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An Evaluation Of Documentation Requirements For ISO 9001 Compliance In Scrum Projects

Anuradha Mathrani, Shanuka Wickramasinghe, Nihal Palitha Jayamaha

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PurposeQuality management standards (e.g. ISO 9001) lead to process conformance in the realization of quality goods and services; however, they can be rather document intensive. This paper investigates documentation practices used for aligning “light-weight” Scrum methods with ISO 9001 in a leading healthcare software firm.Design/methodology/approachThe authors investigated how “light-weight” Scrum approaches fit with organizational documentation practices for ISO 9001 compliance in one leading healthcare software development firm. Three investigative rounds were conducted with software professionals having different Scrum roles to understand their challenges in maintaining process documentation with Scrum methods.FindingsISO standards stipulate certain mandatory documentation as evidence that certain pre-defined processes are followed in the build-up of quality goods and services. However, this may result in “heavy-weight” document driven approaches that interfere with “light-weight” Scrum methods. Case study findings reveal tensions faced by software professionals in maintaining the ISO 9001 documentation. That is, while some level of documentation is considered useful, software professionals consider certain other documentation tasks to be excessive and cumbersome. Further, many operational documents were written retrospectively for administrative compliance, leading to reduced, incomplete and ambiguous descriptions.Practical implicationsThe study provides much value for practitioners in adapting their documentation with ongoing operational processes. Further, the critique on current ISO 9001 implementations in Agile environments has implications for future documentation practice.Originality/valueThe empirically drawn findings showcase some of the challenges in maintaining ISO 9001 documentation within Scrum projects. The study has contributed to both theory and practice in relation to the co-existence of ISO drawn standards with Agile approaches used for software development.