Lucas Layman, Laurie Williams, Lynn Cunningham
Publication year: 2004

With the recent emergence of agile software development technologies, the software community is awaiting sound, empirical investigation of the impacts of agile practices in a live setting. One means of conducting such research is through industrial case studies. However, there are a number of influencing factors that contribute to the success of such a case study. In this paper, we describe a case study performed at Sabre Airline Solutions evaluating the effects of adopting Extreme Programming (XP) practices with a team that had characteristically plan-driven risk factors. We compare the team’s business-related results (productivity and quality) to two published sources of industry averages. Our case study found that the Sabre team yielded above-average post-release quality and average to above-average productivity. We discuss our experience in conducting this case study, including specifics of how data was collected, the rationale behind our process of data collection, and what obstacles were encountered during the case study. We also identify four factors that potentially impact the outcome of industrial case studies: availability of data, tool support, co-operative personnel and project status. We believe that recognizing and planning for these factors is essential to conducting industrial case studies, and that this information will be helpful to researchers and practitioners alike.