Conference PaperPDF Available

Investigating the Role of Architects in Scaling Agile Frameworks

Authors:

Abstract

Over the past two decades, agile software development methods have been adopted by an increasing number of organizations to improve their software development processes. In contrast to traditional methods, agile methods place more emphasis on flexible processes than on detailed upfront plans and heavy documentations. Since agile methods have proved to be successful at the team level, large organizations are now aiming to scale agile methods to the enterprise level by adopting so-called scaling agile frameworks. Scaling agile methods at the enterprise level with some amount of architectural planning prevents excessive redesign efforts and functional redundancy in application architectures. An effective evolution of application architectures requires the right trade-off between emergent and intentional architectural design and a close collaboration between agile and architecture teams. Although there is a growing body of literature on scaling agile frameworks, literature documenting the deployment of architect roles in scaling agile frameworks is still scarce. This study describes the roles of architects in scaling agile frameworks with the help of a structured literature review. We aim to provide a primary analysis of 20 identified scaling agile frameworks. Subsequently, we thoroughly describe three popular scaling agile frameworks: Scaled Agile Framework, Large Scale Scrum, and Disciplined Agile 2.0. After specifying the main concepts of scaling agile frameworks, we characterize roles of enterprise, software, solution, and information architects, as identified in four scaling agile frameworks. Finally, we provide a discussion of generalizable findings on the role of architects in scaling agile frameworks.
Investigating the Role of Architects in Scaling Agile Frameworks
¨
Omer Uluda˘
g, Martin Kleehaus, Xian Xu, Florian Matthes
Chair for Informatics 19
Technische Universit¨
at M¨
unchen (TUM)
D-85748, Garching
{oemer.uludag,martin.kleehaus,xian.xu,matthes}@tum.de
Abstract—This study describes the roles of architects in
scaling agile frameworks with the help of a structured literature
review. We aim to provide a primary analysis of 20 iden-
tified scaling agile frameworks. Subsequently, we thoroughly
describe three popular scaling agile frameworks: Scaled Agile
Framework, Large Scale Scrum, and Disciplined Agile 2.0.
After specifying the main concepts of scaling agile frame-
works, we characterize roles of enterprise, software, solution,
and information architects, as identified in four scaling agile
frameworks. Finally, we provide a discussion of generalizable
findings on the role of architects in scaling agile frameworks.
Keywords-scaling agile frameworks; agile software develop-
ment; application architecture;
I. INTRODUCTION
Enterprises struggle to deal with unpredictable compet-
itive environments due to rapidly changing customer de-
mands, regulatory changes, and technological advancements
that can lead to the enterprise’s success [1], [2]. Thus,
the ability to detect relevant changes and respond in a
timely and effective manner becomes an important determi-
nant of the enterprise’s survival [3]. Software development
projects in such environments face changes either directly
or indirectly. In order to face these challenges, the agile
movement emerged in the 1990s, leading to the development
of agile manifesto and many agile software development
methods, including extreme programming (XP), kanban, and
scrum [4]. With these agile methods, small, co-located, self-
organizing teams work closely with the business customer
on a single-project context, maximizing the customer value
and quality of the delivered software product through rapid
iterations and frequent feedback loops [4].
Since the initial application of these methods are tai-
lored for small teams, large enterprises are interested in
extending agile methods to include larger teams and inter-
team coordination and communication [5]. Various scaling
agile frameworks, e.g., the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe),
Disciplined Agile 2.0 (DA 2.0), and Large-Scale Scrum
(LeSS), were proposed to resolve issues associated with
team size, customer involvement, and project constraints [6].
Agile methods imply that the architecture should evolve
incrementally and constantly be tested with known require-
ments rather than being imposed by some direct structur-
ing force (emergent architecture design) [7]. The practice
of emergent architecture design is effective at the team
level but insufficient when developing large systems. It
causes excessive redesign efforts, architectural divergence,
and functional redundancy increasing the complexity of
application architectures [7], [8]. Therefore, an intentional
architecture design is required, which embraces architectural
initiatives and guidance for inter-team design and implemen-
tation synchronization [7], [9]. The effective evolution of
an application’s architecture requires the right balance of
emergent and intentional architecture design. This balance
is an essential determinant for addressing the complexity of
large applications architectures and large-scale agile projects
[7], [9].
However, literature documenting the influences of scal-
ing agile frameworks on application architectures and the
involvement of architects in large-scale agile projects is still
scarce. The main objective of this study is to investigate the
role of architects in scaling agile frameworks. Based on this
objective, three research questions (RQ) were formulated
RQ1: What are the types of scaling agile frameworks?
RQ2: What are the roles of architects in scaling agile
frameworks?
RQ3: What are the generalizable findings about the role
of architects in scaling agile frameworks?
A. Research methodology
To identify material relevant to stated goal of this study,
we applied a structured literature review approach as recom-
mended by Brocke et al. [10]. In the first phase, we defined
the scope of the review and identified suitable research
questions about the role of architects in scaling agile frame-
works. In the second phase, key concepts were identified by
concept mapping, which also provided the opportunity to
identify additional relevant search terms: Scaled Agile Or-
ganization,Enterprise Architecture,Scaled Agile Enterprise
Architecture,Scaled Agile Framework,Software Engineer-
ing, and Scaled Agile Software Engineering, together with
a variety of related concepts, synonyms, and homonyms.
These were applied to the subsequent literature search in the
third phase. We examined a range of different Information
Systems journals, conference proceedings, documentations,
and books using EBSCOhost, ScienceDirect, Scopus, ACM
Digital Library, IEEExplore, SpringerLink, Emerald Insight,
and Google Scholar. Having compiled the aforementioned
list of search terms, we then used them in electronic full-text
search queries. In total, we obtained 146 relevant sources.
In the fourth phase, we created a concept matrix juxtaposing
the different architect roles with the identified scaling agile
frameworks to investigate their roles within the scaling agile
frameworks. In the last phase, the comparative analysis of
architect roles resulted in generalizable findings on the role
of architects in scaling agile frameworks.
The remainder of this paper is structured as follows.
In Section II, we define large-scale agile developments,
providing a primary analysis of the scaling agile frameworks
we identified in the literature and describing thoroughly the
three most mature frameworks. In Section III, we analyze
architect roles identified in scaling agile frameworks. We
analyze and discuss these findings in Section IV before
concluding the paper with remarks on future research.
II. SCALING AG ILE FRAMEWORKS
The origin of agile ideas in business started with the
creation of the Agile Consortium in 1994 [11]. These ideas
were discovered independently in software engineering, cul-
minating in the creation of the Agile Manifesto [12] but have
exactly the same guiding principles as those in business.
The development of scaling agile frameworks dates back
to 1992, with the Crystal Family [13], and has increasingly
gained in popularity in the last few years. The main purpose
of such frameworks is to manage large agile teams with more
than 50 developers distributed across multiple geographical
locations in an agile way. Traditional agile methods such
as Scrum are not capable of managing this number of
developers. However, scaling agile methods introduce new
challenges, such as inter-team coordination and distribution
of work without a defined architecture or properly defined
requirements [14]. We further define the term large-scale ag-
ile development and provide a discussion of the frameworks
that currently attract the most attention.
A. Definition of large-scale agile development
The difficulty of introducing agile methods increases
with organization size [15]. The adoption of agile frame-
works often requires changing the entire organizational cul-
ture. Larger organizations have more dependencies between
projects and teams, which slows down any organizational
change. Large size also increases the need for formal doc-
umentation, which in turn reduces agility [16]. In addition
to inter-team coordination, agile teams also have to interact
with other organizational units, which are typically non-agile
in nature. Therefore, several companies have devised new
approaches to scaling agile methods to projects wherein a
lot of people are involved. Hence, the term large-scale agile
development1. refers to agile development in everything
1A primary systematic literature review on the challenges and success
factors for large-scale agile development was conducted by [17].
from large teams to large multi-team projects that want to
make use of agile development principles at the portfolio or
enterprise level [18]. Dingsøyr et al. [18] identified that large
scale agile projects had been regarded in terms of the number
of people or teams, project budget, code base size, or project
duration. Examples of cases that were described as large-
scale covered projects costing over $10 million with teams
of more than 50 people, code bases consisting of over half a
million lines of code [19], durations of 2 years, and scopes
of 60–80 features [20]. Based on their findings, Dingsøyr
et al. [18] measured large-scale projects by the number of
collaborating and coordinating teams as large-scale projects
with 2–9 collaborating teams and very large-scale projects
with over 10 collaborating teams.
