Autonomous Agile Teams Workshop Abstracts

JUNE 8-12, 2020

ONLINE! Copenhagen, Denmark

Autonomous Agile Teams Workshop Abstracts

Understanding Work Practices of Autonomous Agile Teams: A Social-Psychological Review
Lucas Gren
The purpose of this paper is to suggest additional aspects of social psychology that could help when making sense of autonomous agile teams. This was done through looking at some very common agile practices and relate them to existing findings in social-psychological research. The two theories found that I argue should be more applied to the software engineering context are social identity theory and group socialization. The results show that literature provides social-psychological reasons for the popularity of some agile practices, but that scientific studies are needed to gather empirical evidence on these under-researched topics. Understanding deeper psychological theories could provide a better understanding of the psychological processes when building autonomous agile team, which could then lead to better predictability and intervention in relation to human factors.
Defining TestOps: Collaborative Behaviors and Technology-driven Workflows Seen as Enablers of Effective Software Testing in DevOps
Michal Dolezel

[Context] DevOps is an increasingly popular approach to software development and software operations, both being re-united under the single label. In contrast to traditional software development activities, the approach promotes many fundamental changes, and the area of software testing is not an exception. Yet, the exact appearance of software testing within DevOps is poorly understood.

[Objective] This paper explores TestOps as a central concept rooted in industrial practice.

[Method] To provide a pluralist outline of practitioners’ views on “What is TestOps”, Youtube was searched for digital content containing either “TestOps” or “DevTestOps” in the content title. Through a qualitative lens, the resulting set was systematically annotated and thematically analyzed in an inductive manner.

[Results] Rendering the impact of DevOps, practitioners use the notion of TestOps when characterizing a conceptual shift that occurs within the area of software testing. As a matter of fact, two dominant categories were found in the data: (i) TestOps as a new organizational philosophy; (ii) TestOps as an innovative software technique (i.e. process support-ed by technology). A set of high-level themes within each of these categories was identified and described.

[Conclusion] This study outlines an inconsistency in practitioner perspectives on the nature of TestOps. The themes can be used to structure the future discussion in both the research and practitioner domains.

Dependencies of Agile Teams – An Analysis of the Scaled Agile Framework

Sven Theobald and Anna Schmitt


Agile teams are small teams with 3 to 9 members. In complex development endeavors, like in systems development, an agile team has many dependencies. For many specialist roles, it would not make sense to incorporate them into the agile team. Objective: But with what external parties do agile teams collaborate? Method: We analyzed the Scaled Agile Framework to investigate how much guidance is provided concerning the collaboration at these interfaces. Results: The results show that many different organizational parts exist that agile teams have to collaborate with. The Scaled Agile Framework mentions concepts like shared services or system teams, but there is few guidance on the collaboration with the agile team. Conclusion: We motivate future research into guidelines on how agile teams collaborate efficiently with their organizational environment.

Spotify Tailoring for Architectural Governance
Abdallah Salameh and Julian M. Bass

Organisations usually tailor Agile methods to fit their needs best. Spotify has developed its own Agile culture to facilitate software development for hundreds of developers across multiple cities. The Spotify model has become influential among agile proponents and hence formed the basis of methods used in other organisations. We have identified a lack of research into agile architecture using the Spotify model.

To explore what new Spotify practices can enhance architectural governance for loosely coupled yet cooperating squads?, an intervention embedded case study was conducted in a multinational FinTech organisation, using the Spotify model. New practices were introduced by developing and evaluating an approach to Agile architectural governance. This approach incorporates a structural change and a change management process. We conducted 6 semi-structured open-ended interviews and direct observations of Agile practices. The collected data were analysed using an approach informed by the Grounded Theory method.
The practitioners in our study report benefits of this evaluated approach such as transforming architectural based decision into decentralised based decision-making, strengthening the autonomy of squads through aligning architectural based decisions, sharing the architectural knowledge among the squads, and other benefits.

We identify the characteristics and benefits of our evaluated approach to Agile architectural governance using the Spotify model. Also, we identify guidelines and challenges for those wishing to adopt this approach.

Enabling Team Autonomy in a Large Organization
Parastoo Mohagheghi, Casper Lassenius and Ingrid Omang Bakken
This paper describes how autonomy emerged in a team in a large public or-ganization and which factors were important in this process. The organiza-tion has backsourced software development, recruited software developers, and abandoned a stage-based software development process with many handovers between business, IT and vendors. The team has refined its port-folio for better cohesion, stepwise taken over the responsibility for software development from the vendor, and added product owners to the team. Sup-ported by changes to the financing model, the team has transformed from mediating between business and vendors to an effective product team with autonomy over its budget, backlog, and software development process. As a result, the team can better balance between delivering new features and qual-ity improvements, continuously deliver software with less overhead, and fo-cus on its mission to deliver user-friendly services with increased involve-ment of domain experts. Defining a clear product boundary and reducing dependencies on other teams, developing necessary skills and changing the financing model are recognized as the main success factors, as well as the main challenges in the transition process.