Friday, May 24, 2002

GE's Take on SCRUM: Engines of Democracy


by Charles Fishman, Fast Company 28, p 174
Self-organizing teams can produce really high quality. In some companies there are no managers when the teams are all self-organizing.

"Although engines go out the door of this plant at a rate of more than one per day, the air of calm is hardly its most unusual aspect. The plant is General Electric's aircraft-engine assembly facility in Durham, North Carolina. Even within Jack Welch's widely admired empire, the Durham facility is in its own league -- a quiet corner of a global giant, a place where the radical has become routine. GE/Durham has more than 170 employees but just one boss: the plant manager. Everyone in the place reports to her. Which means that on a day-to-day basis, the people who work here have no boss. They essentially run themselves.

"The jet engines are produced by nine teams of people -- teams that are given just one basic directive: the day that their next engine must be loaded onto a truck. All other decisions -- who does what work; how to balance training, vacations, overtime against work flow; how to make the manufacturing process more efficient; how to handle teammates who slack off -- all of that stays within the team."

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Agile Software Development: Does Agile Work?


Check out the June 2002 Software Development Magazine for a great article by Jim Highsmith on Agile case studies, "Does Agility Work?" One of them was a highly successful project that reimplemented a leading radiology software product in new technology. This type of project is high risk and failure prone. It took three years of 30 day SCRUM sprints. I was SVP of Product Development and Chief Technology Officer of IDX at the time and suggested to Deb Stenner, the development leader, that she bring Ken Schwaber in as SCRUM Master. According to Deb, the project was so successful that the average sales person was at 180% of quota and some were at 400%. It was "incredibly, phenomenally, successful ... almost too successful." They had difficulty shipping and supporting new installations. Oh well, how about an installation SCRUM?

Saturday, May 04, 2002


I'm gradually moving parts of my web site to weblogs.

The SCRUM archive has been move to jeffsutherland.com/archive.html and we will start a fresh thread here. SCRUM has become increasingly important with the founding of the Agile Alliance.