Sunday, February 09, 2014

Breaking News: Systematic Video After 7 Years of Scrum

In 2006, I trained the first 30 Scrum Masters at Systematic in Aarhus, Denmark. As a CMMI Level 5 organization, they wanted to go lean by testing Scrum as a process improvement. Within six months Scrum cut project costs in half and reduced defects by 40% plus or minus 3% for all projects. They then introduced Scrum as their standard process and created the only Scrum CMMI Level 5 company.

In the past seven years, Scrum has improved the Systematic project success rate to 98%. This is extraordinary in a world where over 50% of agile teams cannot deliver a project on time.


Recently, I visited Systematic and we videotaped a discussion on their progress using Scrum.


For the original paper which documented Systematic transitioning to Scrum see:


An earlier blog item commented on the dramatic advantages of using Scrum with CMMI, particularly with a CMMI Level 5 company. See Scrum supports CMMI Level 5.

At the Agile 2007 Conference in Washington, D.C., an experience report was presented on the results of introducing Scrum into a CMMI Level 5 environment to replace waterfall projects for large defense and healthcare contracts. See Scrum and CMMI Level 5: A Magic Potion for Code Warriors. The paper was written by:

Jeff Sutherland, Ph.D. - Co-Creator of Scrum
Carsten Jakobsen - Systematic Software Engineering Process Leader
Kent Johnson - CMMI Level 5 Appraiser

Systematic Software Engineering is a company which executes the waterfall process better than almost all companies in the world, with an ontime, on budget delivery rate of over 95% with estimates within 10% of actuals. The Scrum results were extraordinary, similar to introducing a team of Toyota consultants into a manufacturing plant. This was the result of driving the Scrum implemenation by lean principles which assured a disciplined and measured introduction of Agile practice.

- Productivity doubled in less than six months reducing total project costs by 50%.
- Defects were reduced by 40% in all Scrum projects (despite the fact this company already had one of the lowest defect rates in the world.)
- Planning costs were reduced by about 80%.
- User satisfaction and developer satifaction were much higher than comparable waterfall implementations.
- Projects were linearly scalable, something never seen before. The productivity of individual developers remains the same as the project increases in size.

The data in this study is some of the best in the industry and puts to rest the argument about whether the waterfall is preferable in some cases. The waterfall will always be less productive with higher defects on any project compared to a well executed Scrum.

Systematic Software engineering has revised its standard processes to use Scrum everywhere. See Scrum and CMMI Level 5: A Magic Potion for Code Warriors.

8 comments:

Richard Banks said...

That's fantastic information! Is the study itself available anywhere? I'd love to have a look through it.

Also, I've quoted some of your findings in a related post at An Agile vs CMMI comparison

Richard Banks said...

Oops! When I made my earlier comment on where to see the paper I didn't realise that the last link was to the PDF, I thought it was another link back to the previous blog post. My mistake!

Eduardo said...

Is PatientKeeper planning to aply CMMI?

Jeff Sutherland said...

Becoming CMMI Level 5 is a business decision. If you want to bid on large government defense projects, CMMI requirements may be mandatory.

Right now there is no business requirement driving an investment in CMMI at PatientKeeper. That might change as the company gets larger.

My recommendation is that if your company makes a business decision to achieve any CMMI level, they should start with Scrum as it will lower the costs of going to CMMI and increase the return on investment.

Jacob said...

Definitely interesting information. However, I'm puzzled by the timing. When is the paper "Scrum and CMMI Level 5: A Magic Potion for Code Warriors" from, and why is it breaking news in 2014? What am I missing?

Jeff Sutherland said...

The news is the data on project completion and a new video from Systematic where we discuss 7 years later how Scrum has affected Systematic. I've changed the title to reflect this.

Chris Gagné said...

Jeff, I'd love to see a copy of the paper. The links seem to be broken for me?

Jeff Sutherland said...

Link to Scrum and CMMI paper has been fixed!