Managing Contradictory Tensions in Agile Distributed Development: An Ambidextrous Approach

Managing Contradictory Tensions in Agile Distributed Development: An Ambidextrous Approach

Ashay Saxena (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India), Shankar Venkatagiri (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India) and Rajendra K. Bandi (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4165-4.ch005
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Abstract

Increasingly, agile approaches are being followed in a distributed setup to develop software. An agile approach is characterised by the need to regularly welcome change requests and update the software artefact accordingly whereas distributed teams prefer to work towards following a plan to fulfil project objectives defined upfront. This results in contradictory tensions when agile is practised with teams operating in a globally distributed format. This chapter focuses on exploring the central conflict and discuss approaches to manage the conflicting forces in an agile distributed development setup. Furthermore, it presents an industry case study to provide more clarity on conflict management in such settings.
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Background

This section outlines the basic principles of agile software development and the fundamentals of distributed teamwork. We focus on the foundational aspects of agile approaches (i.e., theoretical underpinnings) and the constraints induced when teams operate in a distributed setup. These elements are essential to uncover conflicting experiences in ADD settings.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Contextual Ambidexterity: Behavioral capacity of the organizational unit to simultaneously manage contradictory demands in the setting.

Flexibility: Ability of the software team to continuously update the software artifact and deliver functionality.

Stability: Need for a software team to predictably meet the objectives of a pre-defined project plan.

Agile Distributed Development: Software projects that are implemented by teams located across multiple geographies and following an agile approach.

Project Context: Systems, processes, and beliefs that shape individual-level behaviour within a team.

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