B. Introduction to the most popular frameworks
The structured literature review described in Section I-A
revealed 20 scaling agile frameworks listed in Table I. Most
of the frameworks emerged from very basic approaches
to agile development, namely XP and Scrum, and were
enhanced as necessary in order to be applicable to very
large multi-team projects. In Table I, we summarize our
findings and provide primary information about the method-
ologists who invented and published the frameworks, the
organizations which were built upon them, and the scaling
agile approaches involved. The maturity section of Table I
indicates how well-established the particular framework is.
Here, we calculate the maturity2of a framework based on
the number of paper contributions that we found in the
literature search;
the number of case studies described on the homepage
of the regarded framework;
the available documentation that could be found either
on its homepage or in other sources;
the training courses and certifications offered by the
organization; and
the content of the community forums and blogs wherein
the companies shared their knowledge and other infor-
mation about the framework.
The LeSS, SAFe, and DA 2.0 frameworks are especially
mature, as they are cited very often in the literature, de-
scribing many real-world use cases, and also fulfill the other
adoption criteria. Therefore, we will subsequently provide
more details about these popular frameworks:
LeSS was released in 2008 by Craig Larman and Bas
Vodde and extends Scrum with scaling rules and guidelines
without losing sight of Scrums’s original goals. LeSS spec-
ifies additional organizational changes, which are not ad-
dressed in traditional Scrum. For instance cross-functional,
2The maturity is calculated based on the sum of the equally weighted
maturity criteria. Particularly, ’Yes’ values are coded as ’1’, whereas ’No’
values are coded as ’0’. Contributions and cases values of each framework
are divided by the max. values of contributions and cases. For instance, the
maturity rating of Crystal Family is calculated as follows:
17
35 ·0.2 + 1
35 ·0.2+1·0.2+0·0.2+1·0.2=0.503 .
Table I
PRIMARY ANALYSIS OF SCALING AGILE FRAMEWORKS.
Methodologist
Organization
Publication
Date
Category
Contri-
butions
Cases
Docu-
mentation
Training
Courses and
Certifications
Community,
Forum or
Blog
Rating
Crystal Family
Alistair Cockburn - 1992 Set of Methods 17 1 Yes No Yes
Dynamic Systems Development Method
Agile Project Framework for Scrum
Arie van Bennekum
DSDM Consortium 1994 Framework 28 4 Yes Yes Yes
Scrum-of-Scrums
Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber Scrum Inc. 2001 Mechanism 27 2 Yes No Yes
Enterprise Scrum
Mike Beedle Enterprise Scrum Inc. 2002 Framework 4 - Yes Yes Yes
Agile Software Solution Framework
University of
Technology
2007 Framework 2 2 No No No
Large Scale Scrum
Craig Larman and Bas Vodde LeSS Company B.V. 2008 Framework 29 22 Yes Yes Yes
Scaled Agile Framework
Dean Leffingwell Scaled Agile Inc. 2011 Framework 35 35 Yes Yes Yes
Disciplined Agile 2.0
Scrott Ambler
Disciplined Agile
Consortium
2012 Framework 27 4 Yes Yes Yes
Spotify Model
Spotify
2012 Model 11 1 Yes No Yes
Mega Framework
Universo Online S.A
2012 Framework 2 1 No No No
Enterprise Agile Delivery and Agile
Governance Practice
Erik Marks
AgilePath 2012 Set of Practices 1 - Yes No Yes
Recipes for Agile Governance in the
Enterprise
Kevin Thompson
Cprime 2013 Framework 4 1 Yes Yes No
Continuous Agile Framework
Andy Singleton Maxos LLC 2014 Framework 3 - Yes No Yes
Scrum at Scale
Jeff Sutherland and Alex Brown Scrum Inc. 2014 Framework 9 - Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise Transition Framework
- agile42 2014 Framework 1 2 Yes Yes Yes
ScALeD Agile Lean Development
-
2014 Set of Principles 2 - Yes No Yes
eXponential Simple Continuous
Autonomous Learning Ecosystem
Peter Merel
Xscale Alliance 2014 Set of Principles 3 - Yes Yes Yes
Lean Enterprise Agile Framework
- LeanPitch Technologies 2015 Framework 0 - Yes Yes Yes
Nexus
Ken Schwaber Scrum.org 2015 Framework 5 - Yes Yes Yes
FAST Agile
Ron Quartel Cron Technologies 2015 Set of Methods 2 - Yes No Yes
Descriptive Information
Maturity
cross-component, end-to-end feature teams are introduced
by LeSS through the elimination of traditional team lead
and project manager roles [21].
Larman and Vodde proposed two different frameworks
depending on the size of the project. The basic LeSS
framework provides guidelines and techniques for agile
development with less than ten teams [6].
In basic LeSS, a single product owner (PO) is common to
all ten teams, but no other special roles are specified com-
pared with standard Scrum. The LeSS framework changes
the structure of sprint planning meetings compared with the
traditional Scrum approach. Here, each of the agile teams,
represented by two members per team, plus the one overall
PO decide which chunk of product backlog items to work on.
This is in contrast with standard Scrum wherein the rest of
the agile team also participates. When contention occurs over
a backlog item, the PO mediates between teams. Likewise,
sprint review changes to a single meeting for all agile teams.
However, it is limited to two team members per agile team.
In addition, three more changes are established [6]
The inter-team coordination meeting is designed to
increase information sharing and coordination. It can
be conducted frequently during the week and can take
various forms, including open space, town hall meeting,
multi-team daily Scrum, or Scrum of Scrums formats.
The joint light product backlog refinement meeting
focuses on refining product backlog items for upcoming
sprints. It is restricted to two representatives per team
and should not exceed 5% of the sprint duration.
Finally, a joint retrospective is added that aims to iden-
tify and plan improvement experiments for the overall
product or organization. The PO, scrum master, and one
representative from each team attend this meeting.
Agile development with more than ten teams is guided by the
second LeSS framework, named LeSS Huge. It introduces
additional scaling elements, which are required to manage
hundreds of developers in large enterprises. LeSS Huge
introduces a new concept, namely, requirement areas (RAs).
RAs encompass major areas of customer concern from a
product point of view and may grow or shrink over time
in order to match product needs. All RAs follow the same
sprint cadence and aim for continuous integration across the
entire product. Adding the RA as an attribute in the product
backlog creates an area product backlog (APB) view for
each RA. This represents a new feature in LeSS Huge. Each
product backlog item belongs to one area backlog. Area
backlog items are defined, prioritized, and split, as needed,
by the area product owner (APO). The APO focuses on one
APB and is usually a specialist in that area. The APO acts
similar as the PO would in the smaller LeSS framework.
SAFe was released in 2011 by Dean Leffingwell and
is now at version 4.0. SAFe builds on existing lean and
agile principles that are combined into a method for large-
scale agile projects. SAFe provides a soft introduction to
the agile world as it specifies many structured patterns.
This is often needed for those who are transitioning from
a more traditional environment, particularly in the context
of a large project. A common problem with agile adoption
is the difficulty in introducing such a major cultural change
to an organization. Thus, SAFe provides the structure needed
to make the transition more predictable, even though it
follows agile practices and stresses autonomy and decision-
making for knowledge workers. SAFe highlights four levels
of organization: team, program, value stream, and portfolio.
Each level integrates agile and lean practices, manages its
own activities, and is aligned with the other levels.
At the team level, the techniques outlined are those used in
Scrum, and two-week sprint cycles are recommended. Each
team comprises 5–9 members and has a scrum master and
a PO, similar to standard Scrum. All SAFe teams are part
of one agile release train (ART), a team of agile teams that
delivers a continuous flow of incremental releases of value.
Each agile team is responsible for defining, building, and
testing stories from its team backlog in a series of iterations
using common iteration cadences and synchronization to
align its activities with other teams so that the entire system
is iterating in unison. Teams use ScrumXP or Kanban to
deliver prototypes every two weeks [22].
At the program level, SAFe extends Scrum using the same
ideas but on a higher level. The program level is based on
an ART, which is composed of five sprint cycles. There
is also a sixth innovation planning sprint, which allows
teams to innovate, inspect, and adapt. Teams, roles, and
activities are organized around the ART [22]. At this level,
a product manager (PM) serves as the content authority for
the ART and is accountable for identifying program backlog
priorities. In addition, the PM works with POs to optimize
feature delivery and direct the work of POs at the team level.
A release train engineer (RTE) facilitates program level
processes and execution, escalates impediments, manages
risk, and helps to drive continuous improvement.
