Order and chaos in software development: A comparison of two software development teams in a major it company

L.X. Wang, Richard Vidgen

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

17 Citations (SciVal)


Agile methods have emerged and become popular over last few years as a response to shortcomings of the waterfall process model. However, agile processes are stamped by some as chaotic processes and are placed in opposition to waterfall approaches. This paper uses the edge of chaos concept from complex adaptive systems theory as a theoretical lens to analyse the roles of structure and planning in the software development process. The software development processes of two teams in a major IT company, on of whom uses agile methods and the other a waterfall approach, are presented and the project structure and planning process of each is highlighted then compared. Our research finds that structure and planning are essential to agile processes and take different forms from the waterfall model. Contrary to the belief that agile software development may be chaotic we conclude that it is possible that the waterfall method may be chaotic due to prescribed rather than effective structures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2007
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event15th European Conference on Information Systems - St. Gellen, Switzerland
Duration: 7 Jun 20079 Jun 2007


Conference15th European Conference on Information Systems
CitySt. Gellen


Dive into the research topics of 'Order and chaos in software development: A comparison of two software development teams in a major it company'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this