The Agile and the Disciplined Software Approaches: Combinable or Just Compatible?

Conference paper


Offhand, the agile and the disciplined software development approaches seem contradicting. More and more, software development organizations however strive at implementing an agile software development approach while still being compliant to a quality assurance standard. Researchers are discussing the combinability and compatibility of these two approaches. Through a review of the literature, the purpose of this chapter is to determine whether the agile and the disciplined software development approaches are combinable or just compatible, in particular to identify the main challenges of using an agile software development approach in a disciplined setting. The review shows that the agile and the disciplined approaches are compatible, but not combinable. It is possible to implement agile practices and principles in a development process compliant with a quality standard, but the regulations of the standard makes it impossible to implement a full agile software development process without compromising the agility. The main challenges, when balancing the agility and discipline in a project, are how to determine the right level of documentation and how to overcome the differences in the way requirements are handled.


Software Development Process User Story Agile Method Discipline Approach Agile Practice 
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.


  1. Beck K, Andres C (2004) Extreme programming explained: embrace change. Addison-Wesley Professional, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck K, Beedle M, van Bennekum A, Cockburn A, Cunningham W, Fowler M, Grenning J, Highsmith J, Hunt A, Jeffries R, Kern J, Marick B, Martin RC, Mellor S, Schwaber K, Sutherland J, Thomas D (2001) Manifesto for agile software development. Available at: 30 June 2011
  3. Boehm B, Turner R (2003a) Observations on balancing discipline and agility. In: Proceedings of the agile development conference. IEEE Computer Society, Salt Lake City, pp 32–39Google Scholar
  4. Boehm B, Turner R (2003b) Using risk to balance agile and plan-driven methods. Computer 36(6):57–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boehm B, Turner R (2004) Balancing agility and discipline: evaluating and integrating agile and plan-driven methods. In: Proceedings of the 26th international conference on software engineering. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, pp 718Google Scholar
  6. Dahlberg H, Ruiz FS, Olsson CM (2006) The role of extreme programming in a plan-driven organization. In: The transfer and diffusion of information technology for organizational resilience: IFIP TC8 WG 8.6 international working conference. Springer, Galway, pp 291Google Scholar
  7. Fritzsche M, Keil P (2007) Agile methods and CMMI: compatibility or conflict? e-Inform Softw Eng J 1(1):9–26Google Scholar
  8. Hashmi SI, Baik J (2007) Software quality assurance in XP and spiral-A comparative study. In: International conference on computational science and its applications, 2007. ICCSA 2007. IEEE, Fukuoka, pp 367Google Scholar
  9. Heeager LT, Nielsen PA (2009) Agile software development and its compatibility with a document-driven approach? A case study. In: Australasian conference on information systems, Melbourne, Australia, pp 205Google Scholar
  10. Hsieh HF, Shannon SE (2005) Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qual Heal Res 15(9):1277–1288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kähkönen T, Abrahamsson P (2004) Achieving CMMI level 2 with enhanced extreme programming approach. Lect Notes Comput Sci 3009:378–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Marçal ASC, de Freitas BCC, Soares FSF, Furtado MES, Maciel TM, Belchior AD (2008) Blending scrum practices and CMMI project management process areas. Innov Syst Softw Eng 4(1):17–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Muhr T (1991) ATLAS/ti – a prototype for the support of text interpretation. Qual Sociol 14(4):349–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nawrocki JR, Walter B, Wojciechowski A (2002a) Comparison of CMM level 2 and eXtreme programming. Lect Notes Comput Sci 2349:288–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nawrocki JR, Jasiñski M, Walter B, Wojciechowski A (2002b) Combining extreme programming with ISO 9000. Lect Notes Comput Sci:786–794Google Scholar
  16. Nawrocki J, Olek L, Jasinski M, Paliswiat B, Walter B, Pietrzak B, Godek P (2006) Balancing agility and discipline with xprince. Lect Notes Comput Sci 3943:266–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nerur S, Mahapatra RK, Mangalaraj G (2005) Challenges of migrating to agile methodologies. Commun ACM 48(5):78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Opelt K, Beeson T (2008) Agile teams require agile QA: how to make it work. An experience report. In: Agile, 2008. AGILE’08. IEEE Computer Society, Toronto, pp 229Google Scholar
  19. Pikkarainen M (2009) Towards a better understanding of CMMI and agile integration-multiple case study of four companies. In: Product-focused software process improvement: 10th international conference. PROFES 2009, Springer, Oulu, pp 401Google Scholar
  20. Pikkarainen M, Mäntyniemi A (2006) An approach for using CMMI in agile software development assessments: experiences from three case studies. In: SPICE 2006 conference, Luxemburg, pp 4.Google Scholar
  21. Reifer DJ (2003) XP and the CMM. IEEE Softw 20(3):14–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rönkkö M, Jarvi A, Makela MM (2008) Measuring and comparing the adoption of software process practices in the software product industry. Lect Notes Comput Sci 5007:407–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Strauss AL, Corbin J (1990) Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory procedures and techniques. Sage, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  24. Theunissen WH, Kourie DG, Watson BW (2003) Standards and agile software development. In: Proceedings of the 2003 annual research conference of the South African institute of computer scientists and information technologists on Enablement through technology. South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists, Republic of South Africa, Johannesburg, pp 178Google Scholar
  25. Turk D, France R, Rumpe B (2002) Limitations of agile software processes. In: Third international conference on eXtreme programming and agile processes in software engineering, Citeseer, pp 43Google Scholar
  26. Turner R (2002) Agile development: good process or bad attitude? Lect Notes Comput Sci 2559:134–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Turner R, Jain A (2002) Agile meets CMMI: culture clash or common cause? Lect Notes Comput Sci 2418:153–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Vinekar V, Slinkman CW, Nerur S (2006) Can agile and traditional systems development approaches coexist? An ambidextrous view. Inf Syst Manage 23(3):31–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Webster J, Watson RT (2002) Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: writing a literature review. MIS Q 26(2):13–23Google Scholar
  30. Wehmeier S (2010) Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary. Homepage of Oxford University Press. Available at: December 2010
  31. Zanatta AL, Vilain P (2006) Extending an agile method to support requirements management and development in conformance to CMMI. HIFEN 30:58Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aalborg UniversityAalborg ØDenmark

Personalised recommendations