Дата публикации: 20.04.2022
Kassenov Zholaman Bakytzhanovich
master student 2nd year
International Information Technologies University
Moldagulova Aiman Nikolayevna
cand. of tech. sci., assistant-professor
International Information Technology University
Today, the profound effect of digital transformation on industry, education, and personal life becomes clearer. Technology has become much more prominent considering the impact of major environmental events such as the covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Project management takes a significant place in emerging markets, compared to states where the market system and relations have a more developed system of protecting the rights of shareholders. Thus, the cost of capital and the level of potential threats are determined not only by the current state of the economy in the country, but also by the level of quality of corporate project management within the organization. Companies that manage to achieve even minimal quality improvements can gain investor support as they will have a more attractive investment environment. Currently, project management takes an important place in all developed countries and organizations that are engaged in innovation and investment activities. The goal of project management ultimately lies in the effective use of the resources allocated for the project, including the ratio of costs of both material and financial resources, human resources, the quality of the project and its implementation. Modern companies are usually faced with the dilemma of implementing project management technology: use an existing model or start developing their own model. As the practice and experience of many companies shows, it is impossible to consider absolutely everything, and therefore you cannot stop there, you need to monitor the quality and relevance of the project management model and always move on, striving for excellence.
Keywords: infodemiс; COVID-19; project management; Agile;
The pandemic is also reshaping the way businesses operate, even in software engineering, resulting in improvements to systems, procedures, and communication tools, among other things. In the coming years, other results are likely to emerge.
The social distancing is one of the immediate ways COVID-19 has affected most businesses. Today is yet another normal day for businesses who have already embraced virtual teams. While it is likely to have a temporary effect on programs, team morale, and teamwork for others, it is likely to have a long-term impact for others.
Software teams and managers have demanded additional skills to produce improved business outcomes since agile approaches were first applied to software development.
Agile teams, for example, search for the ability to feel and react to changes around the organization in a structured manner. Agility is inextricably linked to volatility, which is unavoidable in agile teams. Uncertainty must be welcomed. The possibility of changing directions is the first manifestation of embraced ambiguity. All of the teams agree that the iterative nature of their method allows them to change directions more easily when necessary .
An empirical analysis of a startup was performed based on the presented context, allowing us to demonstrate our research goals in a very concrete way. The aim of this study is to present the steps taken during the startup to deal with the uncertainties that arose as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our study's key research question is: How do software development startups that use agile deal with Covid-19s-related uncertainties?
Rather than working from a remote office or a well-equipped home office, some people work on the fly in their bedrooms, kitchen tables, and sofas while their friends, children, siblings, parents, roommates, and pets keep them company.
The emphasis of this paper is not on distributed software development. However, during an ongoing crisis, “working from home” appeared spontaneously (remote way of working). As a result, the DSD advantages of working from home are not applicable. The aim of this paper is to show how an agile co-located startup can transition to a working from home model . Furthermore, this research summarizes a collection of lessons learned that other startups should apply.
The following is a breakdown of the paper's structure: We introduce the problem's context and describe our research questions in Section 2. The method is defined in Section 3. In Section 4, we present the findings and discuss their implications and limitations; Conclusions and future directions in Section 5, we present the findings and discuss their implications and limitations.
According to a recent survey, more than 90% of organizations are using an agile methodology for software growth. Being agile is often associated with major changes that are fraught with uncertainty. Regardless of the industry or the motivation of the business, the problem remains the same: although deciding to do agile is easy, actually doing agile is not. Many organizations claim to be "agile," but they frequently overlook the fact that agile has two components: technological and cultural agility. The failure to consider cultural agility can result in employee dissatisfaction as a result of uncertainty in software development activities.
Case studies, ethnographies, trials, surveys, and action analysis are only a few examples of observational assessment methods. Among these, action research appears to be a necessary and reliable tool for Covid-19 to assess the effect of uncertainties in the sense of an Agile Software Startup . Action research is an applied research technique in which researchers attempt to solve a real-world problem while also researching the process of solving it. The action research method can be defined as a series of learning cycles with predetermined stages. Three action research periods are used in this study. Baskerville et al. suggested a protocol for action testing, which they adopt. The key feature of action research is the participation of practitioners as both subjects and co-researchers. Similarly, our action study team (hereafter referred to as "research team") was made up of two internal researchers and two external researchers. Academic theories and clinical practice were addressed at workshops and meetings in order to iteratively propose steps to resolve the pandemic's many complexities and challenges. To provide quick support to the organization, the research team concentrated on weekly sprints, with an action research cycle applied every two sprints.
