The Challenges of Becoming Agile: Implementing and Conducting Scrum in Integrated Product Development

Nis Ovesen

Publikation: Ph.d.-afhandling

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“In today's fast-paced, fiercely competitive world of commercial new product development, speed and flexibility are essential. Companies are increasingly realizing that the old, sequential approach to developing new products simply won't get the job done.” (Takeuchi & Nonaka, 1986)

Now twenty-five years old, the statement from the 1986-edition of Harvard Business Review seems more true than ever before. Commercial markets are moving faster and faster, and time as a strategic source of competitive advantage is receiving increasing attention (Souza et al., 2004). This is the present condition for development teams – and it is the point of departure for this research project.
Heavy up-front planning represents a long management tradition in product development environments throughout the world. Gantt charts and Stage-Gate process models have become widely known industry standards and best practices. However, the basic concept of these defined process control models, which can be summarised as “plan your work and work your plan”, often seems inappropriate when applied to development activities with just a small amount of uncertainty attached. This research project therefore seeks to investigate the use of a radically different and empirically based process control model originating from the domain of software development, namely the process framework called Scrum.
Scrum as a process framework is often identified with the overall development paradigm coined as Agile Development and during the last decade it has gained a vast success in software development due to its lightweight character and efficient way of handling the challenges of increased market speed, change and product complexity. Now, traditional product development companies are beginning to discover the Scrum framework as a potential solution to their struggles with similar challenges.
This Ph.D. project is based on case studies of the development environments of seven Danish companies working with the implementation of Scrum. The outcome of the project is an identification and overview of the challenges of implementing and conducting Scrum in physical product development experienced from both a design team’s perspective and an organisational perspective.
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2012


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