Agile

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ARTICLE IN PRESS
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

Information and Software Technology xxx (2008) xxx–xxx www.elsevier.com/locate/infsof

Empirical studies of agile software development: A systematic review ˚ Tore Dyba *, Torgeir Dingsøyr
SINTEF ICT, S.P. Andersensv. 15B, NO-7465 Trondheim, Norway Received 22 October 2007; received in revised form 22 January 2008; accepted 24 January 2008

Abstract Agile software development represents a major departure from traditional, plan-based approaches to software engineering. A systematic review of empirical studies of agile software development up to and including 2005 was conducted. The search strategy identified 1996 studies, of which 36 were identified as empirical studies. The studies were grouped into four themes: introduction and adoption, human and social factors, perceptions on agile methods, and comparative studies. The review investigates what is currently known about the benefits and limitations of, and the strength of evidence for, agile methods. Implications for research and practice are presented. The main implication for research is a need for more and better empirical studies of agile software development within a common research agenda. For the industrial readership, the review provides a map of findings, according to topic, that can be compared for relevance to their own settings and situations. Ó 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Keywords: Empirical software engineering; Evidence-based software engineering; Systematic review; Research synthesis; Agile software development; XP; Extreme programming; Scrum

Contents 1. 2. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Background – agile software development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1. The field of agile software development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2. Summary of previous reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3. Objectives of this review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Review method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1. Protocol development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2. Inclusion and exclusion criteria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3. Data sources and search strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4. Citation management, retrieval, and inclusion decisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5. Quality assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.6. Data extraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.7. Synthesis of findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1. Overview of studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....
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