Salesforce.com – Radical Changes to Drive Agile Innovation
Salesforce.com is the world leader today in customer relationship management (CRM) software.
But did you know that in 2006 the company got into a crisis in software development that threatened their future?
By this time, they had grown in their first 9 years to become a $1B revenue company with over 49,000 customers and over 1M subscriber licenses. But with over 500 software engineers on the staff, the number of features included in each release was going down and the time between releases was going up. Both customers and employees reported being unhappy and frustrated with this state of affairs and the company reported that only one release happened in 2006.
The solution? Implementing the Agile software development methodology.
The radical part? This was done in an aggressive fashion across the whole company in a 3 month period, without using a pilot project to test it out.
The implementation was decided to be done all at once as the management wanted a return to the core values of the company (especially Innovation and Customer Success) which required all in the company to be involved and they created a sense of urgency around this and the need for radical change to address the performance issue and stay ahead of the competition.
The results were impressive – this action totally reversed the trend and the company started doing software releases every 30 days in 2007.
Salesforce.com is a great example of a company that showed the keys to success included not only a clear strategy that was focused on delivering value to the customer, but also insuring their product development and management methodology enabled the innovation environment needed to flourish.
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