Agile development is a software development methodology that originated in 2001 (Beck, et al.). It has since gained wide recognition and use in the software industry, and is characterized by iterative development cycles. Organizations outside of the software industry are also finding ways to adapt Agile development to their contexts. BYU Independent Study (BYUIS) is an online education program at Brigham Young University that provides online courses at the high school and university levels. In April 2016, BYUIS implemented the Agile development process to the design and development of online courses. This thesis is a case study that looks specifically at the adoption of Agile at BYUIS, from its implementation in April 2016 to the time of this study in summer of 2017. The question this qualitative study seeks to answer is as follows: how and why did the adoption of the Agile development methodology to instructional design practices at BYUIS reflect or differ from the 12 principles of Agile development? To answer this research question, the researcher used multiple data sources: semi-structured interviews with three administrators, two production team managers, and three instructional designers; surveys for BYUIS student employees (i.e., scrum team members) after each week of observation; and field note observations of three Agile scrum teams for two weeks each. The data from each of these sources was analyzed through a descriptive coding process and then organized into a thematic network analysis. The Results section analyzes evidence from the interviews, surveys, and observations that reflect or differ from each of the 12 principles of Agile. The Discussion addresses three main issues of implementing Agile at BYUIS: how to accommodate for part-time schedules, the complexity of working on different projects, and how to facilitate communication in scrum teams if co-location is not possible. It also looks at how these three issues could be manifest in other organizations and introduces potential solutions. The researcher then presents suggestions for future research on Agile in instructional design or other contexts.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





agile development, iterative, scrum team, sprint, instructional design