At the optional value stream level, the value stream
engineer (VSE) plays a similar role, facilitating and guiding
the work of all ARTs and suppliers. Further important roles,
such as business owner, DevOps team member, release
manager, and solution manager have been described in [22].
SAFe also specifies processes at one higher level, the
portfolio level, using lean principles, such as optimizing
value streams, which are long-lived series of steps used to
deliver value. These help executives and leaders identify and
prioritize epics and features that can be broken down at the
program level and scheduled for ARTs [22].
The DA 2.0 framework, previously kwown as Disciplined
Agile Delivery, was released in 2012 by Scott Ambler and
Mark Lines [23]. In comparison with SAFe, DA 2.0 aims
to address areas that are not thoroughly covered in smaller
scaling agile frameworks and recommends three phases:
inception, construction, and transition. While many agile
frameworks address what DA 2.0 calls the construction
phase, DA 2.0 provides recommendations for processes
that come both earlier in the project (inception) and as
teams prepare for delivery (transition). DA 2.0 also provides
flexibility by suggesting different process guidelines for
four categories of life cycles: agile/basic, lean/advanced,
continuous delivery, and exploratory.
The construction phase of agile/basic is Scrum, whereas
the lean/advanced life cycle uses processes similar to Kan-
ban. The inception phase is used to stock a work item
pool that is organized to achieve business values, fixed
delivery dates, expedited delivery, or some other intangible
goal. During the transition phase, planning, retrospection,
prototyping, stand up meetings, and other activities are
undertaken. The continuous delivery life cycle focuses on
mature DevOps, continuous integration, and deployment
processes for projects that require frequent delivery to stake-
holders. The exploratory life cycle minimizes early planning
in favor of fast delivery, gaining feedback, and incorporating
that feedback into the next delivery [23].
In the third continuous delivery life cycle, the inception
phase is explicit and has a very brief transition period. In
this life cycle, products are produced on a very regular basis:
daily, weekly, or monthly [23].
The last life cycle, the exploratory life cycle, aims to
encourage agile teams to put themselves in start-up or
research situations wherein the stakeholders have clear ideas
for a new product but do not yet understand the needs of
their user base [23].
Table II
IDENTIFIED ARCHITECT ROLES IN SCALING AGILE FRAMEWORKS.
Enterprise
Architect
Software
Architect
Solution
Architect
Information
Architect
DSDM
-
X X -
SAFe
X
XXX
DA 2.0
X
X X -
EADAGP
X
- - X
III. THE RO LE O F ARCHITECTS IN SCALING AGILE
FRAMEWORKS
Since traditional agile methods, such as XP or Scrum, do
not include the role of architects, we recognize that this is
no longer valid for scaling agile frameworks. In particular,
we have seen that several scaling agile frameworks involve
various architect roles. We have selected a set of predom-
inant architect roles relevant to the realm of enterprise
architecture (EA) from refs. [24] and [25] to describe their
function in scaling agile frameworks. These roles comprise
the enterprise architect,software architect,solution archi-
tect, and information architect3. We have searched each
relevant source for these architect roles and related them
to the different scaling agile frameworks. The results are
summarized in Table II.
Only 4 out of 20 scaling agile frameworks include archi-
tect roles, namely Dynamic Systems Development Method
Agile Project Framework for Scrum (DSDM), SAFe, DA
2.0, and Enterprise Agile Delivery and Agile Governance
Practice (EADAGP). The findings also reveal that no frame-
work describes all architect roles in detail. The frameworks
predominantly consider the roles of enterprise, software, and
solution architects. In addition, the results show that more
mature frameworks are more likely than others to describe
architect roles. However, due to limited information and
unavailable documentation, further analyses are required to
emphasize this assumption.
We have created the following role description template,
based on refs. [24], [26], [27] to describe architect roles
Key concerns describe the key interests of the architect
role.
Area of interests describes the area of interests of the
architect role, e.g., special project tasks.
Contributions describe the contributions of the architect
role, e.g., resources like work, financial capital, or other
types of engagements.
Strategies describes the appropriate strategies for work-
ing with the architect role from management view.
Responsibilities describes the responsibilities of the
architect role.
Commitments describes the commitments of the archi-
tect role, which can be either active opposition, passive
opposition, neutral, passive support, or active support.
The following sections present our results about the role of
architects in various scaling agile frameworks.
A. The role of enterprise architect
The role of enterprise architect is only considered by
SAFe, DA 2.0, and EADAGP.
In SAFe, an enterprise architect works with business
stakeholders and software and solution architects to drive
3We have also considered synonyms for each architect role, e.g., domain
architect denotes the same role as solution architect.
holistic technology implementation across value streams.
The enterprise architect is concerned with driving EA strat-
egy, which comprises five key aspects, namely choice of
technology, software and solution strategy, development and
deployment infrastructure strategy, inter-program collabora-
tion, and implementation strategy. This is communicated,
along with other key business drivers of architecture, to
system architects and nontechnical stakeholders.
The main contributions of the enterprise architect are provid-
ing strategic technical directions and driving collaboration of
programs and teams around a common technical vision.
The portfolio level represents the enterprise architect’s area
of interest.
The strategy for working with enterprise architects is to
involve them actively in the portfolio level by ensuring the
presence of enterprise-wide architectural systems, platforms,
and infrastructures.
The key responsibilities of the enterprise architect are
maintaining a high-level and holistic vision of enter-
prise solutions and development initiatives;
understanding and communicating strategic themes and
other key business drivers for architecture to system
architects and nontechnical stakeholders;
working with business stakeholders and software and
solution architects to drive holistic technology imple-
mentation across value streams;
working closely with software and solution architects
to ensure that individual program and product strategies
align with enterprise objectives;
participating in the strategy for building and maintain-
ing the enterprise architectural runway; and
facilitating the reuse of ideas, components, and patterns.
The commitment of the enterprise architect is the active
support of agile teams [22].
Enterprise awareness is one of the key aspects of the DA
2.0 framework. Enterprise awareness motivates agile teams
to consider the overall needs of the organization and to
leverage existing assets in alignment with an enterprise-level
strategy. DA 2.0 recommends that agile teams work closely
with enterprise professionals, such as enterprise architects.
Within DA 2.0, the enterprise architect has both a primary
role as a stakeholder and a secondary role as a specialist
for assisting agile teams. The key concerns of enterprise
architects are addressing strategies for supporting delivery
teams and other stakeholders, evolving and capturing the
EA, and governing the EA efforts.
The inception, construction, and ongoing process goals of
the DA 2.0 framework form the area of interest of the enter-
prise architect. In the inception phase, the enterprise architect
works closely with agile teams to align them with enterprise
goals and to provide non-functional requirements (NFRs).
Further, the enterprise architect supports agile teams during
the initial architectural envisioning and modeling efforts and
the initial technical strategy definition phase by ensuring
that they leverage as much of the existing infrastructure as
possible. In the construction phase, the enterprise architect
collaborates with agile teams to ensure that their solution
reflects the overall strategy of the organization. Within the
ongoing process goal, the enterprise architect holds regular
coordination meetings with product management teams to
ensure consistency and manage dependencies across teams.
The enterprise architect contributes to software development
by providing guidance to agile teams by producing high-
level technology and business roadmaps, which capture
the organization’s vision and by helping agile teams to
understand the overall vision. The strategy for working
with enterprise architects is to involve them passively in
development projects.
The key responsibilities of the enterprise architect are
supporting and collaborating closely with stakeholders
on a regular basis to understand their needs and to
develop the organization’s roadmap;
supporting and collaborating closely with agile teams
on a regular basis to guide them through the business
and technical roadmaps and help them to identify
potentially reusable assets and technical debts;
negotiating technical dependencies between solutions;
exploring architectural views; and
adopting and tailoring architectural frameworks.
The commitment of the enterprise architect is the passive
support of agile teams by providing guidance and roadmaps
[23], [28], [29], [30], [31], [32].
The EADAGP framework includes an event-driven gov-
ernance model, which provides a lightweight, lean, and
virtual governance model design. EADAGP introduces a
governance buffer zone, which aims to protect agile teams
from the slowness, friction, and rigidity of traditional IT
governance models. The agile governance buffer zone is a
subtractive layer that is realized by combining three different
styles of governance, namely top-down prescriptive gover-
nance (traditional IT governance), community governance,
and self-governance. The enterprise architect forms, along
with scrum master(s), PO(s), and the agile governance owner
the agile community team (ACT). This is a community
governance construct, responsible for governing multiple
agile teams that are aligned with one or more releases.
