Asnawi, Ani Liza
Investigating adoption of and success factors for agile software development in Malaysia.
University of Southampton, Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences,
Agile methods are sets of software practices that can produce products faster and at the same time deliver what customers want. Despite these benefits, however, few
studies can be found from the Southeast Asia region, particularly Malaysia. Furthermore many of the software processes were developed and produced in the US
and European countries so they are tailored to their culture and most empirical evidence come from these countries. In this research, the perception, challenges in
relation to Agile adoption and how the methods can be used successfully (the impact/benefits) were investigated from the perspective of Malaysian software practitioners. Consequently the research introduced two models which provide interaction and causality among the factors which can help software practitioners in Malaysia to determine and understand aspects important for successful Agile adoption.
Agile focuses on the ‘people aspect’ therefore the cultural differences need to be addressed. Malaysia is a country that has three different ethnicities groups (Malay, Chinese and Indian) and the first language is Malay. English is the second language in the country and it is a standard language used in the business environment including software business. This study started with investigating the awareness of software practitioners in Malaysia regarding Agile methods. Low awareness was identified and interestingly the language aspect and organisational structure/culture were found to have significant association with the awareness of Agile methods. Those using English language were found to be more aware about Agile methods. The adoption of Agile methods in the country seems to be low although this might be changing over time. Issues from the early adopters were qualitatively investigated (with seven organisations and 13 software practitioners) to understand Agile adoption in Malaysia. Customers’education, mind set, people and management were found important from these interviews.
The initial results and findings served as background to further investigate factors important in relation to the adoption of Agile methods from the Malaysian
perspective. The study continued with a survey and further interviews involving seven organisations (three local and four multinational companies) and 14 software
practitioners. While the survey received 207 responses, the language aspect was found significant for Agile usage and the Agile beliefs. Agile usage was also found significant
for organisation types (government/non-government), indicating lack of adoption from the government sector. In addition, all factors investigated were found to be
significant for getting the impact and benefits of Agile. The strongest relationship was identified from the organisational aspect, followed with the knowledge and
involvement from all parties. Qualitative investigation supported and explained the results obtained from the survey and from here, the top factors for adoption and
success in applying Agile were discovered to be involvement from all parties which requiring organisation and people to make it happen.
The most important factors (or dimensions) identified from both groups (Agile users and non-Agile) were in the dimensions of organisational and people-related
aspects (including customers). Finally the study introduced two models which discovered causal relationships in predicting the impact and benefits (success) of Agile
methods. This research is based on the empirical investigation; hence the study suggests that Agile methods must be adjusted to the organisation and the people to
get involvement from all parties. Agile is more easily adopted in an organisation with low power distance and low uncertainty avoidance. In addition, multinational
companies and private sectors were found to facilitate Agile methods. In these organisations, the employees were found to be proficient using English language.
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