Agile Challenges in Practice: A Thematic Analysis

As agile is maturing and becoming more widely adopted, it is important that researchers are aware of the challenges faced by practitioners and organisations. We undertook a thematic analysis of 193 agile challenges collected at a series of agile conferences and events during 2013 and 2014. Participants were mainly practitioners and business representatives along with some academics. The challenges were thematically analysed by separate authors, synthesised, and a list of seven themes and 27 sub-themes was agreed. Themes were Organisation, Sustainability, Culture, Teams, Scale, Value and Claims and Limitations. We compare our findings against previous attempts to identify and categorise agile challenges. While most themes have persisted we found a shift of focus towards sustainability, business engagement and transformation, as well as claims and limitations. We identify areas for further research and a need for innovative methods of conveying academic research to industry and industrial problems to academia.