Within the ACT, the enterprise architect is concerned with
governance requirements that span multiple sprints or re-
leases and cross-sprint team coordination and collaboration.
Community governance, in particular the ACT, represents
the area of interest of the enterprise architect.
The main contributions of the enterprise architect are ad-
dressing governance requests, escalating them to IT gover-
nance if they cannot be addressed, and notifying agile teams
and IT governance for their agreement and/or approval.
The strategy for working with enterprise architects is to
involve them passively within the ACT so they can make
appropriate governance decisions and provide guidance.
The key responsibilities of the enterprise architect are
escalating governance issues to IT governance;
supporting agile teams by making appropriate gover-
nance decisions and providing guidance;
communicating governance decisions to enterprise IT
governance for their agreement;
supporting the governance backlog grooming process;
harmonizing governance requirements across sprints
and agile teams;
reporting technology and architecture require-
ments/issues to EA oversight for alignment and issue
resolution;
identifying security requirements and challenges that
may not have been pre-determined; and
raising potential compliance and risk requirements that
have to be reviewed and signed off by governance, risk
and compliance bodies, and EA sign offs.
The commitment of the enterprise architect is the passive
support of agile teams by protecting them from the slowness
and rigidity of traditional IT governance [33], [34].
B. The role of software architect
DSDM, SAFe, and DA 2.0 include the role of software
architects.
DSDM does not explicitly prescribe the role of software
architect but it does specify the role of a technical coordina-
tor, whose responsibilities can be allocated to more than one
person, e.g., a system architect. Thus, we will concentrate
on describing the role of the technical coordinator, which is
relevant to the role of a software architect.
As the project’s technical authority, the software architect’s
key concern is to ensure that the project is technically
coherent and meets the desired technical standards. The
software architect holds the business and technical visions
for the project.
The project level constitutes the area of interest of the
software architect. Therein, the software architect may be a
part of a project board or steering committee for the project.
Technical development and direction of the solution and
system architecture definitions are the software architect’s
main contributions.
The strategy for working with software architects is to
involve them as technical coordinators.
The responsibilities of the software architect are
agreeing and controlling the technical architecture;
identifying and owning architectural and other techni-
cally based risks;
working with business analysts to evaluate the technical
options and decide on the best way to turn the high-
level business requirements into a technical solution;
promoting standards for technical best practice;
acting as the final arbiter of technical differences be-
tween agile team members; and
defining the system architecture that constitutes the
technical framework within which the solution will be
developed and providing a high-level description of the
structure of that solution.
The commitment of the software architect is passive support
of agile teams [11], [35], [36].
SAFe’s key roles at the program level include the RTE,
product management, and system architect/engineer, here-
after the software architect. The software architect role is
filled by an individual or small team that has technical
responsibility for the overall architectural and engineering
design of the system and aligns ARTs with the common
technical and architectural vision for the solution under de-
velopment. The software architect participates in defining the
system, as well as any subsystems and interfaces, validating
technology assumptions, and evaluating alternatives. The
software architect works at a higher level of abstraction than
the teams and supports system development by providing,
communicating, and evolving the larger technological and
architectural view of the solution.
The system architect is concerned with executing the upfront
architecture design, guiding the emergent architecture for
all program teams, and defining the architectural runway
that supports new feature development, as well as providing
guidance for common solution behaviors, shared compo-
nents, and separation of concerns.
The program level, particularly the ART, represents the
software architect’s main area of interest.
The software architect contributes to software development
by working with agile teams and providing technical enable-
ment with respect to subsystems and capability areas under
the purview of the ART.
The strategy for working with software architects is to
involve them at program level.
The key responsibilities of the software architect are
defining NFRs, major system elements, subsystems,
and interfaces;
preparing the architecture vision briefing within the
program increment (PI) planning event;
presenting the architecture vision, which may include
descriptions of new architectural epics for common
infrastructure, any large-scale refactors under consid-
eration, and system-level NFRs; and
supporting the PO by refining the team backlog.
In addition, the software architect shares several common
responsibilities with the solution architect, which are
defining and refining NFRs, subsystems, and interfaces
to ensure that the solution meets relevant standards and
other system quality requirements;
defining subsystems and their interfaces, allocating
responsibilities to subsystems, understanding solution
deployment, and communicating requirements for in-
teractions with the solution context;
preparing for the PI planning event by updating enabler
definitions and models;
assisting with decision-making and sequencing of the
key technological infrastructures that will host the new
business functionality;
creating and supporting enabler epics by steering them
through the Kanban system, providing both the guid-
ance needed to analyze them and the information
needed to estimate and implement them;
working with portfolio stakeholders, particularly the en-
terprise architect, to develop, analyze, split, and realize
the implementation of enabler epics; and
planning and developing the architectural runway in
support of upcoming business features and capabilities.
The commitment of the software architect is the active
support of agile teams within the program level [22].
As already mentioned in Section II-B, DA 2.0 introduces
the AM role of architecture owner, which is typically the
software or solution architect, hereafter the software archi-
tect4. The software architect is concerned with owning ar-
chitecture decisions for the team and facilitating the creation
and evolution of the overall solution design.
The first two phases, namely the inception and transition
phases, as well as the ongoing process goals that occur
throughout the delivery life cycle represent the area of
interest of the software architect. The software architect
is involved during the inception phase by contributing to
exploration of the initial solution requirements, alignment of
the solution with both the business and technical directions
of the organization, and identification of the initial technical
strategy. During the construction phase of the solution, the
software architect updates the architectural handbook in the
iteration in which the features are delivered. The software
architect contributes to the goal of activity coordination
within the ongoing process goal by having regularly sched-
uled information meetings with the PO to share information
about work details, priorities, dependencies, and issues. The
software architect mainly contributes to the identification of
the initial technical strategy, definition of the architecture,
and development of technical aspects of the overall solution
architecture. The strategy for working with software archi-
tects is to involve them during the two first life cycle phases
and with ongoing process goals of DA 2.0.
The key responsibilities of the software architect are
guiding the creation and evolution of the solution
architecture that the team is working on;
mentoring and coaching other team members with best
practices of architecture;
understanding the architectural direction and standards
4Since DA 2.0 does not differentiates between the roles of software
architect and solution architect, we have merged the findings for both roles.
of the organization and helping to ensure that the agile
team adheres to them appropriately;
understanding existing enterprise assets such as frame-
works, patterns, and subsystems and ensuring that the
team uses them where appropriate;
ensuring that the solution will be easy to support by
encouraging good design and refactoring to minimize
technical debt;
ensuring that the solution is integrated and tested on a
regular basis, ideally via continuous integration;
working closely with the team lead to identify tech-
nical risks in the project and determining strategies to
mitigate them; and
leading the initial architecture envisioning effort at
the beginning of the project and supporting the initial
requirements envisioning effort.
The commitment of the software architect is the active
support of agile teams [23], [31], [32].
C. The role of solution architect
The role of solution architects is supported by DSDM,
SAFe, and DA 2.0.
As discussed previously in Section III-B, DSDM does not
include the architect roles explicitly. However, a solution
architect can also be allocated to the role of a technical
coordinator. Thus, we will describe the technical coordinator
characteristics that are relevant to the solution architect role.
The solution architect is concerned with definition of the
solution architecture.
Thus, the solution architecture represents the solution archi-
tect’s area of interest. Within DSDM, the solution archi-
tecture is set during the foundation phase, which makes a
preliminary investigation of the feasibility of the solution
and establishes a fundamental understanding of the business
rationale for the project and the potential solution. The solu-
tion architecture constitutes an evolutionary product, which
provides a high-level design framework for the solution. It
covers both business and technical aspects of the solution.
The main contribution of the solution architect is in the
definition of the solution architecture during the foundation
phase of the project.
The strategy for working with solution architects is to
involve them actively in defining the solution architecture
during the feasibility, foundation, evolutionary development,
and deployment phases.
The solution architect is responsible for the overall design
and integrity of the technical aspects of the solution, which
comprise the solution architecture.
The commitment of the solution architect is the active
support of agile teams by providing the definition of the
solution architecture [11], [35], [36].
At the value stream level, SAFe introduces additional
roles, namely solution management, VSE, and solution
architect/engineer, hereafter solution architect. The role of
solution architect is filled by cross-disciplinary teams that
take a systemwide view of solution development.
The solution architect is concerned with the overall archi-
tectural design of the solution, definition of the higher-level
functional and NFRs, determination of major components
and subsystems, and definition of interfaces.
The primary area of interest of the solution architect is the
value stream level.
