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Presentation: Agile Project Management: Lessons Learned at Google

In this presentation filmed during QCon 2007, Jeff Sutherland, the creator of Scrum, talks about his visit at Google to do an analysis of Google's first implementation of Scrum. He tells how Google started with no engineering management, then gradually introduced Scrum without spoiling the development culture formed over the years.

Google removed all low level engineering management back in 2001. They formed lots of small teams of 2-3 developers which constantly took the leadership of their team. They were responsible for what they were doing, including fixing bugs in production code without asking anyone about that. That created a special development culture in which everyone was feeling completely responsible for his contribution to the company and no one was expecting a boss to tell him what to do next. Later on, they started to gradually introduce Scrum step by step and forming organic management whose primary role was to support developers' activity and not supervise them. There are only two basic rules at Google: code reviews and every developer maintains a web page with information about his current work and his plans for the following 3 months.

The main problem Google was facing back in 2001 was missing the deadlines. As a reaction, they introduces backlogs and burn down charts. Then daily meetings. They were still missing dates. After a thorough investigations they discovered that a large number of features were work in progress. So, they started to minimize work in progress. Later they introduced iterations, and included testing tasks in the backlogs. Eventually they started creating release burn down charts.

The entire presentation is 1 hour and 8 minutes long. Jeff answers questions during the last 15 minutes of the presentation.

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