Project Management

Old World Out

Kathleen Ryan O'Connor

In a drastic departure from a project management approach heavy on control and prediction, Salesforce.com rolled out an in-house Agile development methodology in just three months. From resistance to breakthroughs, here's a look at how they did it, with some lessons that other organizations can apply to their own transformation initiatives.

Imagine an operational change so big, so challenging and so transformative to every level of your organization that even a consultant isn’t willing to take your money to try and make it work.
 
“They were afraid to do it,” laughs Ray Levitt, Stanford University professor of civil and environmental engineering.
 
“They just didn’t believe it,” says Steve Greene of the San Francisco-based software company Salesforce.com.
 
Both men are describing a groundbreaking effort by Salesforce.com to move into a completely Agile-based environment using an in-house brand of project management called "Agile Development Methodology." ADM, they explain, is a mix of agile processes, primarily Xtreme and the use of Scrum teams, and the company's own automated testing tools.
 
But here’s the hook: They did it company-wide and in only three months.
 
Levitt, founder and academic director of Stanford University's Advanced Project …

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"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules."

- George Bernard Shaw