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Abstract

While research has demonstrated positive productivity and quality gains from using agile software development methods (SDMs), some experts argue that no single SDM suits every project context. We lack empirical evidence about the project contextual factors that influence when one should use these methods. Research suggests several factors to explain agile method appropriateness; however, generalizable empirical evidence supporting these suggestions is weak. To address this need, we used contingency theory and the information processing model to develop the agile contingent project/method fit model. Subsequently, we used the model to analyze the influence of project contextual factors and agile practices on software development professionals’ perceptions regarding agile SDM appropriateness. We tested the model using survey data collected from 122 systems development professionals who provided information regarding: 1) contextual factors surrounding a recent agile development project, 2) agile practices applied during the course of that project, and 3) perceptions regarding the relative fit (appropriateness) of the agile method used. Linear regression identified several significant relationships between project contextual factors, agile practices, and respondents’ relative fit perceptions.

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