Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System - Project History

Project History

The C3 project started in 1993 by Tom Hadfield, Director of Payroll Systems, under the direction of CIO Susan Unger. The initial spark for the project was a small object-oriented prototype built by Hadfield. Smalltalk development was initiated in 1994. The end goal was to build a new system to support all the payroll processing for 87,000 employees by 1999. In 1996 Kent Beck was hired to get the thing working; at this point the system had not printed a single paycheck. Beck in turn brought in Ron Jeffries. In March 1996 the development team estimated that the system would be ready to go into production around one year later. In 1997 the development team adopted a way of working which is now formalized as Extreme Programming. The one-year delivery target was nearly achieved, with the actual delivery being a couple of months late; the small delay being primarily due to lack of clarity regarding some business requirements. A few months after this first launch, the project's customer representative — a key role in the Extreme Programming methodology — quit due to burnout and stress, and couldn't be replaced.

The plan was to roll out the system to different payroll 'populations' in stages, but C3 never managed to make another release despite two more years' development. The C3 system only ever paid 10,000 people. Performance was something of a problem; during development it looked like it would take 1000 hours to run the payroll, but profiling activities reduced this to around 40 hours; another month's effort reduced this to 18 hours and by the time the system was launched the figure was 12 hours. During the first year of production the performance was improved to 9 hours.

Chrysler was bought out by Daimler-Benz in 1998, after the merger the company was known as DaimlerChrysler. DaimlerChrysler stopped the C3 project on 1 February 2000.

Frank Gerhardt, a manager at the company, announced to the XP conference in 2000 that DaimlerChrysler had de facto banned XP after shutting down C3; however, some time later DaimlerChrysler resumed the use of XP.

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