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Agile Implementation and Expansive Learning: Identifying Contradictions and Their Resolution Using an Activity Theory Perspective
  A key challenge organisations face when transitioning to agile delivery methods is that of quickly and effectively learning new ways of working. This study posits that fundamental historical, cultural and behavioural aspects affect the transition and contribute to the poor performance of many agile implementations. In order to address such factors, this study applies a modified Activity Theory (AT) based framework to a case study agile implementation within a large public sector organisation. An activity is closely defined, and six generic activities associated with all agile implementations are identified. These are validated against the agile maturity model literature and a set of evaluation criteria of contradictions , congruences and collaboration is established. Evidence is gathered from participant interviews and the framework is used to surface learning and development obstacles and issues within an expansive learning cycle. The study argues that analysis via this modified AT framework brings original insight. Initial findings indicate that there are relatively few learning and development issues associated with the use of agile tools and techniques themselves and that most problems arise at the interface where the "changed" (more agile) delivery teams meet the organisation's behavioural norms and practices. 1 Introduction Understanding the difficulties and issues associated with agile implementations has been problematic [8] with many varied perspectives [26], organisational settings and approaches [18]. Previous studies [11] have highlighted the need to consider environmental , behavioural and cultural dimensions when studying software development and a recent study [10] suggested an organisational learning perspective with Activity Theory as a useful lens for examining these elements when implementing and adapting agile delivery practices. This paper adds to the discussion by applying an Activity Theory (AT) based framework to evaluate organisational learning, cultural problems and issues when implementing and adapting agile practices. It addresses the following research questions:


Chita, P., Cruickshank, P., Smith, C., & Richards, K. (2020). Agile Implementation and Expansive Learning: Identifying Contradictions and Their Resolution Using an Activity Theory Perspective. In Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming. , (3-19).



Organisational Learning; Activity Theory; Expansive Learning; Contradictions; Congruences

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