Hybrid Software and System Development in Practice: Waterfall, Scrum, and Beyond

Marco Kuhrmann, Philipp Diebold, Jürgen Münch, Paolo Tell, Vahid Garousi, Michael Felderer, Kitija Trektere, Fergal McCaffery, Oliver Linssen, Eckhart Hanser, Christian Prause

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Software and system development faces numerous challenges of rapidly changing markets. To address such challenges, companies and projects design and adopt specific development approaches by combining well-structured comprehensive methods and flexible agile practices. Yet, the number of methods and practices is large, and available studies argue that the actual process composition is carried out in a fairly ad-hoc manner. The present paper reports on a survey on hybrid software development approaches. We study which approaches are used in practice, how different approaches are combined, and what contextual factors influence the use and combination of hybrid software development approaches. Our results from 69 study participants show a variety of development approaches used and combined in practice. We show that most combinations follow a pattern in which a traditional process model serves as framework in which several fine-grained (agile) practices are plugged in. We further show that hybrid software development approaches are independent from the company size and external triggers. We conclude that such approaches are the results of a natural process evolution, which is mainly driven by experience, learning, and pragmatism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2017 International Conference on Software and System Process : ICSSP 2017
Number of pages10
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5270-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Agile software development
  • hybrid development approaches
  • software process
  • survey


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