Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Scrum and CMMI Level 5: A Magic Potion for Code Warriors

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 Auditor

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.