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Salesforce.com's Switch to Agile

Salesforce.com is a global S&P 500 software firm best known for its customer relationship management (CRM) tool. The Saleforce.com products are typically delivered through cloud computing also known as ‘software as a service (SaaS).’ The firm employs over 15,000 employees worldwide, and has recently reported quarterly revenue of $1.44 billion and annual revenue of $5.37 billion.

Salesforce.com was established in 1999. By 2006, the company had enjoyed tremendous year- over-year growth. Customers pay monthly fees for cloud access to centrally-managed software, as opposed to intricate systems custom built and then managed on site. Along with its growth and success, however, Salesforce.com also faced challenges in 2006. The existing systems for software development increasingly encountered issues, and the development teams struggled to maintain the fast pace of their early product releases. The time between software releases continued to lengthen from around one month to roughly a full year. Management recognized that change was needed. Sustaining their capacity to innovate was critical to their success as they expanded from a small start-up to a $1 billion company with a 300-person development staff.

The following white paper describes the Saleforce.com solution to challenges in 2006: http://www.developerforce.com/media/ForcedotcomBookLibrary/WP_Agile_112608.pdf

The following article describes why Salesforce.com’s solution was successful: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/04/18/six-common-mistakes-that-salesforce-com-didnt-make/#61c554689de3

After reading the information provided in this case study, visit the Salesforce.com Status and an Agile Approach discussion questions to discuss the Salesforce.com’s status and how an Agile approach to project management might help the company.

If you are interested in accessing the full case study article, please see the attached PDF at the bottom of this page under “Downloads.”

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This article is from the free online course:

Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Darden School of Business, University of Virginia