Journal of Information Systems Education


Current academic and industry discussions regarding systems development project approaches increasingly focus on agile development and/or DevOps, as these approaches are seen as more modern, streamlined, flexible, and, therefore, effective as compared to traditional plan-driven approaches. This extends to the current pedagogy for teaching systems analysis and design (SA&D). However, overemphasizing agile and DevOps neglects broader dimensions that are essential for planning and executing enterprise-level systems projects. Thus, a dilemma may arise: do we teach agile and DevOps techniques that may be inadequate for enterprise-level projects or do we teach the wider range of plan-driven skills and techniques that may conflict with the tenets and benefits of agile and DevOps? In this paper, we advocate for resolving this dilemma by adopting a generalized process framework that both fully supports enterprise-level projects but can also be selectively scaled back toward increased agility for smaller, less complex projects. In its full realization, this framework combines extensive project planning and up-front requirements with iterative delivery – an increasingly popular approach today for enterprise projects. In scaling back toward agile, the framework carefully accounts for system, environment, and team characteristics. Further, the model emphasizes issues frequently underemphasized by agile approaches, including the use of external software such as commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), Software- as-a-Service (SaaS), and open source products and components; the need for business-oriented project planning and justification; and support for change management to ensure successful system adoption. The framework thereby flexibly accommodates the full range of activities that software projects must support to be successful.



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