Hitting The Wall: What to Do When High Performing Scrum Teams Overwhelm Operations

J. Sutherland and R. Frohman, IEEE HICSS 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Kauai, Hawaii, 2011.

All-at-once Scrum implementations require total commitment to change, high level management support and aggressive removal of impediments. Several company-wide implementations are known to the authors but none of them had to deal with the complexity of a large, mission-critical, enterprise software product. Pegasystems develops software to manage, automate and optimize a broad array of business processes. In July of 2009 the company deployed over 20 Scrum teams in the U.S. and India within two months. Complexity of languages, frameworks, and tools led to an architecture where continuous integration support for software development teams was impossible without a major upgrade in infrastructure and operations. A virtual Scrum team was formed to avoid “hitting the wall” before this impediment impacted the first Scrum release of the software. Here we describe how a Scrum team engineered a continuous integration environment for hundreds of software developers on two continents within a few weeks.

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