Assessing the Association between Agile Maturity Model Levels and Perceived Project Success
Given the underlying philosophy of the agile manifesto, this study investigates whether an increase in agile maturity is associated with improved perceived project success.
The underlying philosophy of the agile manifesto is embodied in principle one which promotes the continuous delivery of software that is deemed valuable by the customer, while principle twelve encourages continual improvement of the delivery process. This constant improvement, or maturity, is not a concept unique to agile methods and is commonly referred to as a maturity model. The most common of maturity model is the Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI). However, research consensus indicates CMMI might not fully be compatible with agile implementation, specifically at higher levels of maturity without sacrificing agility. Agile maturity models (AMM), which are aligned to agile principles encourage continuous improvement while maintaining agility.
The study employs a conceptual model based on an existing agile maturity model that is related to perceived project success. Using an objectivist perspective, a quantitative method was employed to analyze the results of an online survey of agile practitioners.
The significant contribution from this research is the validation of the conceptual model relating the activities and maturity levels of the AMM as the independent variables to the dependent variable of perceived project success.
The data analysis found that a significant positive correlation exists between maturity levels and perceived project success. The strongest correlation was found at the highest maturity level, with relatively weaker correlation at the lower levels of maturity. It can thus be concluded that a higher level of maturity in the AMM is positively associated with perceived project success.
The study has practical implications in highlighting that performance management, requirements management, regular delivery and customer availability are key areas to focus on to establish and continually improve the success of agile implementations. This study further assists practitioners in systematically identifying the critical agile activities, such as the use of story cards, continuous delivery and the presence of a knowledgeable customer.
The contributions of this study for academics is the confirmation of the maturity model developed by Patel and Ramachandran (2009a). This study also shows the association between the individual activities within the maturity levels as well as the maturity levels and the perceived project success, addressing a gap in literature relating these concepts.
It would be useful to replicate this study whilst following a qualitative approach. The study could also be replicated with a sample consisting of agile project customers.