Amazing! Working as a general contractor, NTT Data has set up the entire IT structure of the newly designed website of the BMW Group. The secret of success is called Scrum.
Bowing to the normative power of the facts
It happens all to frequently: complaints that software development projects are not producing the desired success. Clients complain that developers have been programming without attention to the actual requirements, while programmers are frustrated that they are continually confronted with new requirements. What’s the way out?
It’s very simple: Instead of aiming for the ideal – which can never be achieved anyway – where all the requirements must be described with absolute precision, you adjust your development method to the fact that it’s impossible to define everything in advance and in minute detail. Basically, you bow to the “normative power of the facts” and proceed step by step. Instead of following the cascade model, you apply an agile development method called Scrum.
Put your heads together at regular intervals
Scrum – the agile software development method – has been inspired by rugby where the players first put their heads together before launching the next attack. This is precisely what programmers do. The members of the team meet daily for 15 minutes to agree targets for the following day. Unlike the traditional cascade model, a scrum does not require any detailed planning for each linear stage before the start of the project, i.e. analysis, design, realisation, testing and implementation. Rather, it is flexible and offers a large number of benefits:
Quickly demonstrable results: Requirements can be implemented quickly and can be verified against an operable program very soon after they have been defined. Also, an executive software application is available at any point in time and might even be used live at an early stage.
High level of flexibility: If the requirements are not met, then the program can be changed quickly, and the changes can be made available for testing again after one of the next iterations.
Working closely with the client: Clients work closely with the developer, can check the results at any time and can express their change requests straight away. So there won’t be any nasty surprises (see cartoon).
Scrum works! Practical illustration: the BMW Group
Scrums are ideally suited for large-scale projects. Their success is borne out by a major development project for the implementation of the BMW digital media strategy, with NTT DATA as the general contractor.