Agile Deployment of Packaged Business Application (PBA) Software: An Empirical Study

E. Jeffrey Hutchinson, Pace University


Published studies and professional experience confirm that agile is the leading practice in software development. Agile for software development has demonstrated improvements over non-agile (i.e. traditional waterfall) approaches in areas of value realization, frequent delivery of quality product, higher user satisfaction, and shorter project lifecycle. This holds true for numerous disciplines of software development, including firmware, operating systems, gaming, and custom business applications (CBA). When a corporation chooses to develop and implement CBA in an agile way, the basic framework is to select the story; build, validate and implement a piece of working software; then repeat the cycle until the stakeholders’ expectations are met. Users are engaged with developers throughout the lifecycle of the project, including early story development, frequent delivery of working software, changing requirements, refactoring, and retrospectives. When enabling business processes or solving business issues, corporations either implement CBA solutions or they purchase, configure, and deploy commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, in particular, packaged business applications (PBA). When a corporation chooses to configure and deploy a PBA solution, the most common practices continue to leverage non-agile approaches and methodologies rather than employing agile, despite numerous publications of PBA deployment failures and the inherent limitations of non-agile PBA deployments. A traditional non-agile PBA deployment executes a single cycle of obtaining all of the user requirements, creating the detailed design documents, configuring the software, validating, and finally deploying the solution. Significant user engagement is commonly limited to the requirements gathering phase, and the first time the stakeholder typically sees the working PBA solution is late in the lifecycle, during the testing/validation phase. This research offers an alternative agile approach for PBA deployments that is similar to agile CBA implementations. For an agile PBA deployment, a story is selected, but instead of building new code as it is done in CBA, the capability is found in the PBA offering, configured, validated, and deployed. As in agile CBA, the PBA team would repeat the cycle until the stakeholder’s expectations are met. Through empirical studies, this research demonstrates that an agile PBA deployment does mitigate common inherent limitations of traditional non-agile PBA deployments.

Subject Area

Computer Engineering

Recommended Citation

Hutchinson, E. Jeffrey, "Agile Deployment of Packaged Business Application (PBA) Software: An Empirical Study" (2013). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3574657.



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