Agile for Large Projects

Page history last edited by Brian Bozzuto 13 years, 4 months ago

This page is a collections of links to files and pages that describe how Agile practices may be applied to large development projects.

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Scaling Software Agility, a book (and a blog) by Dean Leffingwell  “Companies have been implementing large agile projects for a number of years, but the ‘stigma’ of ‘agile only works for small projects’ continues to be a frequent barrier for newcomers and a rallying cry for agile critics. What has been missing from the agile literature is a solid, practical book on the specifics of developing large projects in an agile way. Dean Leffingwell’s book Scaling Software Agility fills this gap admirably. It offers a practical guide to large project issues such as architecture, requirements development, multi-level release planning, and team organization. Leffingwell’s book is a necessary guide for large projects and large organizations making the transition to agile development.” —Jim Highsmith, director, Agile Practice, Cutter Consortium, author of Agile Project Management


Scaling Lean and Agile Development, by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde

Increasingly, large product-development organizations are turning to lean thinking, agile principles and practices, and large-scale Scrum to sustainably and quickly deliver value and innovation. However, many groups have floundered in their practice-oriented adoptions. Why? Because without a deeper understanding of the thinking tools and profound organizational redesign needed, it is as though casting seeds on to an infertile field...” (2008) on




Scaling down large projects to meet the agile sweet spot

by Philippe Kruchten, University of British Columbia


Summary: from The Rational Edge: This article describes techniques for applying agile software development methods to a large project that normally would be considered beyond the scope of agility. The author explains the communications capability that a software architecture team can offer coding teams focused on architectural chunks, even when those teams are disconnected by geography, culture, and specialization. This content is part of the The Rational Edge.


Dependency Management in a Large Agile Environment by Eric Babinet  and Rajani Ramanathan’s R&D organization has over 30 Scrum teams working simultaneously in a single release code branch. This report highlights practices that has been using successfully to scale Scrum and to manage inter-team dependencies. 

Rolling out Agile in a Large Enterprise by Gabrielle Benefield, 41st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences - 2008 Yahoo! is a large enterprise with a $32 billion market cap and has one of the largest Agile implementations in the world. The adoption of Scrum and Agile practices has been steadily growing over the past two years, and now encompasses more than 150 Yahoo! teams in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The projects range from new product development for properties such as Yahoo! Autos to heavy-duty infrastructure work on Yahoo! Mail, which serves 250 million users each month around the globe.


How We Made Onsite Customer Work - Agile Bibliography An Extreme Success Story, Agile 2007. Experience Report by Jay Packlick (Sabre Airline Solutions), Scott Coburn (Sabre Airline Solutions), Rajeev Bellubbi (Sabre Airline Solutions), Michelle Williams (Sabre Airline Solutions) This paper describes our experience in adopting onsite customer in an environment where the practice was long considered impractical. We successfully overcame many obstacles to bring busy airline employees for extended periods of time to our development site thousands of miles from their homes and have them work with our team. We have realized significant gains in productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction as a result. Onsite customer has now become a standard way of doing business. 


Establishing the Agile PMO: Managing variability across Projects and Portfolios (PDF), Agile 2007, by Ash Tengshe, Scott Noble, Capital One Auto Finance. As more and more of our Project Managers become Scrum Masters and the Portfolio Managers becomes the Group Scrum Master, our Portfolio Management Office needed to become Agile itself. We converted our Traditional PMO that supported the Project Managers to an Agile PMO that staffed experienced Agile coaches who supported the different Portfolio and Agile Project Teams. The services included conducting Agile Training, starting up new Agile teams, encouraging Team Empowerment, transforming existing roles, artifacts and processes to become more Agile, capturing metrics across Portfolio and Project Teams and creating the Management reports. 


IBM employs 'agile' methodology, ComputerworldUK, November 20, 2007 About 25% of software development projects within IBM are now employing some manner of "agile" methodology, a company official announced. "This is not a fashion trend," said Sue McKinney, vice president of strategy, integration and development transformation, at IBM. "We believe this is going to be the way we develop software."




Agile 2008 - Jochen Krebs - Agile PMO, Agile Portfolio Managment, Scrum and More AgileToolkit Podcast talks about Portfolio Management and a large agile transformation and give some insights into a rollout of agile. A great listen if you are looking at scaling agile.

APLN06 - David Hussman and Tor Stenstad - GMAC/RFC Agile Transition , a podcast of a presentation by David Hussman and Tor Stenstad An experience report about Customizing Agile for a large implementation. Discusses; inclusive chartering  for the transition, mapping the project community of builders (venn diagram of everyone who works on the project), stop before you start – make a backlog, personas, engage the real product owners, smagile, converted some engineering managers into coaches, start with a consultant and gradually fade their involvement.


Distributed / Remote Teams and Agile (where does this go?)


Is Distributed Agile Development as Hard as it Looks? And other blog posts By Dean Leffingwell Collocated is idea, but in this day and age it will probably be the exception for large projects. Distributed teams can work.


Reaching Hyper-Productivity with Outsourced Development Teams, a video from Agile 2008 by Jeff Sutherland and Guido Schoonheim:  Experience case study of distributed teams and why this can be high performing (as evidenced by function/story points per month, linear scaling of constant velocity per developer). Pair programming with remote members. Team rooms with video conferencing and project index cards. Use webcams. Project gazette with all the gossip.  Some iterations team members traveled.

Inspecting Distributed Team Practices by Tamara Sulaiman  Geographically distributed teams face additional challenges when transitioning to agile development practices. … Where do Post-it notes and tooling solutions meet in a distributed environment? How agile do we need to be, given our distributed team situation?

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