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CITO Seminar: Method-in-use variation during methodology use

A multiple case study of agile and waterfall information systems development projects

Event details


Apr 23, 2019
from 02:00 PM to 02:55 PM


E117 Smurfit (Blackrock)

Contact Name

Séamas Kelly

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Dr Veeresh Thummadi (researcher at Lero | The Irish software research centre) will present a CITO seminar, Tuesday 23 April 2:00-3:30pm (room E117, Smurfit). The seminar will be entitled:

"Method-in-use variation during methodology use: A multiple case study of agile and waterfall information systems development projects”


Methodologies are rarely followed during software design and implementation. Hence, many times their effects on outcomes are in doubt. Yet, we know little how and to what extent a methodology influences software design processes and outcomes. In this paper we approach this gap by adopting a novel theoretical and methodological angle. Theoretically we treat methods as organizational routines and use routine as a fruitful unit of analysis to analyze the effects of methods. To this end we articulate a research framework, which identifies method, situation fitness, agency and random noise as sources of variation in software design. Empirically, we apply the framework to examine to what extent waterfall and agile methods induce variation in software design by tracing design activities in three design projects that follow an object oriented waterfall method and in three design projects that follow an agile method in a large IT organization. The captured process traces are analyzed using a mixed methods approach, using sequencing methods, Markov models and content analysis. Our analysis shows that the effect of method-induced variation in design activities within agile and waterfall is about ~40% while the rest 60% is accounted by actor’s habits, fitness conditions and organizational noise. This suggests that effect of design methods is smaller than often assumed and the impact of actors and specific project conditions should not be understated in shaping design projects.

Keywords: software development, agile, waterfall methodology, methods-in-use, routine variation.

Dr. Veeresh Thummadi is a Research Fellow in Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, located in University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Prior to Lero, he worked as postdoc at Penn State University and New York University's Stern School of Business.

His current research focuses on software analytics and is particularly interested in carrying out empirical studies in software development process, open innovation and disruptive technologies. He applies various array of research methods in conducting these studies on software development. His work has received appreciation and has won the ICIS best paper award in 2011. His papers have been published in various academic conferences such as AOM, ICIS, and are under review in leading journals in information systems and management. He holds a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras and a Masters in Engineering Management from Case Western, and a PhD in Information Systems from Case Western Reserve University.