Agile project management in a public context: Case study on forms of organising

Jouko Nuottila, Kirsi Aaltonen, Jaakko Kujala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Agile development methods were developed to enhance innovations and productivity in software projects, increase customer collaboration and flexibility, and enable dynamic approach to change management. These key principles of agile approach responded to the challenges that project management faced with software projects. The agile methods are increasingly adopted by the public sector which traditionally is not considered as agile but control-oriented and bureaucratic. In this paper, a single case study method is used to explore how the adoption of agile methods is managed in the context of a large governmental agency. This study examines a public software development project utilising agile methods and analyses the form of organising in the agile project using a framework focusing on the universal problems of organising: task division, task allocation, reward distribution and information flows. As a result, the paper presents the case project's solutions to the problems of organising and discusses the differences between agile project setup and the traditional project management approach to manage a project organisation in the public sector context. In the case project, task division was centralised and owned by a project owner, task allocation was done by an autonomous agile team, reward distribution was not used to create additional incentives, and information flows were based on virtual communication tools and occasional meetings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-248
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Project Organisation and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Agile
  • Agile project management
  • Form of organising
  • Project
  • Project management
  • Project organisation
  • Public project management
  • Public project procurement
  • Temporary organisation

Field of science

  • Administrative science


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