Flyover Construction in Bangalore — A Real-Life Scrum Example - dummies

Flyover Construction in Bangalore — A Real-Life Scrum Example

By Mark C. Layton

This is a real-life example of the scrum process in action with construction. The project was building a flyover road at a hugely busy intersection in Bangalore, India. This was a crossroads where many high-tech companies had major facilities. The story is based on a Scrum Alliance article entitled “A Real-Life Example of Agile, Incremental Delivery of an Infrastructure Project in Bangalore, India” (July 2014).

Normally, a flyover project of this magnitude would take 18 months to ­complete. In the process, temporary roads would be created on either side of the main thoroughfare, while both flyovers were built simultaneously. Naturally, traffic is delayed during construction as temporary roads are used. And no flyovers are available until the end, when both are opened.

However, in this case, the project was conducted using scrum and incremental steps:

  • The highest-priority requirement (MVP) was identified as one side of the flyover for first release. Therefore, a temporary road was constructed and used on one side of the main road. Simultaneously, construction of the flyover on the opposite side of the road began.

  • Upon completion of the first flyover, it was opened for traffic in both directions, and the opposite flyover began to be constructed. So while traffic was still delayed, the delay was reduced because at least one ­flyover was functional. The completion of the first flyover also created a “shippable” product increment. Swarming was done on that side of the flyover only.

  • The same temporary road was used during the second flyover construction as the first. Time and money were saved as no new road was required. Perhaps a second temporary road would have been planned up front, but after using the first temporary road, it was found to be useful during the second phase. Inspect and adapt eliminated waste.

  • The second flyover was completed and now both were open, while ­traffic was returned to the main thoroughfare. The temporary road was closed. The second MVP was complete, and therefore the end of roadmap was reached.

Seems simple, doesn’t it? That’s scrum. Here are some of the results:

  • Using this incremental delivery of one flyover at a time actually reduced the overall construction time from 18 to 9 months (a 50 percent time-to-market decrease).

  • Traffic congestion, while still there, was reduced as first one and then the other flyovers were opened.

  • Only one temporary road needed to be constructed.

  • As soon as one flyover was operational, risk of failure was reduced. For example, what if funding had been cut halfway through? Because one side was fully functional (that is, a shippable increment had been created), it wouldn’t have been as big a disaster as if both sides of the flyover were halfway done and therefore both unusable. The highest-risk issues had been dealt with up front.

  • The overall efficiency was improved as there were fewer moving parts at any one time.