Group Decision Quality in Agile Software Development: The Impact of Contribution Behaviours
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The purpose of this research is to develop an understanding of the impact of contribution behaviours on group decision quality in the context of Agile Software Development (ASD) teams. ASD is the most commonly deployed approach in Information Systems Development (ISD), and its adoption continues to rise. Teamwork is an integral part of all ASD methodologies. ASD teams are self-managed; they set and comply their own rules, define their own behaviours and encompass a devolved decision-making structure. They therefore rely heavily on the input of their team members during decision making. There are however, a number of complexities associated with decision making in ASD teams coupled with traditional complexities associated with groupwork and group decision making. Alternative-generation by group members is essential in surfacing necessary information to inform decision making. The extraction of this information is often problematic and in the context of ASD teams can only be achieved when group members engage in contribution behaviours. This research investigates how contribution behaviours impact group decision quality in the context of ASD teams and examines how ASD practices influence this relationship. The study also determines how ASD practices can be leveraged to facilitate contribution behaviours during group decision making. The research first identifies six process indicators for achieving decision quality in groups and is one of the first to collectively assess and examine these in the context of ASD. Hitherto, much research on decision quality has assessed outcome indicators and this study responds to research calls for approaches that assess process indicators; the relevancy of which extends beyond ISD. A qualitative, two-phased research approach was used. The primary research phase adopted a multiple-case study approach that incorporated twenty-six structured interviews with four ASD teams across two organisations. Direct observations of each team's ASD practices were also conducted. In the context of ASD teams, results show a strong presence of five of the six process indicators for achieving decision quality in groups. The study offers novel input into limited, existing research on contribution behaviours and illustrates their imperative role in impacting four decision quality indicators. Ways in which ASD practices can be leveraged to facilitate effective contribution behaviours during group decision making are presented. Ultimately, the study shows that facilitating effective contribution behaviours can positively impact group decision quality and this is a worthwhile avenue for researchers and practitioners.
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