CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Computing and Engineering

Advisor

Martha M. Snyder

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Committee Member

Mike Lohle

Abstract

Agile approaches to software development have increased steadily over the past decade. Agile processes emphasize iterative and collaborative discovery of requirements and solutions executed by self-organizing, cross-functional teams. Software development using distributed teams, including distributed sub-teams, fully dispersed teams, and partially dispersed teams, has also increased due to benefits such as access to global talent and faster delivery, among others.

However, most Agile approaches, models, and frameworks only address the needs of colocated teams. Distributed teams come with unique challenges when it comes to effective collaboration. The goal was to construct and validate internally a model for the effective collaboration of distributed Agile teams. A Design Science Research (DSR) approach was implemented in three phases. First, a preliminary model was constructed based on a review of the literature and the researcher’s experience and expertise in Agile methods. Second, a needs assessment was conducted with stakeholders to further develop the model. Third, the model was updated based on the survey results and validated internally using the Delphi Method. The model was created to help identify the challenges and solutions associated with the three primary types of Agile distribution. These types of distribution included distributed teams, distributed team members, and hybrid compositions.

The model was divided into four main categories: tools, roles, events, and artifacts. Each category contained the collaboration challenges and solutions relating to each composition type. The final distributed Agile collaboration model was designed to help Agile practitioners and managers working in a distributed environment to collaborate effectively. The model was designed to be applied as per the needs of the distributed Agile teams. A five-step implementation process was recommended for teams to use the model: 1) Identify the team’s composition type, 2) Select and prioritize the challenges affecting the team, 3) Identify the applicable solutions included in the model, 4) Create a solution implementation plan, 5) Inspect the impact the solution has and adapt according to the observations.

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