Definition Synthesis of Agility in Software Development: Comprehensive Review of Theory to Practice

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Ozkan N., Gok M. S.

International Journal of Modern Education and Computer Science, vol.14, no.3, pp.26-44, 2022 (Scopus) identifier


© 2022 MECS.Software development agility has been regarded as a critical pillar of modern businesses. However, there is still a way to find whether there exists a consistent, complete, precise, agreed and uniformed definition of it. In this regard, this study firstly reviews the existing definitions of agility in the software development domain from the literature. As one of the main results of this phase, we have seen that although agility has a remarkable root in the software development domain, even its definition is still debatable and there are other concepts close to agility in terms of definition but used interchangeably. There is another confusion about how some researchers define agility over other different concepts, although there is no apparent unifying factor in their origins except their historical co-occurrence. In addition, there are particular practices embedded into the agility definitions mostly from the manifesto and Scrum. After uncovering the deficiencies of the existing definitions, we aimed to ratify the definition of the agility concept. Then, we intended to synthesize the underlying facets of the identified definitions and propose a new yet more comprehensive definition revealing the agility characteristics properly by considering the interpretations of the existing definitions. Our study stands out by using a customized synthesis method for analysis, providing inputs to this analysis with a comprehensive literature review, and the comprehensive evaluation of the facets with the support of the literature. We are aware that agreeing on a definition is a valuable exercise and a good starting point for a better understanding of the agility phenomenon that could enable and lead to more realistic implementations, less disappointment and disillusionment, and possibly greater success rates for both practitioners and researchers.