We just brought live the new site of http://www.frontiersin.org, which was my biggest SCRUM project up to now. Here are my first learnings from this project:
SCRUM helped us (we were client on this project) to see much earlier were the development team was going, and had regular feedback points at the SCRUM demos.
However, there was a conflict between the SCRUM tenet of minimal documentation and our customer requirement to fully document the project – which was needed for support and knowledge retention purposes, but also to have an agreed baseline for customer acceptance.
The size of the project (1 year, a peak of 60+ people in 8 teams) was quite amazing, and being a “remote” customer in a different timezone did make communication difficult at times.
Splitting out some special teams was also not strictly in line with SCRUM, but it has worked for us – we have split out a functional analysis and screen design team, which worked always 1-2 sprints ahead of the development, and in the end we also split out a separate test team. Especially the separation of the test team was a violation of the SCRUM tenet of cross-functional teams, but again: it has worked for us in this specific environment.
Each of these points would be probably worth a separate article in the future – let’s see whether I find the time for it.
I would be interested to learn of any experience of other people on larger SCRUM projects.