I’ve recently been asked by one team to provide them with case studies/success stories about Scrum to prove scrum works. It is striking that the people ask for case studies about agile – but didn’t before adopting their existing process.
Ken Schwaber co-creator of Scrum has: Primavera Success Story (pdf) a paper that describes Primavera’s struggles with waterfall and then their transition to Scrum (with XP engineering practices). Key message: Scrum works for Primavera, but changing the process isn’t easy.
Stuart Read, Professor of Marketing at IMD in Lausanne Switzerland has written a case study about Guidewire (pdf) – a insurance billing company that is built entirely around Scrum.
On InfoQ (caveat emptor I’m an InfoQ editor) there are a number of case studies:
- Scrum Boosts Effectiveness at the BBC (presentation), “In this conference talk Andrew Scotland tells how BBC’s New Media division, characterized by a lot of uncertainty and emergent software process, decided to use Scrum to more effectively deliver software amidst all that change and uncertainty. Three years later – the difference is significant, and the journey was worthwhile.”
- Case study: Distributed Scrum Project for Dutch Railways – focused on how one group has made a necessary evil (distributed teams) work, this case study is also a good example of how Scrum works
- Improvement, Success and Failure: Scrum Adoption in China – an interesting Q&A. The questions around failures are very interesting: Training is critical and doing Scrum-but will eventually kill.
- Henrik Kniberg’s famous “Scrum an XP from the Trenches” a 168 page ebook (free) that describes how one team does scrum.
UIE a usability website has: The Freedom of Fast Iterations: How Netflix Designs a Winning Web Site – while not strictly a Scrum case study Netflix does use Agile methods.
Obviously Ken’s book Agile Project Management with Scrum is a series of case studies.
DDJ has Embedded Agile: A Case Study In Numbers an article that demonstrates Agile working in the embedded environment. Timo Punkka documents Schneider-Electric’s
adoption of Scrum for embedded software development.
Mishkin Berteig has one called: A Cautionary Tale. It looks an Agile Adoption delayed and what the delay cost the organisation.
Agile From The Trenches – A real world example – Keith Sterling’s (BTW Keith can you stop moving this article :-)) story of Agile adoption in a UK telco to help it build and rollout a broadband provisioning platform.
Rally has a number of Customer Case Studies – Caveat Emptor while interesting they were written to prove that Rally can help you transition to Agile – so they tend to be slick and focused on Rally benefits. Net result – they’re a wee bit light on specifics. They also have Agile Impact Paper written by IDC – good paper about the impact – but what a pain to download – I’m surprised I wasn’t asked how many children I have.
Finally Frank Maurer, a professor at U Calgary has: Agile Software Development: An Industrial Case Study with data showing increased productivity.
Google reveals many more case studies – but if the above weren’t sufficient then no case study will help convince. Finally I suggest stop reading case studies, take action. Get some training, find a mentor and start. Your first few iterations will not be your best but you will improve with time.
As a counter point some of you may recall my Journal of Agile/Scrum Failure – which is still looking for contributions.
Update: Added Case Studies from Mishkin and Rally. Latest additions Keith’s efforts and Timo’s embedded paper. Added samples from Danube.