Tripling Productivity with Scrum

Summary

A digital content distribution company used by libraries, academic institutions, government and business had just re-architected their main platform. They needed to improve quality and timeliness, plus provide more effective maintenance and support in order to keep the company competitive and growing. They had adopted a few elements of Scrum, but processes were still predominantly waterfall. Construx provided the training and coaching to enable their development teams to put Scrum into practice. They also delivered Scrum overviews tailored for managers and executives.

The Challenge

The company had a technical staff of about 100 people in the U.S. plus more than 100 outsourced development jobs. They had just re-architected their main platform and were focusing on supporting two different market segments: academic and corporate. In an effort to move to a more Agile environment, the company had adopted a few elements of Scrum, but they were struggling. “For all intents and purposes, our processes were still predominantly waterfall,” said the Executive Director of Product Development. “We were looking for training that would prepare the staff for making the real jump to Scrum.”
The company's priorities were:

  • Improve quality and timeliness of development
  • Provide more effective maintenance and support to customers
  • Keep the business competitive and growing
How Construx Helped

Construx provided training and coaching to enable the company’s development teams to fully implement Scrum and put it into everyday practice. A company representative was invited to attend a public seminar in Seattle to evaluate the Construx approach to Scrum. This led to an onsite pilot project, later rolled out company-wide. 

  • A series of Scrum Boot Camp seminars, one for each one of the company's development teams (each comprising several Scrum teams)
  • Hands-on coaching, including release planning, applying what the teams had learned in class
  • Post-sprints coaching to help each team identify key problems and prioritize their focus
  • Classes and coaching for all teams in the company
  • Overviews tailored for manager and executives to they could thoroughly understand what their teams were being trained on, why it worked and how they could support it
  • Coaching for managers and executives focused on strategic direction and goal-setting
End Result

“Construx was uniquely effective as a change agent within my organization,” said the company’s Vice President of Application Development. Results included:

  • Agile adoption timeline accelerated by 100 percent
  • 70 percent reduction in reported defects
  • 3X improvement in productivity
  • On-time deliveries
  • $1.5 million saved in just six months, with improved in-house efficiency allowing cancellation of their offshore staffing contract

This success continues with the teams fully independent of Construx guidance. This is a key part of Construx’s approach and high-ROI relationships: To enable significant change in a short period of time and equip the organization to continue on their own. Beyond bottom-line results and happier teams, the company can now focus on strengthening their market position. With the engineering organization working well, they are out of the software fire-fighting mode and poised for the next level of innovation and success.