Alignment of stakeholder expectations about user involvement in agile software development

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 2017, Part F128635 pp. 334 - 343
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© 2017 Association for Computing Machinery. Context: User involvement is generally considered to contributing to user satisfaction and project success and is central to Agile software development. In theory, the expectations about user involvement, such as the PO's, are quite demanding in this Agile way of working. But what are the expectations seen in practice, and are the expectations of user involvement aligned among the development team and users? Any misalignment could contribute to conflict and miscommunication among stakeholders that may result in ineffective user involvement. Objective: Our aim is to compare and contrast the expectations of two stakeholder groups (software development team, and software users) about user involvement in order to understand the expectations and assess their alignment. Method: We have conducted an exploratory case study of expectations about user involvement in an Agile software development. Qualitative data was collected through interviews to design a novel method for the assessing the alignment of expectations about user involvement by applying Repertory Grids (RG). Results: By aggregating the results from the interviews and RGs, varying degrees of expectation alignments were observed between the development team and user representatives. Conclusion: Alignment of expectations can be assessed in practice using the proposed RG instrument and can reveal misalignment between user roles and activities they participate in Agile software development projects. Although we used RG instrument retrospectively in this study, we posit that it could also be applied from the start of a project, or proactively as a diagnostic tool throughout a project to assess and ensure that expectations are aligned.
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