The impact of inadequate customer collaboration on self-organizing Agile teams

Rashina Hoda, James Noble, Stuart Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Customer collaboration is a vital feature of Agile software development. Objective: This article addresses the importance of adequate customer involvement on Agile projects, and the impact of different levels of customer involvement on real-life Agile projects. Method: We conducted a Grounded Theory study involving 30 Agile practitioners from 16 software development organizations in New Zealand and India, over a period of 3 years. Results: We discovered that Lack of Customer Involvement was one of the biggest challenges faced by Agile teams. Customers were not as involved on these Agile projects as Agile methods demand. We describe the causes of inadequate customer collaboration, its adverse consequences on self-organizing Agile teams, and Agile Undercover - a set of strategies used by the teams to practice Agile despite insufficient or ineffective customer involvement. Conclusion: Customer involvement is important on Agile projects. Inadequate customer involvement causes adverse problems for Agile teams. The Agile Undercover strategies we've identified can assist Agile teams facing similar lack of customer involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-534
Number of pages14
JournalInformation and Software Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Agile software development
  • Agile Undercover
  • Customer collaboration
  • Grounded Theory

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