Abstract for: Agile Project Dynamics: A System Dynamics Investigation of Agile Software Development Methods

Although Agile software development has many advocates and is widely used for commercial software, acceptance in the government and defense sectors has been limited. This variation may be the result of differing meanings to the term “Agile” or differing effectiveness of the range of methods denoted by those meanings. We examine a range of Agile methods practiced and develop a framework of seven characteristics, which we call the Agile Genome. We gain insight into the dynamics of how Agile development compares to classic “waterfall” approaches by constructing a System Dynamics model for software projects. The Agile Project Dynamics (APD) model captures each of the Agile genes as a separate component of the model and allows experimentation with combinations of practices and management policies. Experimentation with the APD model is used to explore how different genes work in combination with one another to produce both positive and negative effects. The extensible design of the APD model provides the basis for further study of Agile methods and management practices.