Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Adopting Agile and Scrum Practices as Organizational Becoming

By Juan Mateos-Garcia and Jonathan Sapsed


Established ‘rational’ methodologies in the field of project management are being increasingly challenged by scholars who argue that the emphasis that they place on idealised top-down processes neglect ‘soft’ human dimensions of projects. This has led to negative outcomes such as delays in delivery, low quality products and overshot budgets. In this paper, set in the empirical context of video game development, we present and analyse the Agile Programming Paradigm, an approach to the organisation of software projects that has recently emerged as an alternative to traditional, formal project management and organisation methodologies. The proponents of Agile advocate a bottom-up approach to management with an emphasis on constant product iterations and interaction with customers. They argue that a shift in attention from processes, documentation and measurement to ‘softer’ variables supports a development system better able to ‘embrace change’, which is understood as the\ud key limitation of formal, rational methods. We use emerging analyses of ‘organisational becoming’ first advanced by Tsoukas and Chia (2002) in order to frame our discussion theoretically, suggesting that the Agile Paradigm constitutes a potential answer to a key question formulated during their research, ‘what must organisation(s) be like if change is constitutive of reality’. In the empirical part of the paper we present three case studies of organisations that have implemented Agile techniques. This analysis informs a subsequent discussion where we assess the advantages and limitations of the Agile Paradigm. We conclude with an interpretation of our findings within the ‘Organisational Becoming’ philosophical framework

Topics: N214 Organisational development, N215 Change and Innovation, N213 Project management
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2000). A fast method for analysing and improving complex software processes." doi
  2. (1986). A Rational Design Process: How And Why To Fake It." doi
  3. (2002). Agile Software Development with Scrum. Upper Saddle River,
  4. (1990). Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms." doi
  5. (1998). Competing on Internet Time: lessons from Netscape and its battle with Microsoft. doi
  6. (2002). Creative Industries: contracts between art and commerce. doi
  7. (2005). Extreme Programming Explained.
  8. (2007). Extreme Programming Inventor talks about agile development.
  9. (2007). For Better or Worse: A Quality of Life Update." Game Developer Magazine(June/July
  10. (2005). Getting the Measure of the Electronic Games Industry: Developers and the Management of Innovation." doi
  11. (1968). How do Committees Invent?" Datamation
  12. (1970). Managing the Development of Large Software Systems.
  13. (2001). Manifesto for Agile Software Develpment.
  14. (1995). Microsoft secrets : how the world's most powerful software company creates technology, shapes markets, and manages people. doi
  15. (2002). On Organizational Becoming: Rethinking Organizational Change." doi
  16. (2007). Scrum and Long Term Project Planning for Video Games. Gamasutra Volume,
  17. (2006). Software Engineering. doi
  18. (1993). The Capability Maturity Model for Software." from
  19. (1988). The Design of Everyday Things. doi
  20. (1972). The Humble Programmer." doi
  21. (1995). The Mythical Man Month. doi
  22. (1989). Theory-W Software Project Management: Principles and Examples." doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.