As Borland evolved over the last 25 years, acquiring companies and shifting business strategies, the delivery organization had become a collection of teams with different cultures, processes, release cycles and levels of performance. The cost structure of the organization wasn’t aligned with the strategic objectives of the company, and the teams were struggling to consistently meet delivery goals.

When you have a team of people somewhat new to Agile, it can be difficult to keep them aggressively moving forward on a business goal while also staying true to Agile principles. The reality is that people tend to revert back to behavior that has personally served them well in the past. At the start of our transition, we made a concerted effort to ensure that both teams and management kept their eyes on the long term goal—the business outcome we were striving for—which was not to successfully implement Agile, but to improve productivity and team performance. Thus, when formulating our “base” team structure, we made the following decisions. They felt it important to have someone who could mentor new Scrum Masters while coaching the teams and evangelizing the Scrum as we expanded it across the broader organization.

Many people—including some of our own management—were under the impression that Agile methods imply random chaos and cowboy development. What we have learned is quite the contrary—Agile methods drive accountability, ownership and responsibility down to the lowest and most appropriate levels. Team members are held accountable not by some faceless process, but by their peers – peers that they must face each and every day at the daily stand-up meeting. Some of the core practices of Agile promote these characteristics naturally, and as we navigated our transformation we developed further practices to drive accountability and transparency across the organization.

Key Takeaways:

  • 100% increase in number of product releases per year
  • Greatly improved relationships with strategic customers, who have participated in over 50 sprint reviews
  • Reduced administrative and planning overhead by an average of 15 hours per sprint
  • Eliminated 6 days a month of vice president and director time spent reporting per product group
  • Increased product quality, reducing issues from release to release by 50%
  • Increased team productivity and employee retention through enhanced morale

Full Case Study:

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