Adobe

Adobe Premiere Pro began an agile adoption in 2008, and has had gains in product quality, team work-life balance, and market fitness and responsiveness. Agile adoption at Adobe has been almost entirely a grass roots movement – the Premiere Pro team chose to move to Scrum based on the experience of another early adopter team (Soundbooth CS3) in their same group. Other teams at Adobe have chosen to adopt Scrum after seeing Premiere Pro succeed. This pattern has proven successful thus far, and awareness of what agile is and what needs to change have slowly moved up from team level to director level over the course of a few years, just now beginning to reach the Vice President level.

Overview:

Scrum adoption helped the Premiere Pro team improve in several areas. The team was enabled to improve code quality, deliver better features for their customers, and work at a sustainable pace, greatly improving their engagement at work. Customers of the new releases of Premiere Pro have shown a marked improvement in perception and likelihood to recommend, coinciding with a decrease in the same scores for Premiere Pros’ primary competitors

How an agile approach enabled success in a hyper-competitive landscape:

Key Points:

  • In 2005 and 2006, the Premiere Pro team began an effort to make the current Windows only product compatible on the Macintosh platform but  the release quality was not as high as the team would have desired upon release, despite their heroic efforts.
  • During the same time period, the Soundbooth team, another product team in the same group as Premiere Pro had adopted the scrum agile framework since their experience of that release was vastly different director of Product management, decided to move to an agile approach across the group.
  • Adobe’s newly minted Scrum training began and as the teams began using Scrum, impediments began to surface immediately.

Some of the major impediments included:

  • Communication with remote team members
  • Lack of skills in Breaking down Product Backlog Items into Valuable slices
  • Working with non-agile teams

Approaches to overcome major impediments:

  • Communication with Remote Team Members: Scrum teams were created based on the best mix of skill sets and personalities, and all team members were asked to use Adobe Connect, Adobe’s desktop sharing and collaboration tool which allows participants to share their web cameras in one pod, have a chat session in another, share a desktop with the feature tracking tool loaded in another, etc.
  • Breaking down Product Backlog Items into Valuable slices: In order to overcome this Q&A session was held between developers from the Soundbooth team using scrum for nearly two years, and the Premiere Pro team which provided an opportunity to brainstorm some solutions to the problems and With follow up coaching, the team began looking at ways to slice their backlog vertically.
  • Working with non-agile teams: Coordination becomes difficult when teams use different development approaches with different methods but slowly the group responsible for managing Adobe’s PLC processes made several changes in an effort to accommodate teams wishing to use an agile approach.

Key Takeaways:

Scrum adoption led to following improvements.

  • Quality Improvements: The team started keeping detailed metrics on open defects at any given point in the cycle.
  • Team Perception of Improvement: In order to understand if a system has improved the teams were surveyed and were that in the drive to resolve the defects: accumulation of technical debt, and impact to team members’ work/life balance.
  • Market Perception: Premiere Pro has shown a marked improvement in perception and likelihood to recommend, coinciding with a decrease in the same scores for Premiere Pros’ primary competitors.

Full Case Study:

 

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