Agile challenges in practice: a thematic analysis

Gregory, Peggy; Barroca, Leonor; Taylor, Katie; Salah, Dina and Sharp, Helen (2015). Agile challenges in practice: a thematic analysis. In: 16th International Conference on Agile Software Development, XP 2015, 25-29 May 2015, Helsinki.


As agile is maturing and becoming more widely adopted, it is important that researchers are aware of the real-world challenges faced by practitioners and organisations. We undertook a thematic analysis of 193 agile challenges collected at a series of agile conferences and events during 2013 and 2014. Participants were mainly practitioners and business representatives along with some academics. The challenges were thematically analysed by separate authors, synthesised, and a list of seven themes and twenty-seven sub-themes was agreed. Themes were Organisation, Sustainability, Culture, Teams, Scale, Value and Misconceptions and shortcomings. We compare our findings against previous attempts to identify and categorise agile challenges. While most themes have persisted we found a shift of focus towards issues related to sustainability, business engagement and transformation, as well as misconceptions and shortcomings. We identify areas for further research and a need for more innovative methods of conveying academic research to industry and industrial problems to academia

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