Student Theses and Projects: The “People Factor” in Agile Information Systems Development: Investigating the Role of Work Design, Leadership and Engagement


Thesis (BA/MA) - Reference number 2019-197

Advisor(s): Veronika Huck-Fries, Leonard Przybilla


The application of agile Information Systems Development (ISD) practices becomes increasingly popular among organizations. Agile ISD development emphasizes to value people over processes (Beck et al., 2001) and puts people are at the heart of agile project management (Cockburn & Highsmith, 2001). Agile ISD practices strive for flexible and self-organized team autonomy, a high amount of team interactions as well as satisfied and engaged team members (Cockburn & Highsmith, 2001; Highsmith, 2002; Jaramillo & Richardson, 2016). The “increasingly social nature of software development” (Balijepally, Mahapatra, Nerur, & Price, 2009) imposes questions of teams, collaborations forms, leadership and HR performance to the body of knowledge on agile ISD research. The theses seek to understand how agile ISD practices affect work design from an information systems, organization science and psychological perspective. Students with interest in this field could conduct literature analysis, compile research questions, conduct scientific studies (experiment, survey) and derive the findings that seek to investigate the phenomenon.


  • Topics of Agile ISD

    • Leadership
    • Empowerment
    • Teams and collaboration
    • Motivation and engagement

  • Related topics


  • Interest in current topics of agile ISD
  • High degree of autonomy and individual responsibility
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Experience in and willingness to conduct scientific studies
  • Structured, reliable and self-motivated work style

Further Information

Balijepally, V., Mahapatra, R., Nerur, S., & Price, K. H. (2009). Are two heads better than one for software development? The productivity paradox of pair programming. MIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems, 33(1), 91-118.

Hoda, R., Noble, J., & Marshall, S. (2012). Self-organizing roles on agile software development teams. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 39(3), 422-444.

Moe, N. B., Aurum, A., & Dybå, T. (2012). Challenges of shared decision-making: A multiple case study of agile software development. Information & Software Technology, 54(8), 853–865. doi:10.1016/j.infsof.2011.11.006

Tessem, B. (2014). Individual empowerment of agile and non-agile software developers in small teams. Information and Software Technology, 56(8), 873-889. doi:10.1016/j.infsof.2014.02.005

Tripp, J., Riemenschneider, C., & Thatcher, J. (2016). Job Satisfaction in Agile Development Teams: Agile Development as Work Redesign. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 17(4), 267. doi:10.17705/1jais.00426