Three paths to grassroots software team engagement

Author: Les Misken

Three Paths to Grassroots Software Team Engagement

Leslie Michael Miskin
10 October 2018

Miskin, L.M. (2018). Three Paths to Grassroots Software Team Engagement. (A redacted thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Professorial Practice, Otago Polytechnic.) [PDF 1,018KB]


This thesis aims to demonstrates the importance of employee engagement in three respects: from the point of view of team dysfunction, learning and innovation, and organisational impact. In particular, how this can be achieved from a grassroots, non-leadership position. The research was conducted in a workplace-based setting in an IT department of a medium-sized finance company, using an auto-ethnographic approach. Primary findings included the addressing of dysfunction through the application of psychological safety and software development process; the harnessing of latent team member motivation towards professional development ends; and recognition and facilitation of non-leaders as grassroots change agents within an organisation. Notable concepts and works applied included the Competing Values Framework, The Extra Mile, Groupthink, Extreme Programming and Agile Software Development, 20% time and Changing Your Company from Within. The work yielded a change in professional practice from an individually-focused disengaged position, to that of a highly-engaged style focused on team and peer engagement.

Key words: Software development; Wellbeing; IT department; Agile software development; Organisational change; Information Technology.


This redacted thesis is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.

Creative Commons License