Are Team Autonomy and Flexibility Enough for Agile Transformation? A Review of Transformed Practices in a Public Sector Organization
European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)
Agile transformation is being adopted by the public sector to accelerate digitalization, but it often prioritizes internal efficiency over public values. In this ongoing case study of agile transformation in a large public organization in Norway, we apply a practice-theoretic lens to analyze changes in practices. By looking at papers that has published in recent years on this case, The open coding method was used to identify the components of the practices, including competence, meaning, and material. The study revealed that agile transformation led to a shift in software development practices, improved communication, and increased authority, which enhanced ownership, productivity, and organizational learning. The role of architects changed to advisors, and teams took full decision-making authority for managing data and architecture. The analysis of transformed practices revealed the organization made changes to allow development teams to be more autonomous and flexible in their projects. However, the organization's inherent bias towards development teams seems to hamper effective collaboration and undermines democratic participation, a fundamental value of the public sector. Also, the study also illustrates the need for boundary work and infrastructures that integrate the users/business side of the organization, beyond the development side, to address complex socio-technical interdependencies.