Their research was carried out within the Di2Win 3 operation. Di2win is a Brazilian startup with investors all over the world. Recife, a city in Brazil's northeast, is home to the company's headquarters. The company was founded in 2018 and is the result of more than 25 years of research and development of artificial intelligence solutions by a community of founders, academics, and tech experts. The startup saw the need to provide a digital transition to all economic sectors as artificial intelligence innovations matured and the consumer ability to demand and absorb them grew. The first move was to connect process automation and robotics principles to create a framework capable of adapting to any company's business process needs, optimizing the process with artificial intelligence, and digitizing all of its phases .
The project is an insurance onboarding platform for automobiles that connects to a legacy ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system through two Web-based interfaces. The project encompasses all aspects of car insurance, including quotation, plan formation and implementation, and policy issuance. Both end-users and operation users use web applications to complete all process steps, and robotic process automation is used to communicate between the web applications and the ERP. One scrum master, one product creator, one technical leader, and six developers make up the research team. To protect their identities, we assigned each of them an ID number, as shown in Table 1. The research examines behaviors that affect all team members as well as other company employees, but the study's emphasis is on software development members. In their development phase, all Di2win project teams use a mix of agile concepts, methods, and events from frameworks and models like Scrum and Kanban .
The problem's description Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Di2win had most of its operations in a Recife co-location office. With the spread of Covid-19, however, the possibility of the disease spreading widely in Recife became clear. As a consequence, a mental shift as well as the adaptation of processes, protocols, and even the workplace were needed right away.
Suddenly, the situation changed overnight, and cases of Covid-19 started to appear in Recife on March 12th, 2020. On March 16th, 2020, the state government ordered the suspension of classes in private and public schools, as well as universities. The state government issued an order suspending the operations of non-essential factories, industrial, and service provision establishments on March 20th, 2020. The research team started analyzing the situation and its possible impact on the company's programs before any of these government decrees were released. .
During the negotiations, the pandemic raised a number of issues, including project contracts, customer reactions to the pandemic, team capacity to work remotely (from home), infrastructure needs, and suppliers' work. Since a lockdown was a possibility, the team had to adapt agile co-located operations to work from home, as well as deal with the uncertainties that could arise as a result. The most significant challenges were I maintaining team efficiency, (ii) defining the resources required to handle remote work, (iii) aligning client priorities, (iv) continuing to generate value across cycles, and (v) maintaining employee wellbeing. (vi) to provide all workers with the appropriate infrastructure, and (vii) to organize the development process .
The first author (the technical leader of the project under study) suggested undertaking an action research to present, investigate, and review practices and resources that could help address the difficulties and handle the associated uncertainty, due to the chaotic situation generated by the pandemic and Di2win's desire to preserve the consistency of its software development process.
The analysis was accepted by the scrum master (the fourth author), and the two other authors were tasked with diagnosing and implementing the action research. The analysis was announced to the whole team, and everyone decided to participate. Action testing cycles were performed between March 19th and May 6th, 2020.
The pandemic brought many uncertainties, and the diagnosis process revealed that many decisions needed to be made to prevent more problems. When does Di2win start working remotely? In a remote area, what resources does the business use? How will the team be more easily aligned with the project's objectives? How will consumers be brought into line with the new situation? Many of these questions required quick responses, and many decisions had to be made quickly to determine the new way of operating. Several meetings were held during the pandemic assessment to address the evolution of Covid-19 in Recife, as well as any concerns about the immediate change and remote function. Many ideas on how to perform remote work and handle the challenges that come with it emerged from these meetings, which helped to determine the direction of the first research cycle. The first cycle's objective was to coordinate and define protocols and resources that would be used in a remote area, and the second cycle's goal was to encourage activity standardization .
The team agreed that the second cycle should boost previous outcomes (e.g., instructions and resources setup) in order to better organize the software development process after evaluating the results. The aim was to encourage new protocols, events, and partnership activities in order to enhance remote working and reduce project management and communication uncertainties. The third and final cycle focused on the software development process's maintainability in a remote environment. The aim was to create a few more activities in order to better handle the risks associated with code creation, project execution, and status. Table 2 shows the length of each cycle as well as the sprints covered. Just four days have passed since Sprint 0 began. It was only done to determine the uncertainty scenario and to establish how remote work can be done in advance. Furthermore, because remote work began on March 19th, we agreed to end sprint 0 on March 18th and begin the first cycle with Sprint 1 the next day. .
Evaluation and Analysis
The findings of the study are discussed, as well as the effect of the actions taken during the project development process, team member relationships, code quality, and the use of the new platforms identified. The graphics plotted were created using the open source framework metabase and Microsoft Excel to present some of the benefits of the actions. The project that was built during the research began in December 2019. Although, in February 2020, some essential business requirements changed, necessitating the start of a new process. This process began a few weeks before the intensification of Covid-19 in Recife. As a result, the pandemic effectively forced the completion of this new phase of the project from afar. Almost all essential criteria were introduced during the action research cycles; only a small group of requirements remained for other sprints to be optimized and tested by the consumer. Despite the fact that it is not yet complete, the customer and some stakeholders provided positive feedback on the project's progress during the quarantine period and were pleased with the performance. The actions presented yielded several benefits, which were expressed directly in project quality and teamwork, as well as a stronger collaborative atmosphere for all team members. Figure 1(a) depicts the consistency of the features developed; as can be seen, the number of bugs discovered in the project decreased over time, decreasing the uncertainty surrounding technology and quality. [2, 5].
