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.
Matt R says
Great post! I was just looking for some case studies to help convince others in my organization that scrum and iterative/agile development can be applied to a number of different scenarios.
Danube Technologies, Inc authors of ScrumWorks have posted a number of case studies with customers. They include these companies: Intel, Sun Microsystems and the Idaho State Government. Here’s where you can find the link to get to the case studies: https://danube.com/customers
Marko Taipale says
I have one success story to tell, see https://huitale.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-release-my-software-everyday.html
Nice list of articles. Thank you.
I need a case study that shows how micro-processor hardware design has been successful using Scrum. We are embarking on blazing that trail but would love to see someone else’s trail to help us.
At the least a case study of how the Scrum software team interacted as agile as possible with hardware designers. Even that would be great.
The documents from Nancy Van such as the “Embedded Agile: A Case Study In Numbers” paper you cite are VERY good. But, they focus on the agile practices of a software only team, not the hardware designers or hardware-software designer interaction.
If someone has something to share along these lines, please speak up!
Great article, but note that the first link in it, the one to “Primavera Success Story,” is currently broken.
I’d be particularly interested in knowing what the right link was, as I have recently attended ScrumMaster training with Bob Schatz, who was a key player in the Primavera story.
Let me be brief. I played for 35 years and hooked for 30. Scrums are more dangerous than they need to be. With a pointed or convex pressure point they try to jam the hooker farther into the tunnel than needed.
Disperse that pressure point across the front row and give the hooker the ability to operate freely and support himself and his props. He can be under the second row push or raise his rear bumper if he prefers to engage them.
Where are the case studies? Page not found for both Primavera and Guidewire. This is the worst blog I’ve ever seen.