One of the initial steps in researching a problem is to know exactly what the problem is and compose a problem statement that unambiguously identifies and defines the problem to research. Sekaran (2003) said, “No amount of good research can find solutions to the situation, if the critical issue or the problem to be studied is not clearly pinpointed” (p. 69).
The area of research for this paper focuses on software development, in particular, the study of agile software development methodologies and if these methodologies are successful in delivering software on time, within budget, and includes the requested features. Researching a problem requires data to analyze, test hypotheses, and answer questions but the data and the source for the data must be appropriate for the research. Sekaran (2003) states, “The source of the information and the manner in which data are collected could well make a big difference to the rigor and effectiveness of the research project” (p. 19). Data is gathered from numerous sources, including individuals, groups, panels of respondents, the Internet, company records, government publications, and the media. Gathering this data is accomplished through a number of collection methods, including interviews, questionnaires, and observations. The research gathering method for this paper is based on a survey questionnaire that will be mailed to software development organizations.
The survey questionnaire captures three categories of data essential to the research, (1) the general demographics of software development organizations, including the size of the organization, the size of the development team, and experience level of the development team, (2) information related to the most recent project, including the project budget, the duration of the project, and the success of the project, (3) the methodology used on the most recent project and the development team’s feeling concerning the agile development methodology.
These three data categories provide the information to determine if agile development methodologies are successful for all software development projects or if the methodologies are tailored for large or small organizations, large or small projects, large or small development teams, or if agile methodologies are not suited for software development. To arrive at any credible conclusions, this survey would need to be administered to a large population of software developers and development teams.
The survey would need to be expanded to include more questions within each category and the survey would need to include questions focused on the development process itself. Though the survey is small and the scope is limited, the results would provide a simple analysis on the successful or failure of agile software development methodologies. Data without understanding the data is just data; it provides nothing toward the conclusions. Sekaran (2003) said, “Measurement of the variables in the theoretical framework is an integral part of research and an important aspect of research design.
Unless the variables are measured in some way, we will not be able to test our hypotheses and find answers to complex research issues” (p. 174). The measurements used in the survey are physical measurements representing demographics and operational measurements representing subjective feelings. The scales for the questions include; nominal representing categories, ordinal representing rank-order, and interval that allows mathematical operations, and ratio that also allows mathematical operations but has the advantage of providing an absolute starting point.
Each question in the survey is listed below with its associated measurement and scale. 1. How many employees does your company employ? * Measurement: Physical * Scale: Ratio 2. How many employees belong to your company’s Information Technology department? * Measurement: Physical * Scale: Ratio 3. How many employees belong to your development team? * Measurement: Physical * Scale: Ratio 4. What is the experience level of your development team? * Measurement: Operational * Scale: Ratio 5. What was the budget for your most recent Project? * Measurement: Physical * Scale: Ratio 6.
What was the duration or your most recent project? * Measurement: Physical * Scale: Ratio 7. How successful was your most recent project? * Measurement: Operational * Scale: Interval 8. Has your Information Technology department ever used an agile development methodology in the past? * Measurement: Operational * Scale: Interval 9. What development methodology did your development team use on your most recent project? * Measurement: Physical * Scale: Nominal 10. On your most recent project, if the development team used an agile methodology, which style of agile development was used? Measurement: Physical * Scale: Nominal 11. On the scale described in the chart, how do you feel about agile methodologies? * Measurement: Operational * Scale: Interval 12. The final question is free form and not required * Measurement: Operational * Scale: Interval Ethical conduct plays an important role in business research for a couple of reasons; one, it helps better the purpose of the organization and not for other self-serving reasons, and two, it will help safeguard the interests of those involved in the research.
Ethical behavior must be a priority throughout all phases of the research project. Sekaran (2003) states, “The observance of ethics begins with the person instituting the research, who should do so in good faith, pay attention to what the results indicate, and surrendering the ego, pursue organizational rather than self-interests. Ethical conduct should also be reflected in the behavior of the researchers who conduct the investigation, the participants who provide the data, the analysts who provide the results, and the entire research team that presents the interpretation of the results” (p. 8). Ethical behavior is required along each step of the research process, from data collection and analysis to reporting the information. The researcher and the respondents involved in data collection should follow ethical guidelines to preserve the integrity of the research and the people involved (Sekaran, 2003). References Sekaran, U. (2003). Research methods for business: A skill-building approach (4th ed. ). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.