The Role of Procrastination in Agile IT Projects

  • M. Diepstraten

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Procrastination is a bias that can cause project failure in Information Technology (IT). Research on procrastination is mainly studied in traditional waterfall projects, despite the increased use of the relatively new and considerably different Agile method. This might lead to a blind spot in project management and could be a risk in recognizing the bias and preventing or reducing the impact of procrastination. The main research question is: What role does procrastination play in Agile IT projects? This research is qualitative and explorative, based on literature research and eighteen semi-structured interviews. The research results show that procrastination is a widely spread problem in Agile IT projects and harms the timing, costs, quality, and functionality, as with waterfall projects. Postponing resolving and preventing technical debt is more common in Agile IT projects because of the high business pressure to deliver functionality. Capacity allocation could mitigate this. Understanding the causes of procrastination (task averseness, personal characteristics, and business influences) is relevant for recognizing and acting upon procrastination. Agile feedback mechanisms, open feedback culture, and an engaged and mature Agile team enable detecting procrastination early and limiting the impact. This research suggests that working with Agile can counteract procrastination in IT projects.
Date of Award29 Jan 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMontse Prats López (Examiner) & Nick Benschop (External assessor)


  • Information Technology
  • project escalation
  • bias
  • procrastination
  • Agile
  • technical debt

Master's Degree

  • Master Business Process management & IT (BPMIT)

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