Investigating Agile Practices in Software Startups

  • Renata Souza UFBA/IFBA
  • Larissa Rocha UFBA


Software development practices have smoothly shifted from traditional software development to new approaches that fit better to the real and unpredictable world. Agile practices might help practitioners respond quickly to customer change requests and deliver a working software on-schedule. Software startups are companies that develop innovative and software-intensive products and services in a dynamic and fast-growing market. This study aims to investigate the use of agile practices in software startups. We conducted 14 in-depth semi-structured interviews with the CEO and CTO from early-stage software startups. The results indicate that DevOps, Fundamentals, Design and Extreme Programming are the most used agile practice areas. Our results open up an opportunity to improve software engineering practices in early-stage software startups.



2001. Agile Alliance. (2001). April, 2019.

Pekka Abrahamsson, Outi Salo, Jussi Ronkainen, and Juhani Warsta. 2002. Agile software development methods: Review and analysis. arXiv preprint arXiv:1709.08439 (2002).

MA Awad. 2005. A comparison between agile and traditional software development methodologies. University of Western Australia (2005), 30.

Steve Blank. 2010. What's A Startup? First Principles. (2010). https://steveblank. com/2010/01/25/whats-a-startup-first-principles/ Last accessed: May 2019.

Steve Blank. 2013. The four steps to the epiphany: successful strategies for products that win. BookBaby.

Erran Carmel. 1994. Time-to-completion in software package startups. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Gerry Coleman and Rory V O'Connor. 2008. An investigation into software development process formation in software start-ups. Journal of Enterprise Information Management 21, 6 (2008), 633--648.

Mark Crowne. 2002. Why software product startups fail and what to do about it. Evolution of software product development in startup companies. In Engineering Management Conf., 2002. IEMC'02. IEEE International, Vol. 1. IEEE, 338--343.

Tore Dybå and Torgeir Dingsøyr. 2008. Empirical studies of agile software development: A systematic review. Inf. Soft. Technology 50, 9-10 (2008), 833--859.

Henry Edison, Xiaofeng Wang, and Pekka Abrahamsson. 2015. Lean startup: why large software companies should care. In Scientific Workshop Proceedings of the XP2015. ACM, 2.

Henry Edison, Xiaofeng Wang, Ronald Jabangwe, and Pekka Abrahamsson. 2018. Innovation initiatives in large software companies: A systematic mapping study. Information and Software Technology 95 (2018), 1--14.

Carmine Giardino, Sohaib Shahid Bajwa, Xiaofeng Wang, and Pekka Abrahamsson. 2015. Key challenges in early-stage software startups. In International Conference on Agile Software Development. Springer, 52--63.

Carmine Giardino, Nicolo Paternoster, Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Tony Gorschek, and Pekka Abrahamsson. 2016. Software development in startup companies: the greenfield startup model. IEEE Trans. Software Engineering 42, 6 (2016), 585--604.

Arie van Bennekum Alistair Cockburn Ward Cunningham Martin Fowler James Grenning Jim Highsmith Andrew Hunt Ron Jeffries Jon Kern Brian Marick Robert C. Martin Steve Mellor Ken Schwaber Jeff Sutherland Kent Beck, Mike Beedle and Dave Thomas. 2001. Manifesto for Agile Software Development. (2001).

Eriks Klotins. 2017. Using the case survey method to explore engineering practices in software start-ups. In Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Software Engineering for Startups. IEEE Press, 24--26.

Eriks Klotins, Michael Unterkalmsteiner, and Tony Gorschek. 2015. Software engineering knowledge areas in startup companies: a mapping study. In International Conference of Software Business. Springer, 245--257.

Mercy Njima and Serge Demeyer. 2019. An Exploratory Study on Migrating Single-Products towards Product Lines in Startup Contexts. (2019), 56--61.

Jevgenija Pantiuchina, Marco Mondini, Dron Khanna, Xiaofeng Wang, and Pekka Abrahamsson. 2017. Are software startups applying agile practices? The state of the practice from a large survey. In International Conference on Agile Software Development. Springer, 167--183.

Nicolò Paternoster, Carmine Giardino, Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Tony Gorschek, and Pekka Abrahamsson. 2014. Software development in startup companies: A systematic mapping study. Inf. Soft. Technology 56, 10 (2014), 1200--1218.

J Rikkila, P Abrahamsson, and X Wang. 2012. The implications of a complexity perspective for software engineering practice and research. J Comp. Eng. Inf. Tech. 1 (2012), 2.

Per Runeson and Martin Höst. 2009. Guidelines for conducting and reporting case study research in software engineering. Emp. Soft. Eng. 14, 2 (2009), 131.

Stanley M Sutton. 2000. The role of process in software start-up. IEEE software 17, 4 (2000), 33--39.

Xiaofeng Wang, Henry Edison, Sohaib Shahid Bajwa, Carmine Giardino, and Pekka Abrahamsson. 2016. Key challenges in software startups across life cycle stages. In Inter.l Conf. Agile Software Development, Vol. 251. Springer, 169--182.
Como Citar

Selecione um Formato
SOUZA, Renata; ROCHA, Larissa. Investigating Agile Practices in Software Startups. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE ENGENHARIA DE SOFTWARE (SBES), 33. , 2019, Salvador. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2019 .