Title: Towards continuous strategy in software business

Authors: Tanja Suomalainen; Jenni Myllykoski

Addresses: Contribyte Ltd., Pakkahuoneenkatu 15 A 2, FI-90100 Oulu, Finland ' Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran katu 1, P.O. Box 4600, FI-90014, Finland

Abstract: This paper examines the strategic planning in software-intensive businesses. As software-intensive businesses are going beyond agile and lean software development towards continuous deployment, it requires both continuous planning throughout the organisation and a link between strategy and software development. A better understanding of the strategic planning practices among software companies is needed to enable continuous deployment. However, the current literature does not yet address this issue. We conducted a multiple-case study involving three companies by interviewing 24 people in various roles and at different organisational levels. This study reveals an emerging need for continuous strategy in all cases. With a continuous strategy, we refer to the view that strategic planning can be an ongoing process without a predefined planning cycle. The case companies in our study were in different phases in adopting practices of continuous strategy. This paper highlights the reasons behind continuous strategy and describes the current practices of continuous strategy. Continuous strategy is especially vital for software companies dealing with turbulent business environments, but adopting the practices of continuous strategy is challenging. This study concludes that the main challenges are related to planning practices, transparency, communication and organisational structure.

Keywords: strategic planning; continuous strategy; continuous planning; software development; continuous deployment; software business.

DOI: 10.1504/IJASM.2019.101370

International Journal of Agile Systems and Management, 2019 Vol.12 No.3, pp.278 - 305

Received: 11 Apr 2018
Accepted: 22 Dec 2018

Published online: 26 Jul 2019 *

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