Cloud Software Program - WP 2: Results from the software process research group (SPRG), Aalto University

Results Q3 2011

Research topics

To provide visibility-at-a-glance into our ongoing work, we are maintaining an A4-sized leaflet for each ongoing research topic.  These leaflets were submitted to Ari Turunen for Q3 2011 review meeting at Tampere; for past leaflets, check the previous quarterly results pages (see links at top header).

F-Secure, IPSS & Jarno Vähäniitty: Linking Strategy and Action in a Lean Software Enterprise.

Ericsson & Ville Heikkilä: Release planning for the lean software enterprise.

Tieto & Maria Paasivaara: Coaching Global Software Development Projects.

Tieto & Maria Paasivaara: How Doeas an Agile Caching Team Work.

Tieto, Ericsson & Casper Lassenius: 6th IEEE International Conference on Global Software Engineering.

NSN, Maria Paasivaara: Scaling Scrum in a Large Distributed Project.

Posters at Q3 review

The following posters were presented at the Q3/2011 review:

Jarno Vähäniitty + IPSS & F-Secure: Levels of Portfolio Management in a Lean Software Enterprise & From Strategy to Action and Back Again and A Glossary for the Lean Software Enterprise; see Jarno Vähäniitty's Ph.D. dissertation draft (below) for details on both.

Ville Heikkilä, Maria Paasivaara & Ericsson: Release planning for the lean software enterprise.

Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius & Tieto: Coaching Global Software Development Projects.

Casper Lassenius: 6th IEEE International Conference on Global Software Engineering.

Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius, NSN & Ericsson: Scaling Agile and Lean in Large Distributed Projects.

Presentations at Q3 review

Our research team submitted a keynote topic and a regular topic for presenting in the Q3 review; out of these, the regular topic was accepted.

Maria Paasivaara & Casper Lassenius: Scaling Scrum to Large Globally Distributed SW Projects.

New Results in Q3

What's been accomplished in Q3 is listed below.

How Does an Agile Coaching Team Work? A Case Study.

This paper presents a case study on building a successful agile coaching team focusing on distributed software development projects in a global software company. We describe how the team of eight coaches was built, how the coaches work as a team, how the coaches work with their customer projects, what the main benefits of coaching have been for the customer projects, and the main challenges on building the coaching activities.

The data was gathered by 13 semi-structured interviews of the coaching team members, as well as the interviews with personnel from four coached customer projects.

Paasivaara, M., Lassenius, C., in Proceedings of theInternational Conference on Software and System Process (ICSSP 2011), 2011. (view at publisher) (presentation slides)

Coaching Global Software Development Projects

This paper presents a multiple-case study on how three globally distributed software development projects from a large Scandinavia-based IT organization introduced agile practices with the help of a company internal coaching team. The data was gathered by ten semi-structured interviews: we interviewed four coaches and six persons from the coached projects. We describe how the coaches cooperated with the case projects, helping them to adopt agile practices. We present the challenges the projects faced, as well as the benefits they gained. Our results show that when coaching globally distributed projects it is especially important to gain executive support from all the sites, to involve all sites in the change process, to build a common vision in a collaborative workshop, to invite coaches as early as possible, to aim for a long-term coaching relationship, and to remember that the project team owns the change, coaches are there just to support the team.

Paasivaara, M., in Proceedings of the 6th IEEE International Conference on Global Software Engineering (ICGSE'11), 2011. (download pdf) (presentation slides)

Scaling Scrum in a Large Distributed Project

This paper presents a currently ongoing single case study on adopting and scaling Scrum in a large software devel-opment project distributed across four sites. The data was ga-thered by 19 semi-structured interviews of project personnel, including managers, architects, developers and testers. At the time of the interviews the project had grown in size during the past 2,5 years from two collocated Scrum teams to 20 teams lo-cated in four countries and employing over 170 persons. In this paper we first describe our research approach and goals. Then we briefly summarize the preliminary results of this ongoing study: we explain how Scrum practices were scaled, as well as discuss the successes and challenges experienced when adopting the agile practices and scaling them, while at the same time grow-ing the project size at a fast pace. Even though this project has been very successful from the business point of view, it has expe-rienced a lot of problems in applying Scrum, especially related to scaling the agile practices. Thus, it seems that adapting Scrum practices to work well in a large distributed setting is challenging.

Paasivaara, M. & Lassenius, C., in Proceedings of the International Symposium of Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM 2011), 2011. (download pdf) (presentation slides)

Teaching a Global Project Course: Experiences and Lessons Learned

Gloor, P., Paasivaara, M., Lassenius, C., Schoder, D., Fischbach, K., and Miller, C., presented in the Collaborative Teaching of Globally Distributed Software Development: Community Building Workshop, 2011. (presentation slides)

Towards Agile Product and Portfolio Management (comments from preliminary examination fixed & re-submitted to supervisor)

This dissertation summarizes existing as well as presents new understanding for linking product and portfolio management with modern development methodologies such as Scrum in the face of the practical realities that may apply to many small software organizations. The results are based on both findings from qualitative, participative action research -type case studies as well as a synthesis of related work based on a systematic review of both research and practitioner literature. As results, we propose a framework that shows how the three key processes that should connect business and development decision-making – roadmapping, release planning and different levels of portfolio management – can be understood in the context of organizations striving for agile software development. As proof-of-concept of our framework, we present Agilefant (, an open source support tool for managing a portfolio of activities of which some – though not necessarily all – are planned and managed using backlogs with hierarchical work item structures.

Vähäniitty, J. doctoral dissertation draft (the zip now includes comments from preliminary examination) fixed & submitted to supervisor for review (26.9.2010)

International Conference on Global Software Engineering 2011 (ICGSE-2011)

The conference was a huge success. Key figures:

  • 120 participants from 24 countries
  • 5 workshops
  • 3 tutorials
  • A doctoral symposium
  • 26 scientific papers + 3 industry abstracts
  • 3 keynote speeches

Lassenius, C. (download poster)

Planning product releases in global multi-team agile development projects (published)

Release planning is a challenging part of market-driven product development and a success factor in agile software development projects. Release planning in an environment where multiple globally distributed teams are developing the same product requires careful coordination of responsibilities and technical dependencies. Existing release planning research has concentrated on mathematical model-based big upfront planning, which conflicts with agile methods. The goals of this research are to describe the release planning state-of-art in scientific literature and in real globally distributed agile software development projects, and to build a model for efficient release planning in globally distributed agile software development projects.

Heikkilä, V.T.,  published in the ICGSE 2011 doctoral symposium (presentation slidesPDF will be linked when the proceedings have been published)