Multi-level agile project management challenges: a self-organizing team perspective

Rashina Hoda, Latha K. Murugesan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


Agile software development advocates self-organizing teams that display high levels of autonomy. Self-organizing agile teams are meant to share project management activities such as estimation, planning, and requirements elicitation with managers and customers. While prior literature has explored some individual management-related issues, little is known about how the high involvement of self-organizing agile teams influences everyday project management activities. Through a Grounded Theory study involving 21 agile practitioners across six software companies implementing scrum and XP, we identified a set of eight project management challenges as experienced by and as a result of self-organizing agile teams at multiple levels. These include delayed/changing requirements and eliciting senior management sponsorship at the project level; achieving cross-functionality and effective estimations at the team level; asserting autonomy and self-assignment at the individual level, and lack of acceptance criteria and dependencies at the task level. A mapping between the emergent challenges and standard project management activities is also presented. The article also shares practical implications and guidelines for agile teams, their managers, and customers for overcoming some of these challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Agile software development
  • Project management
  • Self-organizing teams

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