Roles of Middle Managers in Agile Project Governance

Uwadi, Maduka; Gregory, Peggy; Allison, Ian and Sharp, Helen (2022). Roles of Middle Managers in Agile Project Governance. In: Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming. XP 2022, Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, vol 445. Springer, Cham.




Project governance is an important activity in agile soft- ware development (ASD) projects for project success. Middle managers are part of the governance structure in ASD projects. Despite the ef- ficacy of project governance and existence of middle managers in agile teams, project governance and middle management in ASD projects are under-researched. This multiple-case study investigates the roles of mid- dle managers in agile project governance activities within two Nigerian ASD projects through the lens of activity theory. We collected data in semi-structured interviews, observations, questionnaires, and company documents. Our findings show that middle managers performed 25 roles related to planning and coordination for project alignment and execu- tion, continuous improvement and organisational change, agile and tech- nical leadership, monitoring, and capability building. We conclude that middle managers are pivotal to project governance practice and the ef- fectual functioning of agile teams in ASD projects. The study will help agile practitioners to better understand the roles of middle managers in agile project governance. Results from this work contribute to the ‘mid- dle management in agile’ debate and offer an alternative view that may change beliefs about middle managers in agile project settings.

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