Scrum for Systems Engineering

Principles from the Agile Manifesto have been used rapidly throughout industry on software development projects at first, and eventually into projects that are not software centric. This article focuses on the application of Scrum to enable stability for the execution of systems engineering (SE) activities at Boeing and the development of requisite systems engineering work products throughout the product development lifecycle.

Mapping the potential costs of defects found by various detection techniques to common development strategies versus the cost-of-change curve very clearly shows that using an agile approach is less costly than traditional approaches. Agile SE for software development was first implemented in Boeing on two very large programs consisting of multiple engineering domains. Agile SE teams defined and developed requirements and functions in the form of user stories, developed and demonstrated prototypes and received real-time user feedback, and created a product backlog for software development. Scrum is most effective when used as a wrapper for the organization’s existing engineering practices and improved as necessary during product delivery or deployment increments.

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