Posted in Scrum

Scrum Implementation Examples

Scrum in Software Development

FBI (1)

Starting point
  • FBI had paper based document storage systems in 2010 (1, page 2 – 18) 
  • 3 paper copies were needed for everything; one for approval, one to be stored locally, and one to be hand indexed for input into the database

“This method was so antiquated and porous that it was blamed in part for the Bureau’s failure to “connect the dots” that showed various Al Qaeda activists entering the country in the weeks and months before 9/11″

Previous Attempts
  • The Virtual Case File (VCF) system had $170 million and 3 years spent on it but didn’t work and was never used 
  • A further attempt was called Sentinel which was budgeted at $451 million and 4 year timeline
    • One year late $405 million had been spent and it was estimated to need another $350 million and 6-8 years to finish
  • Way people were working for these previous attempts was wrong (waterfall was being used)
Scrum success
  • A proposal was then made to finish the most challenging half of the Sentinel project in a fifth of the time with a tenth of the budget, bringing development in house and reducing the number of developers from 220 to 40
  • The 1,100 requirements were prioritised so that the most valuable would be done first
  • It took 18 months to get the database system deployed, and a further 2 months to deploy it to entire FBI

Scrum not in Software Development

EduScrum (1, page 204-211)

  • Used in a school in the Netherlands, specifically a Chemistry class
  • Students in the class are divided into teams which all have the same goal of learning a new topic
  • The class pull out a Scrum board at the beginning of each lesson with their backlog
  • Each team selects the story pointed tasks it thinks it can get done in that lesson, based on velocity
  • They have a definition of done (and fun) which includes everyone in the team understanding the topic, so they must work as a team regardless of how easy they find the topic
  • Each sprint is 5 lessons, at the end of which there is a test on the topic 
  • They have a retrospective at the end of each lesson to learn how to work better
  • The students are totally self-organising, including setting themselves homework
  • Teacher helps when he spots a blocker, and tests the team randomly if they move something to done that everyone understands
  • By using Scrum not only do the students learn the topic, but also how to work together as a team and use each other’s strengths 
  • The curriculum results for this chemistry teacher have jumped more than 10% in a year by using Scrum and his students track above average for their grades


New United Motor Manufacturing Inc (NUMMI) vs Toyota (1)

  • The NUMMI Plant was closed in 1982 and GM management thought it had the worst workforce in America
  • People drank on the job, didn’t show up
  • People sabotaged the cars (e.g. putting a coke bottle in the door to rattle and annoy customers)
  • Toyota reopened the plant 2 years later with the same workforce and was almost immediately producing high quality cars like they were in Japan
  • Don’t hate the player, hate the game


Car Manufacturing (1, page 98 – 99)

  • From The Machine That Changed the World by Dr James Womack
  • Toyota, Honda, and Nissan (Japanese) spent an average of 16.8 hours making a luxury car with 34 defects per 100 cars
  • Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW (Europe) spent an average of 57 hours to make a car and they had 78.7 defects per 100 vehicles
  • Toyota used Andon cord – when a problem was spotted the production line was halted and the problem fixed so that it wouldn’t occur on any more vehicles
  • Europe had quality checkers at the end to fix the problems

“the German plant was expending more effort to fix the problems it had just created than the Japanese plant required to make a nearly perfect car the first time”


  1. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

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