Team perception on the impact of People factors affecting agile team Productivity

By Asanka Indrajith

Agile team perception on the impact of People factors affecting agile team Productivity: A Case study of Geveo

Organization performance is a key factor which determines the success or the failure of a company. For a software company, their success depends on the success or the failure of software they develop. Successful software development depends on the development team and its performance. Therefore the survival and the growth of a software company depend on the performances of its project teams. Project performance in an agile environment depends on various factors. But team productivity might be the most important and influential factor of project performance. A productive team delivers more quality software in less time; thus increasing project outcome. While high productivity can be a significant source of competitive advantage, low productivity can lead to unhappy customers and project failures.

Measuring software development productivity is also not simple and straightforward. Software companies used to measure productivity by simple means of outputs such as lines of code, function points and feature count. But as software development relies on mental work, knowledge and experience, traditional productivity measurement do not do the justice.

Since the introduction of agile development methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban and Extreme Programing (XP), it is hard to determine individual productivity as they are team processes. But measurements like user story points per sprint, unfixed defects per sprint, Lead time, Cycle time and net promoters score are used in scrum and kanban projects to get an idea about team productivity. Although these measurements give an abstract idea about agile team performances, they do not provide an in-depth analysis of team productivity.

Team productivity is influenced by many factors, such as project factors, product factors, process factors and people factors. While scope of the project, time and cost constraints, complexity, criticality of the project, project size are considered as project factors, factors such as product domain, product size, complexity, UI designs are considered Product factors. Both these factors depend on clients’ requirements and software companies have no direct control over these factors. When considering processes followed, many companies in the industry now follows agile methodologies which have shorten the development time by removing unnecessary management processes and provides the ability to cope with frequent requirement changes in dynamic environments. Agile methods such as Scrum are people focus and team driven even though software development is rather a technical discipline. Therefore it is important to asses and understands what personal skills and people factors affects team productivity in an agile environment.

People factors

Software is developed by people for people. People are at the core of development of software; communicating, making decisions, designing, implementing and deploying software. Therefore software development has both technical and people aspects. According to Chagas[1], people factors falls into three types. First one is individual factors such as Skills, Experience, and Motivation. Second one is interpersonal skills such as Cohesiveness and Communication and the third one is organizational factors such as Leadership. People factors are significant because software development require more mental work involving knowledge, experience and team work. Therefore team members should be skilled, cohesive and motivated. And team productivity depends on the interaction and coordination between team members who come from different backgrounds and personalities. The very first value in the agile manifesto is to value individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Agile requires more involvement of members and more interaction within team. Therefore productivity of an agile team will depends more on the members of the team.


Therefore it is important to identify the people factors which affect productivity in any organizations. Prioritizing and using these factors effectively will increase teams’ productivity for the company. Therefore I thought it’s important to identify what people factors significantly affect agile team productivity and who else is better than Geveo team to answer this dilemma.

Four factors that is Cohesiveness, Communication, Leadership and Motivation were selected to consider in the study. Then a Questionnaire was developed to collect information from Geveo staff who have experience on working in agile teams. Following indicators were used to form the questionnaire.


Collected data was analyzed and interpreted using a combination of few statistical indicators as shown below



All four considered people factors have shown positive relationship with agile team productivity. Therefore Geveo staff think all four factors have positive impact on agile team productivity. Cohesiveness, Communication, Motivation have moderate positive relationship with over 95% significance while Leadership have a weak positive relationship and not significant in 95% of confidence level. Also Based on the Coefficient of determination, Communication has the highest effect on agile team productivity, then Cohesiveness and finally Motivation. Leadership has the lowest effect on agile team productivity and relationship is also not significant. Therefore according to Geveo staff Communication, Cohesiveness and Motivation have a greater impact on agile team productivity rather than Leadership.

Click here to download the questionnaire


[1] Chagas, A., Santos, M., Santana, C. and Vasconcelos, A., 2015. The impact of human factors on agile projects. In Agile Conference (AGILE), 2015 (pp. 87-91). IEEE

[2] Pekuri, A., Haapasalo, H. & Herrala, M., 2011. Productivity and performance management–managerial practices in the Construction Industry. International Journal of Performance Measurement, 1(1), pp.39-58.

[3] Ramírez, Y.W. & Nembhard, D.A., 2004. Measuring knowledge worker productivity: A taxonomy. Journal of intellectual capital, 5(4), pp.602-628.

[4] de Barros Sampaio, S.C., Barros, E.A., de Aquino Júnior, G.S., José, M., e Silva, C. & de Lemos-Meira, S.R., A Review of Productivity Factors and Strategies on Software Development. Management, 46, p.12.