As a technical leader, the solution architect contributes to the
entire solution under development by communicating and
evolving the larger technological and architectural view of
the solution and aligning the value stream and ARTs to a
common technological and architectural vision.
The strategy for working with solution architects is to
involve them actively and to enable their close collaboration
with business stakeholders, teams, customers, suppliers, and
third-party stakeholders.
Since the solution architect shares several common respon-
sibilities with the software architect in SAFe, we will only
describe responsibilities, which are exclusive to the solution
architect (see Section III-B for common responsibilities).
The exclusive responsibilities of the solution architect are
supporting the solution management by managing the
value stream kanban;
discussing upcoming enabler capabilities and epics with
the solution management;
defining the overarching architecture that connects the
solution across ARTs;
working with the system architect to guide the archi-
tecture developed by the ARTs;
ensuring technical alignment with the solution context,
including interfaces and constraints;
attending to the value stream and ART PI planning
events; and
updating progress toward milestones, program PI ob-
jectives, and dependencies among the ARTs
The commitment of the solution architect is the active
support of agile teams at value stream level [22].
D. The role of information architect
The role of information architect is only supported by
SAFe and EADAGP.
Within SAFe, the key concern of the information architect
is to participate in a shared services role in order to support
development by quickly bringing specialized expertise to
bear on areas of the system or solution that require unique
knowledge and skills.
The area of interest of the information architect is the ART
and value stream.
The main contribution of the information architect is to
support agile teams on the ART and to contribute to the
architectural runway. Along with a system architect, a scrum
master and one or two agile teams. They create the techno-
logical infrastructure to support the highest-priority features
in a near-term PI and the intentional architecture that guides
cross-team design and implementation synchronization.
The strategy for working with information architects is to
involve them actively in the project and to embed them
periodically in agile teams.
The responsibilities of the information architect are
participating in PI planning as well as in pre- and post-
PI planning;
driving requirements and taking ownership of depen-
dent backlog items;
collaborating with agile teams to fulfill dependencies
during PI executions; and
participating in system and solution demos.
The commitment of the information architect is the active
support of agile teams [22].
Within the EADAGP framework, the key concerns of the
information architect is participation within the ACT. The
information architect works on governance requirements that
cut cross multiple sprint teams or releases.
The area of interest of the information architect is the ACT.
The main contributions of the information architect is
providing information architecture governance requirements
that span multiple sprints or releases.
The strategy for working with information architects is to
involve them passively in the project.
The key responsibilities of the information architect are
escalating and communicating governance issues and
decisions to IT governance;
supporting agile teams by making appropriate gover-
nance decisions and providing guidance;
supporting the governance backlog grooming process;
harmonizing governance requirements across sprints
and agile teams;
surfacing technology and architecture requirements;
identifying security requirements and challenges that
may not have been pre-determined; and
raising potential compliance and risk issues.
The commitment of the information architect is the passive
support of agile teams and, thus, of software development
since the information architect is only responsible for im-
posing governance requirements on agile teams [33].
IV. DISCUSSION
We now discuss the main outcomes of our findings.
Increasing development speed by balancing emergent and
intentional architecture design. While some scaling agile
frameworks, e.g., LeSS, are against upfront architecture
design, other frameworks, such as DA 2.0 and SAFe,
endorse upfront architecture design and planning. While
they highlight the dangers of traditional architectural habits,
e.g., heavyweight documentations, tedious upfront design
approaches, and imposed architectural guidelines, they also
realize that some initial envisioning performed at the be-
ginning of the project can increase effectiveness and reduce
excessive redesign efforts as the teams are steered in the
intended direction. Only a close collaboration between agile
teams, software, solution, and enterprise architects can en-
able an optimal interplay of emergent design and intentional
architecture.
Finding the right balance between centralized and
decentralized architectural decision-making. Escalating any
type of architectural decision to higher levels of authority
increases delay and decreases the usefulness of the decision.
A balanced combination of centralized and decentralized
decision-making provides many benefits, e.g., faster time to
market and higher-quality products and services.
Sparing agile development from traditional IT gover-
nance. Some scaling agile frameworks, such as DSDM and
DA 2.0, recognize the real value of agility in terms of project
productivity and solution quality while acknowledging and
accepting necessary constraints, e.g., governance, architec-
ture, and infrastructure strategies, which often exist when
working in a corporate environment. However, traditional
governance models are slowing down agile teams in large
organizations. SAFe, EADAGP, and DA 2.0 recommend new
governance models that are collaborative, decentralized, and
light-weight. These new models allow teams to decentralize
their decision making and to govern themselves.
Ensuring the reuse of enterprise assets. Architects are
aware of existing enterprise assets, e.g., patterns and stan-
dards, which are available for reuse, and ensure that agile
teams utilize them where applicable. This accelerates the
development process and reduces time to market.
V. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK
In this study, we have motivated the need for scaling
existing agile methods to large-scale agile development due
to their deficiencies in inter-team coordination and commu-
nication. We have then presented a primary analysis of the
identified scaling agile frameworks. Based on our maturity
assessment, we have identified LeSS, SAFe, and DA 2.0 as
the most mature frameworks. Finally, we have extensively
characterized the different architect roles that have been
identified in scaling agile frameworks. Our findings indicate
that architects both actively and passively support agile
teams by driving architectural initiatives, participating in ar-
chitectural runways, harmonizing governance requirements,
and ensuring technical alignment in solution contexts. Future
research may analyze the challenges faced by architects
in scaling agile environments by conducting case studies
in organizations that can provide practical experience of
adopting scaling agile frameworks.
REFERENCES
[1] P. Weill and S. Woerner, “Thriving in an increasingly digital
ecosystem,” MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 56, no. 4,
p. 27, 2015.
[2] B. Sherehiy, W. Karwowski, and J. Layer, “A review of
enterprise agility: Concepts, frameworks, and attributes,In-
ternational Journal of industrial ergonomics, vol. 37, no. 5,
pp. 445–460, 2007.
[3] E. Overby, A. Bharadwaj, and V. Sambamurthy, “Enterprise
agility and the enabling role of information technology,
European Journal of Information Systems, vol. 15, no. 2, pp.
120–131, 2006.
[4] P. Kettunen, “Extending software project agility with new
product development enterprise agility,” Software Process:
Improvement and Practice, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 541–548, 2007.
[5] M. Alqudah and R. Razali, “A review of scaling agile methods
in large software development,International Journal on
Advanced Science, Engineering and Information Technology,
vol. 6, no. 6, pp. 28–35, 2016.
[6] A. Vaidya, “Does dad know best, is it better to do less or just
be safe? adapting scaling agile practices into the enterprise,”
PNSQC. ORG, pp. 828–837, 2014.
[7] “Agile architecture,” http://www.scaledagileframework.com/
agile-architecture/, accessed: 2017-04-26.
[8] M. Mocker, “What is complex about 273 applications? un-
tangling application architecture complexity in a case of
european investment banking,” in System Sciences, 2009.
HICSS’09. 42nd Hawaii International Conference on. IEEE,
2009, pp. 1–14.
[9] M. Waterman, “Reconciling agility and architecture: A theory
of agile architecture,” Ph.D. dissertation, Victoria University
of Wellington, 2014.
[10] J. Vom Brocke, A. Simons, B. Niehaves, K. Riemer, R. Plat-
tfaut, and A. Cleven, “Reconstructing the giant: On the
importance of rigour in documenting the literature search
process,” in ECIS, vol. 9, 2009, pp. 2206–2217.
[11] A. B. Consortium, The DSDM Agile Project Framework
Handbook. Agile Business Consortium, 2014.
[12] M. Fowler and J. Highsmith, “The agile manifesto,Software
Development, vol. 9, no. 8, pp. 28–35, 2001.
[13] P. Abrahamsson, O. Salo, J. Ronkainen, and J. Warsta, “Agile
software development methods: review and analysis,” VTT
Technical report, Tech. Rep., 2002.
[14] D. Leffingwell, Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for
Large Enterprises (The Agile Software Development Series).
Addison-Wesley Professional, 2007.
[15] T. Dyb˚
a and T. Dingsøyr, “Empirical studies of agile soft-
ware development: A systematic review,Inf. Softw. Technol.,
vol. 50, no. 9-10, pp. 833–859, Aug. 2008.
[16] M. Lindvall, D. Muthig, A. Dagnino, C. Wallin, M. Stup-
perich, D. Kiefer, J. May, and T. Kahkonen, “Agile soft-
ware development in large organizations,” Computer, vol. 37,
no. 12, pp. 26–34, 2004.
