Agile Management Outside of Software Development

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: Agile Management is a management method based on the principles behind Agile Software Development. Compared to Traditional Management, Agile Management is more iterative and is therefore suited for fast paced and unsecure environ-­‐ ments. Even though agile is a fairly old methodology; there are few case studies outside the software industry. There are indi-­‐ cations, though, that Agile Management can work for other industries, especially those similar to software. To be able to use agile, some enablers and practices exist according to theo-­‐ ry that are important for agile to be successful. Klarna AB is a fast growing financial institute where some teams work with agile today. Credit Strategy & Analytics is one of these teams, which consists of seven members who wanted to explore whether this methodology could work for them. Agile Management Outside of Software Development vi Purpose The purpose of the Master Thesis Project was to examine how agile methodology can be used at Credit Strategy & Analytics at Klarna AB by defining Success Factors and conducting a case study. More specifically, the aim was to provide recommenda-­‐ tions on how the team can exploit agile methods in order to enhance their results. Research Questions In order to serve the purpose of the Master Thesis Project, four research questions were formed. When they were answered the goal was attained. RQ 1: What agile practices are proposed in theory and previ-­‐ ous case studies? RQ 2: What Success Factors does a team need to possess in order to benefit from working with agile compared to other management methodologies? RQ 3: What are the gaps between the Success Factors and prac-­‐ tices that a team ideally should have to benefit from working with agile and the capabilities and practices the case team cur-­‐ rently has? RQ 4: What can be done in order for the case team to fill the gaps mentioned in RQ3? Delimitations The case study was limited to analyzing, evaluating ongoing processes, and proposing recommendations to Credit Strategy & Analytics at Klarna AB in Stockholm. This means that no im-­‐ plementation of the recommendations was prepared, conduct-­‐ ed, or evaluated at the case team. The survey that was carried out only covered the basic enablers for working with agile and due to the time limitation of the Master Thesis Project, it was limited to 62 agile professionals. Agile Management Outside of Software Development vii The time limitation of the Master Thesis Project was 20 weeks and any areas that were not covered are suggested as future research. Methodology The Master Thesis consisted of a theory review, a qualitative case study at Credit Strategy & Analytics at Klarna AB, and a quantitative survey with representatives outside the case company. Primary data was collected from the case study as well as the survey. Secondary data was found through a theory review as well as from previous case studies within the field. The case study consisted of unstructured interviews, observa-­‐ tions, a survey, and in-­‐depth interviews. The research has been conducted using an abductive approach and was carried out in an iterative manner to ensure good results in the end. Conclusion The Master Thesis Project came up with nine Success Factors for a team using agile. A Success Factor is an enabler the au-­‐ thors consider to be of large importance to be able to benefit from using agile. These are: Flexibility, Acceptance, Manage-­‐ ment Support, Understanding, Leadership, Small teams, Dedicat-­‐ ed Stakeholders, Long-­‐term perspective, and Collocation. The Master Thesis Project also came up with recommenda-­‐ tions for the case team based on these nine Success Factors together with theory and previous case studies regarding prac-­‐ tices and tools. The recommendations for the case team’s agile strategy include adding an education about agile, both for new and current employees, creating competence cards for the team to increase competence visibility, become better at being on time for the short stand-­‐up meetings, and start using Kan-­‐ ban instead of Scrum. Agile Management Outside of Software Development viii The authors have also created an alternative recommendation for continued use of Scrum. The recommendations for the use of Kanban include stopping time estimating tasks, having slightly longer stand-­‐ups where short planning sessions are included, and have a Kanban board with a continuous flow of work. The recommendations for the use of Scrum include add-­‐ ing a Scrum master role in the team that changes between the team members every sprint, to plan for 70 instead of 80 hours in a sprint to have time for ad hoc assignments and meetings, and also to create tasks in a way so that they are possible to finish within a sprint of two weeks.

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