How agile are industrial software development practices?

Document type: Journal Articles
Article type: Original article
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Christina Hansson, Yvonne Dittrich, Björn Gustavsson, Stefan Zarnaak
Title: How agile are industrial software development practices?
Journal: Journal of Systems and Software
Year: 2006
Volume: 79
Issue: 9
ISSN: 0164-1212
Publisher: Elsevier
ISI number: 000240480700007
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Engineering - Dept. Mathematics and Science (Sektionen för teknik – avd. för matematik och naturvetenskap)
School of Engineering S- 371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:,
Language: English
Abstract: Representatives from the agile development movement claim that agile ways of developing software are more fitting to what is actually needed in industrial software development. If this is so, successful industrial software development should already exhibit agile characteristics. This article therefore aims to examine whether that is the case. It presents an analysis of interviews with software developers from five different companies. We asked about concrete projects, both about the project models and the methods used, but also about the real situation in their daily work. Based on the interviews, we describe and then analyze their development practices. The analysis shows that the software providers we interviewed have more agile practices than they might themselves be aware of. However, plans and more formal development models also are well established. The conclusions answer the question posed in the title: It all depends! It depends on which of the different principles you take to judge agility. And it depends on the characteristics not only of the company but also of the individual project.
Subject: Software Engineering\General
Keywords: Agile software development, Industrial software companies, Qualitative research methods