Agile software development represents a major departure from traditional, plan-based approaches to software engineering. A systematic review of empirical studies of agile software development up to and including 2005 was conducted. The search strategy identified 1996 studies, of which 36 were identified as empirical studies. The studies were grouped into four themes: introduction and adoption, human and social factors, perceptions on agile methods, and comparative studies. The review investigates what is currently known about the benefits and limitations of, and the strength of evidence for, agile methods. Implications for research and practice are presented. The main implication for research is a need for more and better empirical studies of agile software development within a common research agenda. For the industrial readership, the review provides a map of findings, according to topic, that can be compared for relevance to their own settings and situations. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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