of Sydney

10th Oct 2012  10:00 am - Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Traditional approaches to software and information systems development (ISD) cannot fulfil the challenges presented by the complexity inherent in today dynamic and changing environments. In this research we argue that ISD projects are socially complex endeavours and suggest that agile development methods display characteristics that justify them as being appropriate for such project environments. We suggest that one theory that justifies the appropriateness of agile methods in such contexts is the complex adaptive systems (CAS) theory. We do this by first, assessing the alignment between complex adaptive systems (CAS) and agile ISD principles, and second, by proposing a conceptual framework for handling complexity with agility. We therefore aim to shed some preliminary light and contribute to both theory and practice by offering: 1) a new theoretical perspective (CAS) that justifies the applicability of agile methods in complex ISD projects, and 2) better approaches to manage such project initiatives in practice. Our future research directions seek to explore the key characteristics of complexity in ISD projects, and identify the suitability of specific agile methods for specific ISD projects.