How Big Tech Runs Tech Projects and the Curious Absence of Scrum

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A survey of how tech projects run across the industry highlights Scrum being absent from Big Tech. Why is this, and are there takeaways others should take note of?
Project management is a topic most people have strong opinions on, and I'm no exception. To answer the question of how different companies run engineering projects, I pulled in help from across the industry. In this issue we'll cover:

Project management approaches across the industry. An overview of a survey with over 100 companies represented, plus key takeaways.

An overview of a survey with over 100 companies represented, plus key takeaways. Project management at Big Tech . How are these done? How does the organizational setup of Big Tech influence how projects are executed?

. How are these done? How does the organizational setup of Big Tech influence how projects are executed? The lack of Scrum at Big Tech . Why is the popular framework missing from most of Big Tech, and are there takeaways for companies operating outside this model?

. Why is the popular framework missing from most of Big Tech, and are there takeaways for companies operating outside this model? How should you run projects in your team? I'll share my personal take.

Before we jump in, here's a personal story about why it's sometimes hard to put a finger on how important project management approaches are.

This article was originally published in The Pragmatic Engineer Newsletter. This newsletter is especially relevant for engineering managers and senior and above engineers at high-growth startups and big tech. Subscribe to get weekly articles like these in your inbox.

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When I joined Skype in 2012, the company had gone all-in on Scrum. All engineers and product people were sent to best-in-class Scrum training, facilitated by one of the Agile manifesto's founders. Skype went all-in on Scrum, moving all teams to this methodology over a few quarters.

And the move to Scrum was seen as a success at Skype. We went from shipping the flagship Windows app once-a-quarter at best, to monthly shipping. Most teams delivered something every 2-4 weeks. Teams…
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