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How Can (Large Scale) Agile be Effectively Adopted and Scaled Up in Dutch Public Sector Organisations

Bolhuis, W.T.C. (2021) How Can (Large Scale) Agile be Effectively Adopted and Scaled Up in Dutch Public Sector Organisations.

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Abstract:The goal of this paper is to aid Dutch public sector organisations in making more effective use of (large scale) agile. This research was executed in two steps inspired by the design science research methodology (DSRM). The first main step was a literature review of existing scientific and non-scientific literature on (large scale) agile. The second step was a multiple case study in which members of four Dutch public sector project, programmes, or organisations were interviewed. The current scientific literature on (large scale) agile and (large scale) agile related subjects is very minimal as it is still a very young subject. Eight (large scale) agile approaches have been defined and discussed in the literature study of which two were encountered during the multiple case study. A total of 20 success factors and 36 challenges of (large scale) agile were found split over eight and ten categories respectively. A total of 22 employees split over four different cases were interviewed. 21 of these participants filled in a 17 question survey to gain a first insight into the current state of (large scale) agile in their (sub)organisation. Participants from all different roles within (large scale) agile project, programmes, or organisations were interviewed. Based on the survey results, participants seemed to be motivated in their work and think (large scale) agile was fitting to their work. However they also felt the way of working in their (sub)organisation could be improved. As could management support, communication, and knowledge sharing. Based on the interview results, short iterations, constant steering, customer involvement, and close communication were found as the strongest points of (large scale) agile. On the other hand within the cases a mismatch between the organisation and (large scale) agile, a distance to the user, and a lack of trust were the most commonly raised issues. In general all participants of the multiple case study found (large scale) agile would be a fitting way of working to their (sub)organisation. This paper finds an effective (large scale) agile adoption is achieved when a Dutch public sector organisation has a willingness to change, makes use of (large scale) agile iterative evaluation tools, is well informed and trained, has executive sponsorship for a transition, and is mindful about their transition. Eight core values of (large scale) agile are defined which should form a strong basis for a successful (large scale) agile adoption within Dutch public sector (sub)organisations. Dutch public sector organisations seem to lack the right experience and knowledge of (large scale) agile to effectively adopt (large scale) agile in a broader sense. However, participants of the multiple case study indicate this could greatly benefit the Dutch public sector (sub)organisations. There seems to be a lacking urgency from the side of higher and middle management to adjust the way of working to more closely support the goals of current projects, programmes, or organisations. Especially the (large scale) agile principle to frequently adjust not only the product and the steps to get there, but also the utilised processes is seen as a major strength of (large scale) agile. Even though utilisation of (large scale) agile would be beneficial to Dutch public sector project, programmes, and organisations, it should always be secondary to the goals of said project, programme, or organisation. The way of working chosen should be in line with the main goals of a project, programme, or organisations and should be able to add onto existing processes and roles within the project, programme, or organisation. To achieve a more complete and effective way of working, only one (large scale) agile approach should be chosen as the basis of the way of working. However, this could be expanded upon by processes, tools, and/or roles from other (large scale) agile approaches.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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