[17] K. Dikert, M. Paasivaara, and C. Lassenius, “Challenges and
success factors for large-scale agile transformations: A sys-
tematic literature review,” Journal of Systems and Software,
vol. 119, pp. 87–108, 2016.
[18] T. Dingsøyr and N. Moe, Towards Principles of Large-
Scale Agile Development. Cham: Springer International
Publishing, 2014, pp. 1–8.
[19] K. Petersen and C. Wohlin, “The effect of moving from a
plan-driven to an incremental software development approach
with agile practices,” Empirical Softw. Engg., vol. 15, no. 6,
pp. 654–693, Dec. 2010.
[20] E. Bjarnason, K. Wnuk, and B. Regnell, “A case study on
benefits and side-effects of agile practices in large-scale re-
quirements engineering,” in Proceedings of the 1st Workshop
on Agile Requirements Engineering, ser. AREW ’11. New
York, NY, USA: ACM, 2011, pp. 31–35.
[21] B. V. Craig Larman, “Scaling agile development,CrossTalk,
pp. 8–12, 2013.
[22] D. Leffingwell, A. Yakyma, R. Knaster, D. Jemilo, and
I. Oren, SAFe R
4.0 Reference Guide: Scaled Agile
Framework R
for Lean Software and Systems Engineering.
Addison-Wesley Professional, 2016.
[23] S. Ambler and M. Lines, Disciplined agile delivery: A prac-
titioner’s guide to agile software delivery in the enterprise.
IBM Press, 2012.
[24] V. Haren, TOGAF Version 9.1. Van Haren Publishing, 2011.
[25] P. A. Khosroshahi, M. Hauder, A. Schneider, and F. Matthes,
“Enterprise architecture management pattern catalog version
2.0,” Technische Universit¨
at M¨
unchen, Tech. Rep., 2015.
[26] E. Andersen, K. Grude, and T. Haug, Goal directed project
management: effective techniques and strategies. Kogan
Page Publishers, 2009.
[27] J. R. Turner, People in project management. Gower Publish-
ing Company, 2003.
[28] S. Ambler and M. Lines, “Scaling agile software develop-
ment: Disciplined agility at scale,” Disciplined Agile Consor-
tium, Tech. Rep., 2014.
[29] ——, “The disciplined agile process decision framework,”
in International Conference on Software Quality. Springer,
2016, pp. 3–14.
[30] ——, “Going beyond scrum disciplined agile delivery,” Dis-
ciplined Agile Consortium, Tech. Rep., 2013.
[31] ——, “Scaling agile software development tactically: Disci-
plined agile delivery at scale,” Disciplined Agile Consortium,
Tech. Rep., 2016.
[32] “Disciplined agile 2.x: A process decision framework,” http:
//www.disciplinedagiledelivery.com/, accessed: 2017-04-26.
[33] E. Marks, “Governing enterprise agile development without
slowing it down: Achieving friction-free scaled agile gover-
nance via event- driven governance,” AgilePath Corporation,
Tech. Rep., 2014.
[34] ——, “A lean non-functional requirements (nfr) framework:
A common framework for governance, risk and compliance as
well as traditional nfrs,” AgilePath Corporation, Tech. Rep.,
2017.
[35] A. B. Consortium, DSDM Atern Handbook. Agile Business
Consortium, 2008.
[36] A. Craddock, K. Richards, D. Tudor, B. Roberts, and J. God-
win, “The dsdm agile project framework for scrum,” DSDM
Consortium, Tech. Rep., 2012.
... [32,95]), and typical roles involved in large-scale agile endeavors (cf. [43,99]). Various researchers also conducted systematic literature reviews and multi-vocal literature reviews on scaling frameworks to identify challenges, benefits, and success factors related to the adoption of scaling frameworks (cf. ...
... Inspired by Yang et al. [104], the second intervention search set entails terms of large-scale agile development methods and frameworks. We used the results of Uludag et al. [99] to obtain a list of these methods and frameworks. Following this strategy, we conducted a series of tests and refinements in the preliminary search. ...
... We used the taxonomy of Dingsøyr et al. [35] to determine whether a setting was small-scale, large-scale, or very large-scale. To extract data related to the applied development and scaling approaches sub-data item, we applied an integrated approach [28] and used the lists of Abrahamsson et al. [3] and Uludag et al. [99] for agile development and scaling approaches and refined the initial lists as new approaches were identified in the studies. ...
Article
Full-text available
Context Success with agile methods in the small scale has led to an increasing adoption also in large development undertakings and organizations. Recent years have also seen an increasing amount of primary research on the topic, as well as a number of systematic literature reviews. However, there is no systematic overview of the whole research field. Objective This work identifies, classifies, and evaluates the state of the art of research in large-scale agile development. Methods We conducted a systematic mapping study and rigorously selected 136 studies. We designed a classification framework and extracted key information from the studies. We synthesized the obtained data and created an overview of the state of the art. Results This work contributes with (i) a description of large-scale agile endeavors reported in the industry, (ii) a systematic map of existing research in the field, (iii) an overview of influential studies, (iv) an overview of the central research themes, and (v) a research agenda for future research. Conclusion This study portrays the state of the art in large-scale agile development and offers researchers and practitioners a reflection of the past thirteen years of research and practice on the large-scale application of agile methods.
... Based on the EAVF and existing literature on benefits of EA, a questionnaire has been developed that can be used to identify perceived benefits towards the goals of an organisation. Earlier work provided insight into the apparent gaps between EA and agile teams (Duijs, Ravesteijn, and van Steenbergen 2018;Shirazi, Darvish Rouhani, and Shirazi 2009) and the roles of EA in agile organisation (Uludag et al. 2017) but a link between value perception of EA and practices to better connect EA to agile teams is, to the best of our knowledge, not researched. ...
... Other have posed requirements for adding value to the organisation (Cammin, Heilig, and Voß 2021; Elssamadisy 2013; Guo et al. 2021.). Uludag (Uludag et al. 2017(Uludag et al. , 2019Uludag, Philipp, et al. 2021) has provided a wide array of best practices and a number of responsibilities that EA has in large-scale agile transformations and the expectations what EA should do to support work. ...
... The need for acquisition and maintenance of skills for EA practitioners are highlighted by numerous publications (Hauder et al. 2014; The Open Group n.d.; Uludag et al. 2017Uludag et al. , 2019. Hauder stated that high education permits the EA team to speak the same language as stakeholders and information providers. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Agile methodologies in software development are quickly becoming the norm and a majority in the industry considers an agile approach in Enterprise Architecture (EA) appropriate and that EA should adjust to agile ways of working. However, organisations may struggle to match the EA practice to the stakeholders' changing expectations. In this research, we conducted a survey to the perceived value of EA using the Enterprise Architecture Value Framework (EAVF) in a financial institution in the Netherlands followed up by a Delphi study to find best practices and practical handles that may improve the connection between EA and its stakeholders.
... Due to the high practical relevance of agile scaling frameworks for companies introducing agile methods at scale, researchers have increasingly begun to study the adoption of these frameworks in organizations [59]. For example, [56] compare twenty agile scaling frameworks, such as LeSS, Nexus, and SAFe, and assess their maturity levels based on the number of case studies reporting them as well as available documentation, training courses or certifications. [1] compares agile scaling frameworks, such as LeSS, Nexus, and Spotify, based on their characteristics. ...
... The second section included questions on the organization's transformation background, such as the development methods used before adopting a scaling framework. In the next three sections, we asked the participants to assess their agreement regarding their own organization on a list of reasons, expected and realized benefits, and challenges, which were consolidated based on three previous studies on agile and large-scale agile development [54,56,60]. Additionally, in each of the three sections, we included an open-ended question to write-in other reasons, benefits, and challenges experienced/witnessed respectively to limit the anchoring effect. ...
