Emergence of Agile Methods: Perceptions from Software Practitioners in Malaysia

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  • Although there some papers about the perception from adopters of Agile methods, however, these studies were mainly carried out in Western countries such as Canada, the European region and the United States [6-8][6] G. Melnik and F. Maurer, "Perceptions of agile practices: a student survey," in Extreme Programming and Agile Methods - XP/Agile Universe 2002. Second XP Universe and First Agile Universe Conference. Proceedings, Chicago, IL, USA, 2002, pp. 241-250.[7] B. Bahli and E. S. AbouZeid, "The role of knowledge creation in adopting extreme programming model: An empirical study," in ITI 3rd International Conference on Information and Communications Technology (ICICT 2005), Cairo, EGYPT, 2005, pp. 75-87.[8] K. Mannaro, M. Melis, and M. Marchesi, "Empirical analysis on the satisfaction of IT employees comparing XP practices with other software development methodologies," in 5th Internationl Conference Extreme Programming and Agile Processes in Softwave Engineering, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GERMANY, 2004, pp. 166-174.This can help to add to empirical evidence on Agile adoption from different region.
  • 3 main issues for background and motivation of study.As Agile is dependent of people aspects, therefore its suitability must be investigated-i.eCultureSoftware problems in Malaysia (to provide knowledge about Agile). It is expected Agile can help software practitioners to define their requirements easily.To help the country to achieve its focus for the 10th Malaysia plan.
  • Reference: [1]F. Baharom, A. Deraman, and A. Hamdan, "A Survey on the Current Practices of Software Development Process in Malaysia," Journal of ICT, vol. 4, pp. 57-76, 2006.[2] A. Zainol and S. Mansoor, "Investigation into requirements management practices in the Malaysian software industry," in 2008 International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE 2008), Wuhan, China, 2008, pp. 292-295.
  • Validity is looking for the strength of qualitative research and it is on the basis of determining the accuracy of the findings that the researcher attempts to measure. reliability means that the research approach is consistent across different projects and also different researchers. Reference[3] J. Creswell, Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches: Sage Pubns, 2008.
  • 1. The lessons learnt about perceptions are important to serve as guidelines for the adoption of Agile methods in the country
  • Emergence of Agile Methods: Perceptions from Software Practitioners in Malaysia

    1. 1. Presenter: Jeeson Daniel J Authors: Ani Liza Asnawi, Andrew M Gravell, Gary B Wills School of Electronics & Computer Science, University of Southampton UK.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 1AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    2. 2.  Agile provides way to develop software and how to define requirements which can satisfy customers  Despite the benefits, little work and studies about the methods can be found from the Southeast Asia region particularly Malaysia.  So, if the methods are to be used, we need to know and understand how Agile methods are perceived and how the methods can be practiced within this region.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 2AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    3. 3.  What do practitioners say about awareness of Agile in the country?  What are the first reason(s) making they started to use Agile methods?  What are the challenges they faced when using Agile?  Despite the challenges, what are Agile practices perceived to deliver the greatest benefits to them?International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 3AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    4. 4.  Agile is not for everyone – “What works in one culture, will not necessarily work in other culture”  Another study also asked “ What has culture got to do with software development?” so we believe cultural differences will influence the adoption or use of Agile methods in the country  Malaysia is a country having a mixed population with three different ethnicities; Malay, Chinese and Indians. The national language is Malay language and the second language is English.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 4AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    5. 5.  Studies [1] described Malaysia as having problems in defining requirements for software process and discovered companies in Malaysia do not have a clear methodology that illustrates how the requirements can be obtained [2].  Therefore understanding good software process that can help to define requirements easily is needed in Malaysia.  In addition, Malaysia has put focus on the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) involving software development – in the 10th Malaysia plan (2011-2015).  Thus, the need for a good software process that can help the IT industry is important for the success of the 10th Malaysia plan.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 5AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    6. 6.  This paper provides perception of practitioners in the country, in terms of awareness, Agile introduction, challenges facing, and benefits adopters obtained when using the methodologies.  