Soft Systems Methodology: An Aid to Agile Development?

  • D. Bustard
  • F. Keenan


In principle, an agile approach to information systems development has the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the development process. One apparent disadvantage, however, is that agile methods tend to be strongly “product-focused”, meaning that they place greater emphasis on creating and modifying information systems than on understanding the context in which they are to be used. As a result, higher level requirements and issues can be less well understood. This paper argues for the use of more context analysis in agile development, while acknowledging that any extra effort required must be modest to stay within the general agile ethos. In particular, the paper considers the extent to which soft systems methodology might be a suitable way to perform such analysis. It is concluded that although this methodology is generally perceived as time-consuming, it is essentially sympathetic to the agile approach and is flexible enough to integrate with existing agile techniques.


Soft System Methodology Rich Picture Agile Method Information System Development Agile Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was undertaken through the Centre for Software Process Technologies, which is supported by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland (PEACE II).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Bustard
  • F. Keenan

There are no affiliations available

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