Team Autonomy in Large-Scale Agile
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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Large-scale software development is increasingly making use of agile practices. In large-scale projects, a team needs to align with other teams and the rest of the organization. This has been shown to threaten team autonomy, which, in turn, reduces responsiveness and flexibility. Hence, agile teams face challenges in adapting to larger-scale development. We conduct a multiple case study of three large-scale projects to investigate barriers to team autonomy in large-scale agile. Two barriers are identified: overall direction and external dependencies. We found that goals are often set by management without involving the teams, that they are often equal to deliverables and deadlines, and that team members often do not know what the goals are. Consequently, teams struggle with setting and communicating goals as well as establishing a shared direction. Organizational dependencies lead to teams having to deal with additional tasks, resulting in specific members shielding the teams from external noise.