Provide guidelines for early adopters in Malaysia as few studies about the methods are lacking in the country and nearby region.  Reduce difficulties to early adopters in applying Agile.  The study also will help to add to empirical evidence for software engineering field particularly in terms of Agile methods from different region.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 6AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    7. 7. Methods  Qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted  Software development deals with human factors therefore a qualitative study helps in understanding the respondents‟ behaviour. Participants  Purposely chosen  14 interview subjects in total with four of the participants from the baseline study.  Software practitioners: developers, testers, system analyst, business analyst-having Agile experience.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 7AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    8. 8.  We use a „Thematic Analysis‟ to analyse our data.  It is a way to see things and patterns within the information collected  In order to develop themes and codes, the raw information (the data) needs to be reduced. The data were imported to NVivo 8.  From Nvivo, codes are produced from themes which are developed through several stages.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 8AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    9. 9. Compa Types Status Duration Company‟s Main Activity ny Using Agile A Local Company Fully Scrum 4 years Rapid Web Application (small and startup) B Local Only parts 2 years E-commerce of Agile (started in 2009) C (I) Multinational Fully Scrum Since June Technology and Services. 2010 C (II) Multinational Fully Scrum 4-5 years Technology and Services. D Local company Fully Scrum 2 years Airport product, critical system, r&d, middleware E Multinational Fully Scrum 1 year Technology and Services F Multinational Fully Scrum 1 year Technology and services company G Local company Fully Scrum Since end of R and D 2010 Table: Companies‟ OverviewInternational Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 9AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    10. 10. Company Number of Roles(s) Participants A 1 Founder + PM + Scrum Master B 1 System Analyst C 3 Developer (2), Business Analyst C (I) 5 Scrum Master (2), Developer, PM, Business Analyst D 1 PM E 1 Developer F 1 PM G 1 TesterInternational Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 10AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    11. 11.  Awareness of Agile Methods in Malaysia i. Beginning stage & lack of exposure - Lack awareness mentioned by the companies, including from the customers‟ side. - Company F: “I think however, people are taking baby steps, I think most of the companies using Agile are from multinational companies” ii. Lacking from Government Side - Interviews showed that government employees are less aware of Agile methods than the private sector is - Company G: “ If we can go to that agency, and map back whatever they have in Waterfall with Agile, from there, they might see about Agile methods. Basically it is just the awareness.”International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 11AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    12. 12.  Agile Introduction i. Agile proponents and experienced from previous methods - Agile introduction found easy for proponent and believers. - Company A: “Waterfall might work for others, but we don‟t want to use it, because we believe Agile work for us, we really believe Agile as a way to go.” ii. Adopting from parent companies - All multinational companies in the study mentioned that they started to use Agile from their sub-companies – “We are a multinational company, perhaps, because the organisation itself is supporting Agile methods.” iii. Adopting the benefits - The highest cited reason for using Agile and the drawbacks from the previous methods. - C (I): “ I believe in Agile because Agile will be much easier....It does not have to be like the Waterfall practices, where at the end, one can only see the progress and everything.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 12AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    13. 13.  Challenges When using the Methodologies Lack of documentation - The nature of Agile in this aspect is perceived a challenge to the companies in Malaysia especially those that are still at the beginning. More challenging for those deal with government projects. ii. People - it was found that the mind set of people adopting Agile must be ready to adapt to how Agile methods work. - Company D: “When involved with international practitioners, they know about Agile, however when dealing with a project involving local people, it is a bit more difficult to use Agile.” iii. Organisational - include co-location, availability of knowledge and management support. - Company G: “ The top management does not support too much because currently we have certain blockages from management...their mind set can‟t be changed...We managed to do Agile, but without support from management, we faced a lot of pain.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 13AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    14. 14.  