As more and more companies are implementing Agile, a perceived need for adopting Agile in large scale environment is growing rapidly.
This is the first in a series addressing large scale agile. Here I will summarize the challenges and list the most well known approaches to scaling Agile that have emerged lately. In following posts I will address some of the approaches and frameworks in more detail.
Have you been talking or reading about scaling Agile or Scrum lately? If so, you are not alone. Many are interested in and have opinions on scaling Agile and Scrum. I want to offer my view of scaling. First of all scaling is not always the right answer. A lot of times our problems are better solved in other ways than scaling. Below are some examples of problems where scaling is not necessarily the solution:
- We are seldom able to reach done at the end of an iteration
- We are not able to create cross-functional teams
- Communication between different parts of the organization doesn’t work very well
- We are not delivering fast enough
- Teams and individuals in different parts of the organization does not use the exact same processes
- The quality of our product releases is not high enough
- We are a big company and we want to implement Agile
- We are Agile on team level but are still not able to deliver frequently
Before scaling Agile and also while working, I like to ask and answer a number of questions. The reason for this is that all situations are specific even though some are similar to others. Thus, it is a bad idea to follow a recipe without tasting at all. This is inspecting and adapting, avoiding scaling for the wrong reasons. I call these questions Scaling Questions (SQs)
SQ1: Is scaling in our best interest? I.e. will scaling help us to solve a problem?
If the answer to SQ1 is: No, then what other ways of solving our problem can we find?
If the answer to SQ1 is: Yes, then we have several possible roads to travel. See the list of approaches below
Especially the last year several approaches to Agile scaling have surfaced. Some of them have been talked about for a while. Some of them are based on Scrum and most of them are general in their approach. Some of them are considered prescriptive and some of them are based upon principles.
Here is a list of different approaches with links to more information:
- Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe (http://www.scaledagileframework.com/)
- Large-Scale Scrum, LeSS (http://less.works/)
- Enterprise Scrum (http://www.enterprisescrum.com/)
- ScALeD Agile Lean Development – The Principles (http://scaledprinciples.org/)
- Scrum plop (https://sites.google.com/a/scrumplop.org/published-patterns/home)
- Scaling Scrum with Scrum (http://3back.com/scaling-scrum-with-scrum/)
- Scrum Inc.’s Scrum at Scale Framework (http://www.scruminc.com/scrum-incs-scrum-at-scale-framework/)
- Disciplined Agile Delivery, DAD (http://www.disciplinedagiledelivery.com/)
Before I decide upon an approach to scaling I like to ask one more question:
SQ2: Can we start small?
When reading the following posts in this series, you will find details on some of the approaches and more SQs to ask when scaling.
- Do you miss an approach not listed?
- Do you use a particular approach to scaling Agile? How does it help to solve your problems?
- What are the questions about scaling that you ask?
Please add your answers as comments to this post.