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From Strategic to Operational Agility: Exploring the Conceptual Anchoring of Elements Leading to Reactive and Flexible Software Development

The practice of developing software has been continuously evolving for the past 20 years. Taking the decision, at governance-level, to develop a large software system according to predefined and hardly vacillating specifications is not to be considered as a mainstream practice anymore. Nowadays, most software packages are being released following short and iterative development cycles when sources of value have been hitherto identified at management-level; these packages are then deployed as fast as possible to effectively capitalize on this value. As a consequence, there is a substantial need for flexibility in the adoption patterns of Information Technology (IT) driven solutions. Indeed, organizations

are seeking IT solutions that they can be expeditiously adopted and effortlessly integrated in their extant infrastructural and software ecosystem. This being the case, IT solutions in general and software in particular are being progressively packaged as services. While commodity services need to be incorporated in the simplest way possible following standard cost-benefit analyses, differentiating services are required to holistically support business processes in order to help organizations maintain a competitive advantage; such services are also expected to be aligned with the enacted business and IT strategies to seek for a better long-term positioning of the organization. Thereby, the facilitation of rapid evaluation processes for new technologies (as imperatively defined in contemporary innovation management tenets) as well as the implementation, integration, and deployment of software development customs are not easy to conciliate with traditional IT governance practices. At the bare minimum, traditional business and IT alignment mechanisms need to be re-envisioned to fit a contemporary business context where operational- and tactical-level ideas are more than often implemented and immediately deployed than reported to the strategic board. The present thesis purports on the elaboration of a scientific approach intended to study the adopted software development techniques that can be felicitous to organizations operating in a highly dynamic business context. It does so by reporting on (i) the application of conceptual models, (ii) the validation of the frameworks they are included in, and (iii) their applicability in various contexts. All of these individual contributions aim to give a new perspective or departure point for the furtherment of ways in which agility can be conciliated with proper IT governance in an Everything-as-a-Service context. As a whole, the present work can be seen as an essay rethinking the position of software releases (built-up in an agile fashion) to be deployed in mature IT environments while the latter being in need of flexible structures allowing for an optimal integration within their current infrastructure.

Date:15 Oct 2019 →  10 May 2023
Keywords:ICT Governance, Requirements Engineering, Governance of the future, Model-Driven Engineering
Disciplines:Records and information management
Project type:PhD project