Case Study

Dell Technologies Data Protection: Scrum@Scale Transformation

Learn how Gary Dismukes led Dell’s Data Protection Group of 600 people from a Waterfall development process to Scrum. Implementing Scrum@Scale allowed this already successful company to maintain its advantage as the industry changed. 


Trainer Name: Gary Dismukes
Organization: Dell Technologies
Industry: Information Technology and Security
Topics: Cost Reduction, Delivery and Velocity, Traditional Project Management Failure
Organization Size:
Date: 2021


Rising to the Challenge:  refusing to Rely on Past Success 

Director of Strategic Realization at Dell Technologies leads a large division with 80% Market Share in Enterprise Data Protection (DP).  He and his team recognized that new technology challenged its market dominance.  Implementing Scrum@Scale allowed this already successful company to maintain its advantage as its industry changed.  While the company was already successful in the Enterprise Data Protection Market, growth was flat; they were not a leader in the Commercial Market, which requires a faster turnaround time. In addition, emerging Cloud Technology was blurring the lines between the enterprise and commercial markets requiring systemic changes to stay current and compete.  The company struggled with the inability to deliver innovative solutions to customers quickly; unpredictable quality often required follow-up patches to reach stability, and revenue was flat.  Internally the division was experiencing low Employer Net Promoter Scores (eNPS) and Candidate Net Promoter Scores (cNPS).  Restructuring was not a risk, but rather a necessity.

The Scrum@Scale Solution: Improve Throughput, Speed, and Quality

To improve their throughput, speed, and quality, Gary organized the formation of  5 “Portfolios” (File Systems, Infrastructure, Manageability, Quality Assurance, and Performance) with MetaScrums and Scrum of Scrums for each portfolio. This led into a Scrum of Scrums of Scrum of Scrums, and ultimately into an Executive MetaScrum and Executive Action Team. 

Gary led the teams to create practice guides and provided coaching, training, and support communities across the organization and across their eight geographical locations. They implemented the “five Ps of Transformation: Product, People, Process, Partners, and Potential.”

According to Gary, “Quality has been the biggest gain.” With the transition from yearly releases to quarterly releases, they have become much more customer responsive. They are now 100% on time with releases, known bugs on releases dropped by 94%, and customer-found defects were reduced by 60%. Customer-found defect resolution time has dropped by 77%, and system availability in the field increased threefold.

They challenged Scrum Team Members in engaging ways such as “Scrum Madness,” a competition to see who could produce the best user stories. “Everything has changed,” reflects Gary. Project management teams and sustained engineering teams were eliminated, but no one lost their jobs; instead, people moved into new, more effective positions. 

Delighted But Not Satisfied! The Scrum@Scale Outcome 

Dell Technologies Data Protection and Management gained Market Share in Enterprise Market and Commercial Markets while:

  •         Releasing once a quarter
  •          Achieving 100% on-time delivery rate for six straight quarters
  •         Quality is at an all-time high
  •         Customer-found defects were cut by 50%
  •         Internally found defects up by 30%
  •         Deferrals were reduced by 95%
  •         eNPS, cNPS were at an all-time high
  •         Revenue was at an all-time high

Even with all this success, they are not done yet! They are constantly re-evaluating their processes and looking for opportunities for improvement. Currently, they are in the midst of re-evaluating structures for better alignment across teams to generate faster flow. Streamlining the upgrade process so customers can access the highest quality code is underway. They are also working towards continuous automation and better analytics to stay ahead of the game.

Who Is Gary Dismukes

Gary is the Director Strategic Realization at Dell Technologies, an Enterprise Agile Coach, a Registered Scrum Trainer™, and a Registered Scrum@Scale Trainer™ with the Agile Education Program powered by Scrum Inc., a Registered Scrum@Scale Practitioner™, and SAFe Scaled Agilest.

He started his career working for NASA supporting Space Shuttle missions and has since gained over 30 years of experience with technology companies, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Recently, he has been working with Dell Technologies – Secondary Storage Group, leading the process to maximize organizational flow. “We are using the discipline, rigor, frequent inspect/adapt process built into Scrum as a catalyst to maximize our organizational flow and gain the benefits of reduced time to market, higher product quality, higher customer and employee satisfaction and ultimately increase in revenue,” says Gary. He has become an expert in Agile and Scrum methodologies and how to apply these principles to large organizations.

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