Lab Releases New Research on Effectiveness of Agile Strategy

Last week, we released a paper and a presentation at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference. From 2013-2016, we worked with the Pathways program of the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter). Pathways was an effort to create a “tipping point” for including innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) in undergraduate engineering education. Fifty schools participated from 2013 until 2016 (although a somewhat informal “community of practice” persists). In addition to opportunities to learn about effective approaches to I&E, teams from each institution received training and coaching in Strategic Doing as a way to organize their work together.

As a part of our Hacking Engineering initiative, we invited the schools to be part of follow-up research, and 33 were accepted. The research explores questions about team composition, leadership structure, environmental factors, and the use of agile strategy. To tease out the factors that are most critical to this kind of work, 24 of the schools (those that were in the initiative for at least two years) were divided into quartiles according to the number of new collaborations they had completed (e.g., a new course, a maker space, a student IP policy). We then compared the highest quartile with the lowest to see if any patterns emerged.

The consistent use of Strategic Doing stood out as one of the strongest predictors of team productivity. The teams in the highest quartile had about 8 of the 10 Rules of Strategic Doing consistently, while the teams in the lowest quartile used 2.

The full paper is here; a summary of findings is available in our AgileDoc (the first of what will be a series).