... SAFe [49], LeSS [7], and S@S [23] are well supported with coaching and guidance in contrast to internally created methods and Spotify [4]. For instance, their official websites list many training and consulting partners to support their adoption [56]. Therefore, SAFe, LeSS, and S@S had statistically higher agreement for the reason, (iii) because it is well supported by coaching, training, and guidance over internally created methods and Spotify. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: The benefits of agile methods in small, co-located projects have inspired their adoption in large firms and projects. Scaling frameworks, such as Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), have been proposed by practitioners to scale agile to larger contexts, and become rather widely adopted in the industry. Despite the popularity of the frameworks, the knowledge on the reasons, expected benefits, and satisfaction of organizations adopting them is still limited. Aims: This paper presents a study of practitioners who have adopted an agile scaling framework in their organization and investigates the reasons for, expected benefits of, and the satisfaction level with the adoption of the selected framework. Method: We conducted a survey of software practitioners. We received data from 204 respondents representing ten frameworks adopted in 26 countries and located in six continents. Results: The results show that SAFe is the most widely adopted framework among our respondents. The two most commonly mentioned reasons for adopting agile scaling frameworks are to scale to more people and to remain competitive in the market. The most common expected benefits are improving the collaboration and dependency management between teams. We also found some unique reasons and expected benefits for the framework adoption, such as inculcating an agile mindset, addressing the needs of regulated environments, dissolving silos, and technical excellence. Our findings indicated statistically significant differences for reasons, expected benefits, and satisfaction between different frameworks. Most of our respondents report that the selected framework met their expectations. Conclusions: This paper offers the first quantitative assessment of reasons, expected benefits, and satisfaction of firms for adopting
... Studies in the area of IS focus, for instance, on the importance of having defined roles and their effect on involvement, commitment, and personal responsibility, as well as on the need for ongoing refinement of role definitions [23]. Other studies outline the precise and diverse role definitions in practical frameworks like SAFe and Scrum [15] or focus on specific roles like the architect [24]. Although defining the nature of roles as self-organizing and enabling has become a hallmark of agile methods, less attention is paid to the development of agile roles. ...
... Our research provides several theoretical implications. First, the study extends the theoretical investigation of roles in agile transformations and follows the call for a theoretical analysis of agile role development [24], [15], [12]. This study goes beyond the current research by looking behind the fixed roles offered by frameworks and linking the agile values and principles to the agile role development process. ...
Chapter
Design knowledge on agile role development is still nascent. Following the call for a theoretical and empirical investigation into the formation of roles in agile transformations, we elicited three design goals, six design principles and defined the pathway to achieving these goals. Our concept provides new insights into the dynamic and cohesive character of agile roles and adds role development as a key activity to the core of agile transformation. The results are based on a qualitative research methodology and design science research. We contribute to theory by providing a grounded approach for the situational development of dynamic agile roles based on design goals and principles, while practice can profit from the approach as our concept provides greater flexibility than the strict role definitions of agile frameworks.
... However, the concept has always referred to issues in technical artifacts, while similar issues were perceived in EA practice [10]. These issues can be raised by the increasing use of agile methods in organizations and the simultaneous reduction of EA conception phases to define proper target architectures [17]. One reason is the tendency of product owners to prefer short-term business value over solid architectural solutions, while enterprise architects lack effective means to propagate long-term architectural solutions [18]. ...
Conference Paper
The Enterprise Architecture (EA) discipline evolved during the past two decades and is now established in a large number of companies. Architectures in these companies changed over time and are now the result of a long creation and maintenance process. Such architectures still contain processes and services provided by legacy IT systems (e.g., systems, applications) that were reasonable during the time they were created but might now hamper the introduction of better solutions. In order to support handling those legacies, research on the notion of EA debts has been started. The concept of EA debts widens the scope of technical debts to cover also organizational aspects offering a mean for managing EA in dynamic environments. The research encompasses the development of methods for managing debts together with a repository of typical EA debts. Identifying EA debts for the repository is challenging as required knowledge is usually not documented. Therefore, a structured approach is needed to externalize this knowledge. The paper presents a workshop format that is used to identify EA debts in organizations. Corresponding workshops are performed in two distinct companies to support them in understanding certain issues they face. First results from those workshops are presented in the second part of the paper.
Article
Restrictions imposed by the COVID‐19 pandemic have forced many to seek alternative means of training and learning, which ended up with increasing investment in the notion of the metaverse. Metaverse is envisioned as the next iteration of the Internet in which the virtual and the real world are blended to materialize a highly immersive experience. Not surprisingly, perhaps, next‐generation training and education systems are concerned with methods to integrate themselves into metaverse environments. In particular, participants are looking for more interactive and flexible training while maintaining a degree of educational content and high quality for their training plans and interactive workflows. In this paper, we conducted research to explore the role of metaverse in employee training. To this end, we utilized a variant of PlaySAFe (i.e., a 3D game) to investigate its metaverse adoption and usage. A qualitative design was adopted, using semistructured interviews to explore practitioners' experiences using the new version of PlaySAFe. After having it played in an industrial setting, we interviewed a group of software practitioners to compare the actual and expected features. This research has explored the pros and cons of using the current technologies for the practical groundwork of SAFe training. Findings from this research suggest that the metaverse holds the potential to deliver improved practical alignment in training and education programs, but that at the present time, practitioners expect more metaverse compatible features. The metaverse holds great potential to deliver improved practical alignment in training and education programs. The practitioners expect more metaverse‐compatible features.
Chapter
Agile software development is already widespread in the industry and has worked well in small project organizations. However, large-scale development in the form of roles and workflows is needed for large-scale development, especially in the area of software architecture. Software architecture, and more broadly Enterprise architecture, is critical to achieving the expected success of software projects and products. However, during agile software development, for example, Scrum, no positions are created in the team for Software architects. In this paper, we present the results of the analysis of frameworks that consider the position of Software architect, such as the SAFe method, where several positions of architects are created such as Enterprise architect, Chief architect, Administrative architect, Team architect, as well as frameworks in which the position of Software architect, for example, Scrum, is not officially created. In the second case, we examined the intersection of the activities of the Software architect with the Product owner. The results of the research show that Software architects play an important role during agile software development, despite the fact that in some agile approaches they are hidden in other position.
Chapter
Rapidly increasing of requirements of business pushed researchers to define new approaches and methodologies to meet marketing needs. Agile methodology has been created and replaced the traditional-driven development methods that focus on soliciting, documenting a complete set of requirements, and take a long time comparing to market change. On the other hand, customers need to be closer to the development process and collaborate with team development. Despite agile advantages, introducing new tools, coordination, and collaboration concepts, some challenges still need to be discussed and improved. These challenges relate to achieve balanced IT service development process in the organization. As a result, new trends have been created to facilitate new changes in software development. This chapter will study agile methodologies and different challenges with suggested solutions generated from agile philosophy itself.
Article
Full-text available
Many organizations have embraced agile methods. Studies show a trend of large-scale application of agile frameworks company-wide. Emergent architecture design as part of an agile approach is effective at the project level but causes issues when services need to interact seamlessly at the enterprise level. Enterprise architecture (EA) can provide such coherence. Combining the scaling agile methods with EA is challenging. However, such a combination could benefit from the flexibility that agile approaches offer and provide the consistency and long-term focus that EA pursues. This article uses the longitudinal case study research to explore how organizations can effectively govern Agile and EA in large-scale agile transformations. Our case analysis shows that methods for scaling Agile do not provide sufficient guidance to properly handle the transformation from existing EA practices to an Agile EA combination company-wide. We propose how EA can be applied effectively in large-scale agile transformations despite the two seemingly conflicting approaches of Agile and EA. Based on our findings, we propose a conceptual model for future research that incorporates factors that take EA into account in the governance of agile-scaling frameworks. Our findings extend current literature on coordination mechanisms between architects and agile teams in large-scale agile transformations, thereby balancing emergent and intentional architectures.
Article
Full-text available
Context With an increase in Agile, Lean, and DevOps software methodologies over the last years (collectively referred to as Continuous Software Development (CSD)), we have observed that documentation is often poor. Objective This work aims at collecting studies on documentation challenges, documentation practices, and tools that can support documentation in CSD. Method A systematic mapping study was conducted to identify and analyze research on documentation in CSD, covering publications between 2001 and 2019. Results A total of 63 studies were selected. We found 40 studies related to documentation practices and challenges, and 23 studies related to tools used in CSD. The challenges include: informal documentation is hard to understand, documentation is considered as waste, productivity is measured by working software only, documentation is out-of-sync with the software and there is a short-term focus. The practices include: non-written and informal communication, the usage of development artifacts for documentation, and the use of architecture frameworks. We also made an inventory of numerous tools that can be used for documentation purposes in CSD. Overall, we recommend the usage of executable documentation, modern tools and technologies to retrieve information and transform it into documentation, and the practice of minimal documentation upfront combined with detailed design for knowledge transfer afterwards. Conclusion It is of paramount importance to increase the quantity and quality of documentation in CSD. While this remains challenging, practitioners will benefit from applying the identified practices and tools in order to mitigate the stated challenges.
