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March 29 2010 – Dinner with Jeff Sutherland

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Monday, March 29, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Jeff Sutherland and other RTP leaders. The dinner was a fundraiser for CITCON, which came to RTP in April. This was an opportunity for Agile practitioners and experts to have an informal chat about the challenges and opportunities of using Agile in the world of work.
I was interested learning more about Systematic, a CMMI level 5 company that implemented Scrum across its entire business. One thing that sets Systematic apart from other companies is that it has really good data to prove that Scrum works, and it is a software company that can execute perfect waterfalls every time. Systematic created hyper-productive teams, and by Jeff’s definition, they are at least 4 times more productive than industry average. They cut TTM in half and the development costs by the same as well.
I asked Jeff how these teams at Systematic were able to do this. What was the secret sauce? Most of the answers are in a published paper here. Jeff highlighted two key metrics and one Agile practice (A-TDD) in addition to Scrum that contributed to their success. On top of this there was intense focus on getting the backlog to a ready-ready state before stories were allowed to enter a Sprint.  Systematic introduced a Ready-Ready checklist to evaluate a Story’s readiness to enter a Sprint. The checklist’s three categories; 1) Prepare feature for commitment, 2) Clarify Feature for Development, 3) Prepare feature for Implementation. Everything on one page. A copy of it can be viewed in the paper referenced above.
The two metrics (from LEAN) were process efficiency, and fix time after failed builds. Click here for more ...
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