Agile development methods are widely disseminated today. Many software companies, including numerous small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), expect the introduction of agile methods to bring them a greater degree of flexibility, more interaction with their customers, and a more dynamic response to changed requirements.
In project management and during implementation activities, agile development methods already offer far-reaching support. In terms of quality, however, the main focus in agile methods is on functional correctness. Support for software companies to help them achieve systematic non-functional product qualities is often still missing.
There are many agile development projects that are performed successfully – for instance, if the lack of support by the method can be compensated by the experience of the developers, or when certain context factors have a favorable influence on the project or system (e.g., lower complexity of the system or no long-term system maintenance).
However, when agile development methods are used, deficiencies can be observed in terms of performance, scalability, usability, or maintainability of the system. These quality problems lead to increased costs, respectively additional effort, and increase the likelihood that a development project will fail. This, in turn, has a direct impact on a company’s customer relations, sales opportunities, and market position.
The motivation of the project partners in the collaborative research project PQ4Agile was therefore to develop systematic support for the users of agile methods that would allow these methods to be used successfully on a broader scale – particularly by small and medium-sized enterprises from the software domain – and that would contribute to making the quality of the developed products predictably high.