Barriers of Agile Requirements Engineering in the Public Sector: A Systematic Literature Review

Avita Tri Utami, Teguh Raharjo, Ilham Zharif Mustaqim, Ni Wayan Trisnawaty
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 19  •  2024  •  pp. 006

The objective of this study is to summarize the challenges of Agile Requirements Engineering (Agile RE) in the public sector in republican and constitutional monarchy nations. Additionally, it offers recommendations to address these challenges.

Failure of IT projects in the public sector results in financial losses for the state and loss of public trust, often attributed to issues in requirements engineering such as prioritization of user needs and excessive scope of requirements. IT projects can have a higher success rate with Agile RE, but there are also drawbacks. Therefore, this study holds significance by presenting a thorough framework designed to pinpoint and overcome the challenges associated with Agile RE to increase the success rate of IT projects.

This study employs a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) protocol in the field of software engineering or related domains, which consists of three main phases: planning the review, conducting the review with a snowballing approach, and reporting the review. Furthermore, the authors perform open coding to categorize challenges based on the Agile methodologies adoption factor model and axial coding to map potential solutions.

The authors assert that this research enriches the existing literature on Agile RE, specifically within the public sector context, by mapping out challenges and possible solutions that contribute to creating a foundation for future studies to conduct a more in-depth analysis of Agile adoption in the public sector. Furthermore, it compares the barriers of Agile RE in the public sector with the general context, leading to the discovery of new theories specifically for this field.

Most challenges related to Agile RE in the public sector are found in the people and process aspects. Project and organizational-related are subsequent aspects. Therefore, handling people and processes proficiently is imperative within Agile RE to prevent project failure.

Our findings offer a comprehensive view of Agile RE in the public sector in republican and constitutional monarchy nations. This study maps the challenges encountered by the public sector and provides potential solutions. The authors encourage practitioners to consider our findings as a foundation for adopting Agile methodology in the public sector. Furthermore, this study can assist practitioners in identifying existing barriers related to Agile RE, pinpointing elements that contribute to overcoming those challenges, and developing strategies based on the specific needs of the organizations.

Researchers have the potential to expand the scope of this study by conducting research in other countries, especially African countries, as this study has not yet encompassed this geographic region. Additionally, they can strengthen the evidence linking Agile RE challenges to the risk of Agile project failure by performing empirical validation in a specific country.

This research conducts a comprehensive exploration of Agile RE within the public sector, serving as a foundation for the successful adoption of Agile methodology by overcoming obstacles related to Agile RE. This study highlights the importance of managing people, processes, projects, and organizational elements to increase the success of Agile adoption in the public sector.

In the future, researchers should work towards resolving the limitations identified in this study. This study has not provided a clear prioritization of challenges and solutions according to their significance. Therefore, future researchers can perform a Fuzzy Analytical Hierarchical Process (F-AHP) to prioritize the proposed solutions.

Agile requirements engineering, public sector, Agile challenges, systematic literature review
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