Charting Coordination Needs in Large-Scale Agile Organisations with Boundary Objects and Methodological Islands
Paper in proceeding, 2020

Large-scale system development companies are increasingly adopting agile methods. While this adoption may improve lead-times, such companies need to balance two trade-offs: (i) the need to have a uniform, consistent development method on system level with the need for specialised methods for teams in different disciplines (e.g., hardware, software, mechanics, sales, support); (ii) the need for comprehensive documentation on system level with the need to have lightweight documentation enabling iterative and agile work. With specialised methods for teams, isolated teams work within larger ecosystems of plan-driven culture, i.e., teams become agile “islands”. At the boundaries, these teams share knowledge which needs to be managed well for a correct system to be developed. While it is useful to support diverse and specialised methods, it is important to understand which islands are repeatedly encountered, the reasons or factors triggering their existence, and how best to handle coordination between them. Based on a multiple case study, this work presents a catalogue of islands and the boundary objects between them. We believe this work will be beneficial to practitioners aiming to understand their ecosystems and researchers addressing communication and coordination challenges in large-scale development.

agile methods

agile software development


boundary objects

large-scale systems development



Rashida Kasauli

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Makerere University

Rebekka Wohlrab

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Systemite AB

Eric Knauss

University of Gothenburg

Jan-Philipp Steghöfer

University of Gothenburg

Jennifer Horkoff

University of Gothenburg

Salome Honest Maro

University of Gothenburg

Proceedings - 2020 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software and System Processes, ICSSP 2020

978-145037512-2 (ISBN)

International Conference on Software and System Processes
Seoul, South Korea,

Subject Categories

Software Engineering

Information Systemes, Social aspects

Computer Systems



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