This paper explores how experience drives certain project management decisions on agile software development teams. Using naturalistic decision-making (NDM) theory, the paper identifies: decisions made by an agile team, experiential influence in their resolution, and decisions escalated to a higher authority. Using an agile software development case study, 18 interviews and 21 meeting observations were conducted. Results indicate the team made most planning and technical decisions, relying on experience for planning decisions but developing creative solutions for technical decisions requiring novel courses of action. Decisions were escalated when the team could not resolve them (e.g. dependencies and resourcing decisions). The team studied used two NDM decision methods: recognition-primed and creative methods. Many planning decisions used the recognition-primed method as these decisions relied on memories of previous similar situations and decisions, adding to existing research on experience driving decisions (2006) but moving beyond a specific type of decision (e.g. design decisions) to understand how experience drives the project management of an agile team.
Drury, Meghann; Acton, Tom; Conboy, Kieran; and Golden, Willie, "The Role of Experience in Agile Software Development Decision-Making" (2011). International Research Workshop on IT Project Management 2011. 9.