Achieving effective inter-Team coordination is one of the most pressing challenges in large-scale software development. Hybrid approaches of traditional and agile development promise combining the overview and predictability of long-Term planning on an inter-Team level with the flexibility and adaptability of agile development on a team level. It is currently unclear, however, why such hybrids often fail. Our case study within a large software development unit of 13 teams at a global enterprise software company explores how and why a combination of traditional planning on an inter-Team level and agile development on a team level can result in ineffective coordination. Based on a variety of data, including interviews with scrum masters, product owners, architects and senior management, and using Grounded Theory data analysis procedures, we identify a lack of dependency awareness across development teams as a key explanation of ineffective coordination. Our findings show how a lack of dependency awareness emerges from misaligned planning activities of specification, prioritization, estimation and allocation between agile team and traditional inter-Team levels and ultimately prevents effective coordination. Knowing about these issues, large-scale hybrid projects in similar contexts can try to better align their planning activities across levels to improve dependency awareness and in turn achieve more effective coordination.
- dependency awareness
- information systems development
- inter-Team coordination
- Large-scale software development
- planning alignment