Agile software development approach for 'ad-hoc' IT projects
Keywords:project management, agile, software development, systems engineering, Scrum, adaptation
Restrictive Scrum assumptions make the effectiveness of this approach debatable in projects deviating from typical execution conditions. This article delivers a comprehensive software development approach for both academic and commercial Information Technology (IT) projects effectuated by teams that are hampered by significantly unsystematic participation of project members and mercurial internal communication. The nature of ‘ad-hoc’ projects imposes another level of difficulty in terms of both managing the conduct of such a project and ensuring the quality of the end product. Multicyclic action research enabled a gradual adaptation of the Scrum approach to support such project conditions. This study introduces major alterations to Sprint implementation and minor enhancements within the documentation process to streamline knowledge sharing among Development Team members. Proposed key alterations include the evolution of Daily Scrum towards Weekly Scrum, the possibility of extending Sprints length, the eventuality to switch team members during Sprint due to substantial failure to meet deadlines, having at least two team members responsible for a single Product Backlog Item (PBI) at all times, as well as exclusion of Burndown Chart in favor for Development Team members updating their working time. Positive validation of enhancements in mixed settings confirms that the generic Scrum framework can be adapted to support highly volatile projects. The proposed approach is suitable not only for carrying out software development initiatives that rely heavily on the skills of external experts and/or volunteers. It also supports traditional Scrum teams that seek to reduce their exposure to risk arising from organizational changes.