An Onboarding Model for Integrating Newcomers into Agile Project Teams

Gregory, Peggy orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7891-6666, Strode, Diane E., Sharp, Helen and Barroca, Leonor (2022) An Onboarding Model for Integrating Newcomers into Agile Project Teams. Information and Software Technology, 143 . ISSN 0950-5849

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Context: A stable team is deemed optimal for agile software development project success; however, all teams change membership over time. Newcomers joining an agile project team must rapidly assimilate into the organisational and project environment. They must do this while learning how to contribute effectively and without seriously interrupting project
progress. Objective: This paper addresses how newcomers integrate into an established agile project team and how agile practices assist with onboarding. Method: A single, qualitative case study approach was used, investigating a co-located agile project team in a large IT department who regularly onboard inexperienced newcomers. Analysis was abductive, consisting of inductive coding and theming using categories from an existing onboarding theory. Results: We describe the team’s onboarding practices and adjustments and present an agile onboarding model that encompasses onboarding activities, individual adjustments, and workplace adjustments. Conclusions: A mixture of general and specific agile onboarding practices contribute to successful onboarding in an agile team. We provide practical guidelines to improve onboarding practice in agile teams. Our major new contribution is an extended model of onboarding for agile teams.

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