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.
Update: Added Case Studies from Mishkin and Rally. Latest additions Keith’s efforts and Timo’s embedded paper. Added samples from Danube.
Mark Levison has been helping Scrum teams and organizations with Agile, Scrum and Kanban style approaches since 2001. From certified scrum master training to custom Agile courses, he has helped well over 8,000 individuals, earning him respect and top rated reviews as one of the pioneers within the industry, as well as a raft of certifications from the ScrumAlliance. Mark has been a speaker at various Agile Conferences for more than 20 years, and is a published Scrum author with eBooks as well as articles on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org an AgileAlliance.org.