Reflections and Learning
The diagnosis phase revealed how difficult the pandemic will be for Di2win, with several unknowns about the startup's future, clients, and software development process. The acts taken during the action research yielded positive outcomes, observations, and lessons gained on how to handle the risks of remote work during the spread of Covid-19. The activities aided the team in improving the quality of the code, understanding project specifications, event schedules, participant relationships, information sharing, and, as a result, customer input on the work performed. The technical leader's job in the final cycle was to provide input to the developers on their actions and success when working remotely. However, not only was of developer's assessment taken into account, but the technical leader also questioned all developers regarding the study and its outcomes. The developers accepted that the activities aided the team in achieving technological expertise, learning more about the project's business rules, improving their development process, reducing technology uncertainties, closing the gap between team members, and improving the quality of the features produced. “The information sharing round was very beneficial, we can do this frequently,” the P5 said during the developer feedback sessions. “It explained the uncertainties that I had about the implementation of the complex specifications in the backend.” “It's interesting that we were able to develop the code review policy during remote work,” the P4 continued, “for me, it was one of the most important things.” It elevated the team to a new level and gave me the impression that we were producing higher-quality code with less bugs.” “I think we took a huge step forward when we began to make more contact with all of the team members, many questions about the company domain were clarified, and misunderstandings were not as frequent,” P2 added. “The game rounds at the end of sprint 6 were very helpful to de-stress me, and I felt happier to work.” “I think we should keep doing our job in this way,” P3 said, “because with all of these activities, it became very clear how our method works and what we should do.” “The virtual meetings with the whole development team makes me feel like I'm in the workplace, talking with my coworkers about the project and even just chatting about random things,” he added.
Threats to validity
Aside from the fact that we followed the steps of action research outlined in the process section, there are some challenges to the study's validity to note. Validity of the construct It determines whether the studied measures accurately represent what the researchers were looking for and what was investigated in response to the study questions. . The most significant challenge to this validity is that the first and fourth authors are both technical leaders and scrum masters on the project, which may lead them to observe and perceive the consequences of behavior based on their own beliefs and expectations. To counteract this challenge, external researchers were tasked with continuously evaluating the outcomes of the activities and verifying them using the data at hand. Whether a topic was viewed by external researchers as requiring internal researcher attention, they addressed it together in order to address it through further study.Internal validity It aims to ensure that the results are derived and based on the data, and it also focus on the study design. Internal consistency It focuses on the study design as well as ensuring that the findings are derived and based on the data. The team observation, feedback sessions, and the tools that the team uses, such as Azure DevOps, Microsoft Teams, and source code repositories, were used to collect all knowledge from all periods in our action study. The authors checked all of the data and surveyed the team members to ensure internal validity. Validity from the outside This danger is linked to the study's ability to generalize its findings. An external threat could be linked to the fact that only one project has been investigated, with a single team from the startup as the priority. We assume, however, that the approach taken was systemic, and that any startup or organization in a similar situation will benefit from the behavior suggested. [2, 8].
The Covid-19 pandemic shocked the world, prompting businesses to change their ways of doing business quickly. Companies that used to conduct their business in a co-located environment encountered numerous obstacles when transitioning to a remote working environment, including concerns about technology, the economy, socioeconomic challenges, infrastructure, and a variety of other factors. [nine] Managing risks, as well as adapting certain agile techniques, may be a deciding factor in maintaining efficiency when working remotely during a pandemic. This study presents the findings of an action research project conducted in a medium-sized tech startup during the Covid-19 pandemic quarantine in Recife from March 15th to May 6th, 2020. The outcomes of the study's activities could be useful to other startups and businesses dealing with the effects of the pandemic and the challenges that come with it. However, the study also gives academics advice about how to deal with uncertainty in remote teams that aren't used to working remotely. Aside from that, the study's key contribution is the lessons learned discussed, as well as the action-research measures. As a result, the theory and practice are aligned. We concentrated on tech startups in this article. [2, 10] These results, on the other hand, can be applicable to a particular organization that uses agile approaches to enhance remote work. Furthermore, these uncertainties are common in global software growth. Our research, on the other hand, aims to take action in the sense of startups that have unexpectedly begun to operate from home. It is expected that the actions taken with other teams and projects at the organization, and ideally in other startup environments, will be carried out in the future. Furthermore, we will create a model based on the action results that will direct businesses through the necessary changes for remote work migration.
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