PurposeAgile software development helps software producing organizations to respond to manifold challenges. While prior research focused on agility as a project or process phenomenon, the authors suggest that agility is an emergent phenomenon on the team level. The paper aims to discuss this issue.Design/methodology/approachUsing the theory of complex adaptive systems (CASs), the study captures the multiple influencing levels of software development teams (SDTs) and their interplay with self-organization and emergence. The authors investigate three agile SDTs in different contextual environments that participate with four or more different roles each.FindingsThe results suggest self-organization as a central process when understanding team agility. While contextual factors often provide restriction on self-organization, they can help the team to enhance its autonomy.Research limitations/implicationsThe theoretical contributions result from the development and test of theory grounded propositions and the investigation of mature agile development teams.Practical implicationsThe findings help practitioners to improve the cost-effectiveness ratio of their team’s operations.Originality/valueThe study provides empirical evidence for the emergence of team agility in agile SDTs. Using the lens of CAS, the study suggests the importance of the team’s autonomy.
Information Technology & People – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 1
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