Working software over comprehensive documentation: Rationales of agile teams for artefacts usage

Gerard Wagenaar, S.J. Overbeek, G.G. Lucassen, S. Brinkkemper, Kurt Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Agile software development (ASD) promotes working software over comprehensive documentation. Still, recent research has shown agile teams to use quite a number of artefacts. Whereas some artefacts may be adopted because they are inherently included in an ASD method, an agile team decides itself on the usage of additional artefacts. However, explicit rationales for using them remain unclear. We start off to explore those rationales, and state our primary research question as: What are rationales for agile teams to use artefacts? Our research method was a multiple case study. In 19 agile teams we identified 55 artefacts and concluded that they in general confirm existing research results. We introduce five rationales underlying the usage of artefacts in ASD: (1) Adoption of ASD leads to agile artefacts, (2) team-internal communication leads to functional and technical design artefacts, (3) quality assurance leads to test-related artefacts, (4) agile teams impose governance on their own activities, and (5) external influences impose user-related material. With our contribution we substantiate the theoretical basis of the Agile Manifesto in general and contribute to the current research with regard to the usage of artefacts in ASD in particular. Agile teams themselves may from this research extract guidelines to use more or less comprehensive documentation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Software Engineering Research and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Agile manifesto
  • Agile software development
  • Agile teams
  • Artefacts
  • Rationales for documentation


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