Agile transformation in large organisations – a framework for project management setup

  • Christian Schneider

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Many hierarchically organised companies are facing the challenge to transform their working model from a sequential project management approach to an iterative, agile project management approach, to be able to react flexible on changing requirements in a VUCA world.

    This dissertation focusses on agile transformation in large organisations and aims at the creation of a framework for project management setup which covers relevant critical success factors for project management and explains the transformation process from sequential to agile project management.

    Critical success factors, identified in an extended literature review, were used to design a case. Key element of this case is the description of a complex IT project that could be conducted in a sequential, agile or hybrid manner. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were used to analyse, how experienced project managers in large organisations would approach such a project. Data was collected by interviewing ten people, and data was analysed using means of thematic analysis.

    As a result, success factors and their interdependencies could be identified, and served as basis to develop a new decision support framework, the ‘PSIL framework’. The key success factors which have been identified during data analysis,were clustered into the four categories ‘project characteristics’, ‘project manager and team members’, ‘organisational structure and processes’, and ‘external factors’, and served as criteria for the vertical axis. For the evaluation of these success factors regarding their characteristics in sequential and iterative models, a result of research was that a further differentiation became necessary. Therefore, the four different approaches ‘pure sequential’, ‘sequential light’, ‘pure iterative’, and ‘iterative light’ have been identified. As a basis for the PSIL framework, 18 decision support matrices (Tables 5 –22) with interdependencies were developed to best support large enterprises to perform a successful agile transformation.

    From the practical perspective, this framework can be used by large organisations as a powerfultool. With this, they are supported in the application of sequential and iterative project management methods in hierarchically structured organisations by creating the best suitable agile working model, basedon the given frame parameters.
    Date of Award2023
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorHefin Rowlands (Supervisor), Christian Greiner (Supervisor) & Andre Clark (Supervisor)

    Cite this