Does Agile + Lean = Effective: An Investigative Study
Brittany Auerbach, Richard McCarthy

Context: Agile and Lean methodologies can be effective in the development and implementation of information systems projects. However, there are differing approaches used to select which methodology to use for a project. What factors should be considered when deciding on a methodology? Objective: This paper focuses on the common themes in how methodologies are selected by Agile and Lean coaches. Identifying factors that are considered are important is extensible to organizations that are considering these methodologies. Method: A phenomenological approach was used in this study. Subject matter experts, consisting of Agile project managers were interviewed. Participants were selected as a result of their participation at the Agile 2013 conference. In depth interviews, designed to capture the depth and breadth of their experience were conducted. The interviews were transcribed and presented back to the participants for review prior to analysis. Results: Four themes of importance emerged from this research. Selforganization of teams was considered a critical success factor for utilizing agile methodologies, this permits the teams to be balanced. Equally important agile coaches must have an in depth understanding of the teams strengths and weaknesses. Organizational cultural impacts agile and lean use. Organizations must be adaptable and willing to accept change as these approaches differ significantly from more traditional methodologies such as the waterfall method. Business value and methodology evolution were also found to be significant. Conclusion: The results provide insight to agile coaches and information systems managers when considering using agile and lean methodologies. Companies conclude on the methodology that works for them, but do not always implement it correctly. This research will help them understand when to use agile methodologies and have the necessary support in place for a successful implementation.

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