Deepening Our Understanding of Communities of Practice in Large-Scale Agile Development


Communities of Practice (CoPs) are groups of experts who share a common interest or topic and collectively want to deepen their knowledge. The use of CoPs is one of the practices that agile practitioner literature suggests for knowledge sharing and coordination in large-scale agile software development. Even though CoPs are largely used and studied in other industrial contexts, their usage in industrial large-scale software development has not received much research attention. In this paper we describe our findings from a case study of a large software development organization that successfully used CoPs to support their large-scale agile implementation, as well as their transformation from the waterfall model to Lean and Agile. In this case, the use of CoPs was one of the a key success factors. To advance both research and practice we suggest that future research should pay more attention on CoPs in largescale agile, e.g. by studying how CoPs should be cultivated in the organization, how they work in practice, what they are used for, as well as the benefits and challenges of cultivating and implementing CoPs.

Maria Paasivaara and Casper Lassenius
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, School of Science
Aalto University
POB 15400, 00076 Aalto, Finland
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