Becoming agile: a grounded theory of agile transitions in practice

Rashina Hoda, James Noble

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


Agile adoption is typically understood as a oneoff organizational process involving a staged selection of agile development practices. This view of agility fails to explain the differences in the pace and effectiveness of individual teams transitioning to agile development. Based on a Grounded Theory study of 31 agile practitioners drawn from 18 teams across five countries, we present a grounded theory of becoming agile as a network of on-going transitions across five dimensions: software development practices, team practices, management approach, reflective practices, and culture. The unique position of a software team through this network, and their pace of progress along the five dimensions, explains why individual agile teams present distinct manifestations of agility and unique transition experiences. The theory expands the current understanding of agility as a holistic and complex network of on-going multidimensional transitions, and will help software teams, their managers, and organizations better navigate their individual agile journeys.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2017 IEEE/ACM 39th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2017
EditorsAlessandro Orso, Martin Robillard
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781538638682
ISBN (Print)9781538638699
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Software Engineering 2017 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 20 May 201728 May 2017
Conference number: 39th (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Software Engineering 2017
Abbreviated titleICSE 2017
CityBuenos Aires
OtherIEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering Companion (ICSE-C 2017)
Internet address


  • agile software development
  • culture
  • grounded theory
  • management
  • selforganizing
  • teams
  • theory
  • transition

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