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A computer-based holistic approach to managing progress of distributed agile teams

Alyahya, Sultan 2013. A computer-based holistic approach to managing progress of distributed agile teams. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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One of the co-ordination difficulties of remote agile teamwork is managing the progress of development. Several technical factors affect agile development progress; hence, their impact on progress needs to be explicitly identified and co-ordinated. These factors include source code versioning, unit testing (UT), acceptance testing (AT), continuous integration (CI), and releasing. These factors play a role in determining whether software produced for a user story (i.e. feature or use case) is ‘working software’ (i.e. the user story is complete) or not. One of the principles introduced by the Agile Manifesto is that working software is the primary measure of progress. In distributed agile teams, informal methods, such as video-conference meetings, can be used to raise the awareness of how the technical factors affect development progress. However, with infrequent communications, it is difficult to understand how the work of one team member at one site influences the work progress of another team member at a different site. Furthermore, formal methods, such as agile project management tools are widely used to support managing progress of distributed agile projects. However, these tools rely on team members’ perceptions in understanding change in progress. Identifying and co-ordinating the impact of technical factors on development progress are not considered. This thesis supports the effective management of progress by providing a computer-based holistic approach to managing development progress that aims to explicitly identify and co-ordinate the effects of the various technical factors on progress. The holistic approach requires analysis of how the technical factors cause change in progress. With each progress change event, the co-ordination support necessary to manage the event has been explicitly identified. The holistic approach also requires designing computer-based mechanisms that take into consideration the impact of technical factors on progress. A progress tracking system has been designed that keeps track of the impact of the technical factors by placing them under control of the tracking system. This has been achieved by integrating the versioning functionality into the progress tracking system and linking the UT tool, AT tool and CI tool with the progress tracking system. The approach has been evaluated through practical scenarios and has validated these through a research prototype. The result shows that the holistic approach is achievable and helps raise awareness of distributed agile teams regarding the change in the progress, as soon as it occurs. It overcomes the limitations of the informal and formal methods. Team members will no longer need to spend time determining how their change will impact the work of the other team members so that they can notify the affected members regarding the change. They will be provided with a system that helps them achieve this as they carry out their technical activities. In addition, they will not rely on static information about progress registered in a progress tracking system, but will be updated continuously with relevant information about progress changes occurring to their work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Computer Science & Informatics
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Uncontrolled Keywords: Geographically Distributed Project; Agile Software Development; Progress Tracking; Co-ordination; Awareness
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:19

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