Collection of Non-IT Scrum Projects


Most companies that develop software use Scrum … (or ScrumBut…).

But what about non-IT projects? I mean, Scrum is a product development method. Look at the quote from Mike Cohn below! (Ok, he says “Agile…”.)

I was surprised to have a hard time finding concrete examples for Scrum projects outside of software development or IT – but here are the results of my small survey and a discussion at a local “Lean coffee” Agile Meeting. Thanks so much for sharing your examples!

There are several examples of non-IT projects in the “Scrum Fieldbook” by Jeff Sutherland, including:

  • Bosch, 3M, Saab, Schlumberger
  • The book states to “successfully implement the Scrum framework in any domain”

Case studies:

(More) examples:

Airplane development (military):
  • The Saab Gripen D military jet was developed with Scrum (J. Sutherland – ScrumInc; Joe Justice – WIKISPEED)
     
  • Joe Justice worked with Bosch, Microsoft, Amazon, 3M, Ford, Boston Scientific, QuintilesIMS, Chevrolet, MIT, HP Labs and others
Car manufacture/E-Mobility (hardware development):

Clothing:

  • Office apparel: the clothing Brand “Ministry of Supply” pivoted their whole brand and products in 45 days due to employees working from home and not needing office wear any more during the Covid pandemic.
Mechanical engineering/Machinery (farming equipment):
Construction:
Education/Schools:

I also got feedback on two other concrete “non-it” agile projects through a small linkedin question that I posted. They are:

A “Sales Boost” Project at the Haufe Group. It consisted of a temporary group from Sales/Marketing/Key Account). A business unit wanted to boost a product that until then had been of little sales-attention. The project was organized with Kanban and Scrum artifacts. Duration was 4 months and finished successfully. The Sales team had already used Scrum artifacts in earlier campaigns.

Haufe as a publishing-, training-, software- and consulting company is not surprising as using and trying out newer approaches – as especially seen with the very unusually self-organizing subsidiary Haufe Umantis.


Systra (is a large French engineering group, working especially in public transportation projects worldwide). The goal in this instance was to establish optimal project control through an audit methodology for project quality as a part of project review.

The project was successful, AUP as methodology was the key, so it used an Agile approach, but not Scrum. AUP is the Agile Unified Process, a combination of RUP (rational unified process) and agile (software) development. AUP has been integrated into the Disciplined Agile Approach (being bought and developed by PMI.org, the Project Management Institute who offer DA certifications).


Do you know that the roots of Scrum are not in software development or even IT?

They were in tech product development, in a study about product innovations at Fuji-Xerox, Canon, Honda, NEC, Epson, Brother, 3M, Xerox, and Hewlett-Packard – the products were very innovative cameras, copiers, motors and personal computers.

The authors weren’t Schwaber, Beedle or Sutherland either. They were the two Harvard professors Hirotaka Takeuchi und Ikujiro Nonaka. See the 01/1986 Harvard Business Review article here: HBR “The New New Product Development Game”.

It was the first article to use Rugby vocabulary like Scrum and self-organized teams in the product development context – though it doesn’t describe anything like the later/current standardized Scrum framework.

Consequently, there is a branch and methodology to apply Scrum for Hardware:

Hardware development with Scrum

  • ScrumInc (J. Sutherland) developed a Guide for Hardware development with Scrum (it’s not a document, just the scruminc web site below)
  • As the examples above show, “hardware” here does not mean (just) IT hardware!
  • https://www.scruminc.com/scrum-in-hardware/
  • https://www.scruminc.com/scrum-in-hardware-guide/
  • In the comments section under the above articles, several books on eXtreme Manufacturing (XM) are mentioned.
  • Hardware often has significantly longer release cycles than software, and substantial investment in material. The hardware guide recommends several approaches to attain rapid releases. For example, through modularity, flexible mass production tooling, few materials which are compatible with the fastest and most flexible tooling available to us, and minimalist (elegant) design, stubs, mock-ups, prototypes and modularization.

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