Challenges When using the Methodologies iv. Involvement - As said by company B: they need to undertake extra tasks like preparing materials to the customers. - Developers in company D felt that they are burdened with more task. v. Knowledge - lack of knowledge about Agile brings challenges especially when adopters are dealing with the customers and also when company dealing with government projects. - Company G: “...here we have deadlines, where the top management just gives us the deadlines...the management do not understand if we say we cant meet the dateline requested.”International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 14AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    15. 15.  Challenges When using the Methodologies vi. Cultural - C (I) : “ I actually believe about the Malaysian thing. There is something you dont see, the culture, it‟s not the method. - Half of the respondents agreed about language aspect when trying to understand the methods.  vii. Resources -lack of this aspect lead them to have multiple roles when using Agile. - Company D : “I think sometimes we are resource-hungry, for the resource of people. ...So, at some point we actually hired a lot people to come in for the project itself. That‟s why I think the resource part is quite expensive.”International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 15AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    16. 16.  The greatest benefits of Agile practices i. Involvement from all ii. Daily standup meeting - These two practices contribute each other. The involvement in Agile methods has also delivered advantages to software development as practitioners can have frequent feedback from their customers. - The meeting provides medium through which to communicate openly, which results in transparency. From here, team members can understand their roles and responsibilities.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 16AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    17. 17. Table: Perceptions‟ SummaryPerception Findings Companies No of CompaniesA) Awareness i) Beginning stage and Lack of Knowledge A, B, C (I), C (II), D, F 6/8 ii) Lacking from government side A, C (I), C (II), D, G 6/8B) Introduction i) Agile proponent and Experienced from A, B, C (I), C (II), D, G 6/8 previous methods ii) Adopting from Parents Companies C (I), C (II), E, F 4/8 iii) Adopting the benefits A, B, C (I), C (II), D, E, F, G 8/8C) Challenges i) Lack of documentation A, D 2/8 ii) People A, B, C (II), D 4/8 iii) Organisational F, G 2/8 iv) Involvement B,D 2/8 v) Knowledge A, F, D, G 4/8 vi) Cultural C (I), D 2/8 vii) Resources B, C (I), D 3/8D) Practices Benefits i) Daily Stand up meeting A, C (I), C (II), D, E, G 6/8 ii) Burn down chart A, C (I), F 3/8 iii) Involvement from all A, B, C (I), C (II), D, F, G 7/8 iv) Iterative and Incremental C (I), D, E, F 4/8 v) Retrospective F 1/8 vi) Sprint C (I), C (II), E 3/8 vii)Continuous Integration C (I), G 2/8 viii) User stories C (II), G 2/8 17
    18. 18.  Validity: The participants were ensured to have knowledge about the methods and have had experience of using Agile methods.  A qualitative study „lies in a particular theme developed in context of a specific sites‟ hence particularity rather than generalisability is the hallmark of qualitative research‟ [3].  Reliability: In this study, the interpretations of the findings have been checked with othe researcher, making the interpretation consistent and can be trusted.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 18AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    19. 19.  We found that a company only adopting part of Agile is not receiving the full benefits from the methods.  The study indicates a low perception from Agile users towards the methodologies and that there is difficulty of getting everyone in the team to take responsibilities.  The challenges were mostly found from the organisations having hierarchical approach.  The early adoption of Agile is seen from the multinational companies – although this is not unique to Malaysia, as multinational companies are receiving examples from their other branches, making it easy for the acceptance.  In addition, importance of language aspects (Eglish) when trying to understand Agile should be considered.  English language- common language practiced in multinational companies- might be reason multinational companies to easy accepting the methods.  The findings also show that people need to be confident when trying to use Agile methods. This is so as they need to see something working and proven success stories from the Agile users.International Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 19AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru
    20. 20. [1] F. Baharom, A. Deraman, and A. Hamdan, "A Survey on the Current Practices of Software Development Process in Malaysia," Journal of ICT, vol. 4, pp. 57-76, 2006. [2] A. Zainol and S. Mansoor, "Investigation into requirements management practices in the Malaysian software industry," in 2008 International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE 2008), Wuhan, China, 2008, pp. 292-295. [3] J. Creswell, Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches: Sage Pubns, 2008. Thank you! Any questions please email to ala08r@ecs.soton.ac.ukInternational Conference on Agile and Lean Software Development 20AgileIndia2012, Bengaluru

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