The extensive prescriptive literature on software and information systems development methods routinely recommends more methodical, plan-driven approaches for more complex projects and more agile, adaptive approaches for less complex projects. This paper presents a revelatory case study in which a team with no imposed method successfully used a more methodical, plan-driven approach for a simple project and a more adaptive, amethodical approach for a more complex project. Furthermore, the team explicitly and intentionally transitioned a less methodical, more adaptive process to cope with the increasing complexity of the second project. This pattern directly contradicts the dominant narrative advocated in methods literature. The paper adopts the theory of complex adaptive systems to analyze and understand the observed pattern and deconstruct the dominant narrative.
Ralph, Paul and Narros, Jose Eduardo, "Complexity, Process and Agility in Small Development Teams: An Exploratory Case Study" (2013). PACIS 2013 Proceedings. 154.