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Empirical comparison of traditional plan-based and agile methodologies: Critical success factors for outsourced software development projects from vendors’ perspective

Arthur Ahimbisibwe (Makerere University Business School, Makerere University Kampala , Kampala, Uganda)
Urs Daellenbach (School of Management, Victoria University of Wellington , Wellington, New Zealand)
Robert Y. Cavana (School of Management, Victoria University of Wellington , Wellington, New Zealand)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Article publication date: 10 April 2017

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4209

Abstract

Purpose

Aligning the project management methodology (PMM) to a particular project is considered to be essential for project success. Many outsourced software projects fail to deliver on time, budget or do not give value to the client due to inappropriate choice of a PMM. Despite the increasing range of available choices, project managers frequently fail to seriously consider their alternatives. They tend to narrowly tailor project categorization systems and categorization criterion is often not logically linked with project objectives. The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a contingency fit model comparing the differences between critical success factors (CSFs) for outsourced software development projects in the current context of traditional plan-based and agile methodologies.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model and 54 hypotheses were developed from a literature review. An online Qualtrics survey was used to collect data to test the proposed model. The survey was administered to a large sample of senior software project managers and practitioners who were involved in international outsourced software development projects across the globe with 984 valid responses.

Findings

Results indicate that various CSFs differ significantly across agile and traditional plan-based methodologies, and in different ways for various project success measures.

Research limitations/implications

This study is cross-sectional in nature and data for all variables were obtained from the same sources, meaning that common method bias remains a potential threat. Further refinement of the instrument using different sources of data for variables and future replication using longitudinal approach is highly recommended.

Practical implications

Practical implications of these results suggest project managers should tailor PMMs according to various organizational, team, customer and project factors to reduce project failure rates.

Originality/value

Unlike previous studies this paper develops and empirically validates a contingency fit model comparing the differences between CSFs for outsourced software development projects in the context of PMMs.

Keywords

Citation

Ahimbisibwe, A., Daellenbach, U. and Cavana, R.Y. (2017), "Empirical comparison of traditional plan-based and agile methodologies: Critical success factors for outsourced software development projects from vendors’ perspective", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 400-453. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEIM-06-2015-0056

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited