Journal of Information Systems Education (JISE)

Volume 29

Volume 29 Number 2, Pages 117-126

Spring 2018

Coping with Uncertainty in an Agile Systems Development Course

Toni Taipalus
Ville Seppänen
Maritta Pirhonen

University of Jyvaskyla
Jyvaskyla 40014, Finland

Abstract: Uncertain and ambiguous environments are commonplace in information systems development (ISD) projects, and while different Agile frameworks welcome changes in organizational, technical, and business environments, the incurred uncertainty is known to negatively affect the development process and the quality of the final product. The effects of uncertainty on ISD projects have been studied in the past in real organizational contexts, but the effects of uncertainty on students in Agile systems development have received less attention from scholars. In this study, we measured the effects of experienced uncertainty on students’ performance in an Agile systems development course and how uncertainty affected the quality of the system developed by the students using Scrum. We implemented the course using a problem based learning (PBL) approach and simulated uncertainty through various work environment reflecting concepts. Our study reveals that the effects of uncertainty are fairly similar among students and software professionals, and we identified three different coping strategies that students used with varying degrees of success. We present that learning approaches such as PBL enable a befitting environment for students to acquire hands-on experience in coping with uncertain environments, thus mitigating the problems students are likely to face in their work environments.

Keywords: Scrum, Agile, Software engineering, Problem-based learning (PBL), Student perceptions

Download this article: JISE - Volume 29 Number 2, Page 117.pdf

Recommended Citation: Taipalus, T., Seppänen, V., & Pirhonen, M. (2018). Coping with Uncertainty in an Agile Systems Development Course. Journal of Information Systems Education, 29(1), 117-126.