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Explaining the Emergence of Team Agility: A Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective
Purpose: Agile software development helps software producing organizations to respond to manifold challeng-es. While prior research focused on agility as a project or process phenomenon, we suggest that agility is an emergent phenomenon on the team level. Research approach: Using the theory of complex adaptive systems (CASs), we capture the multiple influencing levels of software development teams (SDTs) and their interplay with self-organization and emergence. We investigate three agile SDTs in different contextual environments that participate with four or more different roles each. Findings: The results suggest self-organization as a central process when understanding team agility. While contextual factors often provide restriction on self-organization, they can help the team to enhance its autono-my. Research implications: Our theoretical contributions result from the development and test of theory-grounded propositions and the investigation of mature agile development teams. Practical implications: Our findings help practitioners to improve the cost-effectiveness ratio of their team’s operations. Originality: The study provides empirical evidence for the emergence of team agility in agile SDTs. Using the lens of CAS; the study suggests the importance of the team's autonomy.