Volume 14 Issue 1 (2018)
Provocative Idea

Management of a Multidisciplinary Research Project: A Case Study on Adopting Agile Methods

Enric Senabre Hidalgo
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Published July 23, 2018
  • collaborative research,
  • multidisciplinarity,
  • research management,
  • knowledge management,
  • team science,
  • agile methodology
  • ...More


Agile methods, initially used by cross-functional teams in software development projects, can also facilitate teamwork in collaborative research processes. For this, project management-related issues need to be addressed, including the challenge of finding practical means for coordinating scientific collaboration, while garnering commitment from all participants. This article explores the utilisation of agile methods by a semi-distributed scientific team, for coordinating a multidisciplinary research project. It examines how these methods can contribute to task coordination in scientific research and highlights key factors for successful adoption of the agile framework in collaborative research projects. Data are collected from a research team, after a 10-week phase of implementing agile methods. Data analysis focuses on the effectiveness of team dynamics and the digital tools used for communication and coordination during the project. The findings indicate a perception that agile methods contribute to improved coordination and teamwork during project development, with less agreement on the utility of some of the tools used. Also, it suggests the importance of involvement of the Principal Investigator and the role and contribution of a Facilitator.