Connecting teams, architects and management: scaling Agile with the CAFFEA framework
Companies face the challenge of scaling up Agile Software Development, in order to achieve responsiveness both in short and long term. A major concern is how to continuously develop and manage software architecture in order to align it to changing business requirements and to support fast Agile teams. To achieve such goal, it’s of utmost importance to coordinate and connect the development teams with software architects and product manager, who need to take strategic decisions affecting many teams. Vice-versa, the development teams need to receive strategic information promptly: feedback on architecture deterioration and prioritization between architecture improvements and features. During our investigation, we found that an organizational structure, communication mechanisms and the application of Agile principles among these actors are the key for large software companies to improve their responsiveness.
Together with several companies, our partners in the Software Center, we have developed an organizational framework, CAFFEA, for continuous architecting. The framework includes teams, roles and practices that have currently been overlooked in the Agile organizational shift but need to be addressed. Many companies collaborating in our project (7 sites from 5 large software companies) are introducing the framework, reporting the first promising results.
Antonio Martini is a researcher at Chalmers University of Technology and Gothenburg University. He is part of a research team including Jan Bosch and Matthias Tichy and he is leading a project within the Software Center, a consortium of academia and industry conducting research involving several (currently 11) international large software companies. Antonio also worked recently with Michel Chaudron and Lars Pareto. The current focus of Antonio's research is on the phenomenon called Architectural Technical Debt: a financial metaphor that represents sub-optimal architectural decisions taken as debt that needs to be repaid in the future with extra-effort (interest). The metaphor has very recently been studied in the Software Engineering Scientific Community and is of high interest in industry. The previous technical problem is related to the recent shift towards Large-scale Agile Software Development, for which Antonio, in collaboration with the industrial and academic partners, is developing an organizational framework, CAFFEA, including architecture activities and roles for managing Architectural Technical Debt in large organizations employing Agile.