University of Oulu

Empirical studies on agile software development : a systematic literature review

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Author: Edet, Imoh1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Pages: 55
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : I. Edet, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-12
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Ahmad, Muhammad
Reviewer: Ahmad, Muhammad
Kelanti, Markus


Agile software development is regarded a major shift from the traditional or plan driven software development methodology to an iterative methodology. Such iterative development methods are deemed suitable to the ever-changing software requirements. Agile is not intended to abolish the already established traditional methods. It is in contrast to the former method of software development which constitutes extensive planning and documentation, codified processes, and rigorous development process. More than two decades on, the emergence of agile software development continues to gain support from enthusiast both in the industry and academia. This is because of the numerous advantages like improved software quality, speed of product delivery, and reduced cost. However, there is need for up-to-date study on the state-of-art of agile software development in scientific literature.

The goal of this thesis is to identify current studies on agile software development and present findings on its benefits and challenges. A systematic literature review was conducted on empirical studies on agile software development published between January 2006 and December 2017. The data was obtained from four different electronic databases, i.e. ACM, IEEE Xplore, Web of Science, and Springer. The search strategy identified 6608 papers, of which 25 primary papers were identified as being relevant to the focus of this thesis. The 25 primary papers were group under two common themes: introduction and adoption of agile software development, and software development team.

The result shows that agile software development continues to receive wider reception in many projects, both in co-located and distributed software development settings. This is due to the many benefits of agile software development, such as: boosting communication, improve collaboration, improve physical and psychological wellbeing of team members, minimize rework, quick delivery, and enhance management and coordination. However, the result also reveals some challenges in using agile software development in projects. For example; distance between people involved in the project, lack of knowledge and support, collective decision making.

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