Combining Hard and Soft Aspects in Project Performance Measurement - A Qualitative Research Undertaken in an Agile Software Development Project Scenario
Examensarbete för masterexamen
International Project Management
Generally, in agile software development projects, project performance is measured using Key Performance Indicators that are focused exclusively on the project’s deliverables to the customer. The softer aspects concerning the smooth functioning of agile teams are usually understood in the traditional manner through meetings, group discussions and surveys and there is an air of informality around it like every other method. But with increasing project complexity, team sizes have increased and projects have been pursued with virtual teams located across the world. Even in such scenarios, the way hard and soft aspects are dealt with has not undergone a change. The research aims to qualitatively explore the possibilities of combining hard and soft aspects as KPIs in such environments to measure project performance more effectively. The research is an abductive case study of a complex agile software development project in the automotive sector. Interviews and questionnaires were conducted, ably supported by participant observations with two levels of the project organization and internal data from the organization. The study aims to link the findings with existing theory in agile methodology and project performance measurements. The gaps existing in agile methodology are viewed through the lens of project performance and the final findings are arrived at. The most striking finding was about managers knowing the need of soft aspects for project performance but assumed the informal meetings brought up these issues. On the contrary, the operational level employees voiced their concern about many soft issues which had not been escalated before. The findings uncovered a gap in agile methodology regarding the balance between focus on the external customer and getting internal stakeholders committed to that purpose. The researchers have attempted to visualize the combination of these two aspects, through the use of the GQM model. It was possible to conclude that in complex project environments governed by a short and engaging planning cycle, project performance cannot be fully understood based on the deliveries made to the customer. The soft aspects of the project team should also be viewed in a formalized way as KPIs to get a complete idea about project performance.
Samhällsbyggnadsteknik , Civil Engineering