Article
Full-text available
Agile methods such as Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Extreme Programming (XP), SCRUM, Agile Modeling (AM) and Crystal Clear enable small teams to execute assigned task at their best. However, larger organizations aim at incorporating more Agile methods owing to the fact that its application is prevalently tailored for small teams. The scope in which large firms are interested will extend the original Agile methods to include larger teams, coordination, communication among teams and customers as well as oversight. Determining particular software method is always challenging for software companies especially when considering start-up, small to medium or large enterprises. Most of large organizations develop large-scale projects by teams of teams or teams of teams of teams. Therefore, most recognized Agile methods or first-generation methods such as XP and SCRUM need to be modified before they are employed in large organizations; which is not an easy task. Accomplishing said task would necessitate large organizations to pick and select from the scaling Agile methods in accommodating a single vision for large and multiple teams. Deciding the right choice requires wholesome understanding of the method including its strengths and weaknesses as well as when and how it makes sense. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to review the existing literature of the utilized scaling Agile methods by defining, discussing and comparing them. In-depth reviews on the literature were performed to juxtapose the methods in impartial manner. In addition, the content analysis was used to analyse the resultant data. The result indicated that the DAD, LeSS, LeSS huge, SAFe, Spotify, Nexus and RAGE are the adopted scaling Agile methods at large organizations. They seem to be similar but there are discrepancies among them that take the form of team size, training and certification, methods and practices adopted, technical practices required and organizational type.
Article
Full-text available
Science is a cumulative endeavour as new knowledge is often created in the process of interpreting and combining existing knowledge. This is why literature reviews have long played a decisive role in scholarship. The quality of literature reviews is particularly determined by the literature search process. As Sir Isaac Newton eminently put it: “If I can see further, it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants.” Drawing on this metaphor, the goal of writing a literature review is to reconstruct the giant of accumulated knowledge in a specific domain. And in doing so, a literature search represents the fundamental first step that makes up the giant’s skeleton and largely determines its reconstruction in the subsequent literature analysis. In this paper, we argue that the process of searching the literature must be comprehensibly described. Only then can readers assess the exhaustiveness of the review and other scholars in the field can more confidently (re)use the results in their own research. We set out to explore the methodological rigour of literature review articles published in ten major information systems (IS) journals and show that many of these reviews do not thoroughly document the process of literature search. The results drawn from our analysis lead us to call for more rigour in documenting the literature search process and to present guidelines for crafting a literature review and search in the IS domain.
Article
Full-text available
Agile methods have become an appealing alternative for companies striving to improve their performance, but the methods were originally designed for small and individual teams. This creates unique challenges when introducing agile at scale, when development teams must synchronize their activities, and there might be a need to interface with other organizational units. In this paper we present a systematic literature review on how agile methods and lean software development has been adopted at scale, focusing on reported challenges and success factors. We conducted a systematic literature review of industrial large-scale agile transformations. Our keyword search found 1875 papers. We included 52 publications describing 42 industrial cases presenting the process of taking large-scale agile development into use. 90% of the included papers were experience reports, indicating a lack of sound academic research on the topic. We identified 35 reported challenges grouped into nine categories, and 29 success factors, grouped into eleven categories. The most salient success factor categories were management support, choosing and customizing the agile model, training and coaching, and mindset and alignment.
Article
Full-text available
Agile - denoting "the quality of being agile; readiness for motion; nimbleness, activity, dexterity in motion" - software development methods are attempting to offer an answer to the eager business community asking for lighter weight along with faster and nimbler software development processes. This is especially the case with the rapidly growing and volatile Internet software industry as well as for the emerging mobile application environment. The new agile methods have evoked a substantial amount of literature and debates. However, academic research on the subject is still scarce, as most of existing publications are written by practitioners or consultants. The aim of this publication is to begin filling this gap by systematically reviewing the existing literature on agile software development methodologies. This publication has three purposes. First, it proposes a definition and a classification of agile software development approaches. Second, it analyses ten software development methods that can be characterized as being "agile" against the defined criteria. Third, it compares these methods and highlights their similarities and differences. Based on this analysis, future research needs are identified and discussed.
Conference Paper
We present a case study on scaling Scrum in a large globally distributed software development project at Nokia, a global telecommunications company. We discuss how the case project scaled Scrum while growing from two collocated Scrum teams to 20 teams located in four countries and employing a total of 170 persons. Moreover, we report scaling challenges the case project faced during this 2,5 year journey. We gathered data by 19 semi-structured interviews of project personnel from two sites, interviewees comprising different roles including managers, architects, product owners, developers and testers. The project was highly successful from the business point of view, as agile enabled fast response to customer requirements. However, the project faced significant challenges in scaling Scrum despite attempts at applying the Large-scale Scrum (LeSS) framework. The organization experimented with different ways of implementing scaling practices like implementing common sprint planning meetings, Scrum-of-Scrums meetings, common demos and common retrospectives, as well as scaling the Product Owner role. We conclude the paper by reflecting on the scaling approach used in the case organization in contrast to the LeSS framework.
Conference Paper
The Disciplined Agile 2.0 process decision framework [1] provides light-weight guidance to help organizations streamline their information technology (IT) processes in a context-sensitive manner. It does this by showing how various activities such as solution delivery, operations, enterprise architecture, portfolio management, and many others work together in a cohesive whole. The framework also describes what these activities should address, provides a range of options for doing so, and describes the tradeoffs associated with each option. Every person, every team, and every organization is unique, therefore process frameworks must provide choices, not prescribe answers.
Article
Many organizations have adopted agile strategies to some extent, often applying simple methods such as Scrum on a few software development projects. Although they have succeeded on a handful of projects-clearly a good start-they now want to scale agile to address enterprise-class solutions. As the old saying goes about success, "What got you here is not going to get you to the next level." This article explores several important issues when it comes to applying agile strategies at scale. First, it explores what it means to scale agile. Our experience is that without this understanding it is incredibly difficult to come to an agreement as to how to tailor agile strategies to meet your needs at scale. Second, we overview the Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) process decision framework and show how it provides a solid foundation from which to scale agile. Third, we explore how DAD's (process) goal-driven approach is the key for scaling agile solution delivery. Fourth, we warn you of the dangers of assuming that you just need to adopt a few new practices. Fifth, we review some survey-based evidence that summarizes the experiences of the industry when it comes to applying agile at scale.
Article
Since 2005 we have worked with clients to apply the Scrum framework and to help scale agile development to product groups involving from a few hundred to a few thousand people, in multiple sites. This is organized as large-scale Scrum frameworks 1 and 2, summarized in this article and elaborated on in our two-volume book series on very large-scale agile development.
Article
Facilitating change is more effective than attempting to prevent it. Learn to trust in your ability to respond to unpredictable events; it's more important than trusting in your ability to plan for disaster. In the past 12–18 months, a wide range of publications—Software Development, IEEE Software, Cutter IT Journal, Software Testing and Quality Engineering, and even The Economist—has published articles on what Martin Fowler calls the New Methodology (see www.martinfowler.com/articles/newMethodology.html), reflecting a growing interest in these new approaches to software development (Extreme Programming, Crystal Methodologies, SCRUM, Adaptive Software Development, Feature-Driven Development and Dynamic Systems Development Methodology among them). In addition to these "named" methodologies, scores of organizations have developed their own "lighter" approach to building software. Formation of the Agile Alliance On February 11–13, 2001, at The Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in the Wasatch mountains of Utah, 17 people met to talk, ski, relax and try to find common ground. What emerged was the Agile Software Development Alliance. A bigger gathering of organizational anarchists would be hard to find, so what emerged from this meeting was symbolic—a Manifesto for Agile Software Development—signed by all participants. Although the Manifesto provides some specifics, a deeper theme drives many Alliance members. At the close of the two-day meeting, Extreme Programming mentor Bob Martin joked that he was about to make a "mushy" statement. Though tinged with humor, Bob's sentiments were shared by the group—we all enjoyed working with people who shared compatible goals and values based on mutual trust and respect, promoting collaborative, people-focused organizational models, and building the types of professional communities in which we would want to work. The agile methodology movement is not anti-methodology; in fact, many of us want to restore credibility to the word. We also want to restore a balance: We embrace modeling, but not merely to file some diagram in a dusty corporate repository. We embrace documentation, but not to waste reams of paper in never-maintained and rarely-used tomes. We plan, but recognize the limits of planning in a turbulent environment. Those who brand proponents of XP, SCRUM or any of the other agile methodologies as "hackers" are ignorant of both the methodologies and the original definition of the term (a "hacker" was first defined as a programmer who enjoys solving complex programming problems, rather than someone who practices ad hoc development or destruction).