Current approaches for executing big data science projects—a systematic literature review

Jeffrey S. Saltz, Iva Krasteva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


There is an increasing number of big data science projects aiming to create value for organizations by improving decision making, streamlining costs or enhancing business processes. However, many of these projects fail to deliver the expected value. It has been observed that a key reason many data science projects don’t succeed is not technical in nature, but rather, the process aspect of the project. The lack of established and mature methodologies for executing data science projects has been frequently noted as a reason for these project failures. To help move the field forward, this study presents a systematic review of research focused on the adoption of big data science process frameworks. The goal of the review was to identify (1) the key themes, with respect to current research on how teams execute data science projects, (2) the most common approaches regarding how data science projects are organized, managed and coordinated, (3) the activities involved in a data science projects life cycle, and (4) the implications for future research in this field. In short, the review identified 68 primary studies thematically classified in six categories. Two of the themes (workflow and agility) accounted for approximately 80% of the identified studies. The findings regarding workflow approaches consist mainly of adaptations to CRISP-DM (vs entirely new proposed methodologies). With respect to agile approaches, most of the studies only explored the conceptual benefits of using an agile approach in a data science project (vs actually evaluating an agile framework being used in a data science context). Hence, one finding from this research is that future research should explore how to best achieve the theorized benefits of agility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere862
JournalPeerJ Computer Science
StatePublished - 2022


  • Agile data science
  • Big data science
  • Big data science workflows
  • Process frameworks
  • Project execution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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