Agile scaling in the enterprise , but how?

Since the introduction of agility, we’ve been trying to scale it. The first step towards agile scaling was taken with Scrum of Scrums. Subsequently, a large number of agile evangelists began to consider solutions for a company-wide scaling of scrum, writing very exciting books and approaches from 2010 to 2016.

LESS, DAD, SAFe? All just marketing?

It all started with the SAFe Framework from Leffingwell (2010). This framework was reported in the magazines as very bureaucratic and too inflexible. Leffingwell has greatly improved this framework to date and releases new versions every year. More information can be found in his new book. IBM then wanted to scale agility and, with Ambler and Lines in 2012, produced Disciplined Agile Delivery, a collection of many best practices that were published as a book in2012. Now in 2015 Ken Schwaber (Nexus) and soon Larman and Vodde (2016) followed with the LeSS Framework. There will be the first lectures by the two and a book that will be published in September 2016.

Evaluation of the frameworks through interviews

In the course of research on agility, I have studied these scaling frameworks in detail and wondered about seeing them rarely in use. I then evaluated the frameworks together with agile coaches and came to a surprising conclusion: Actually, these frameworks were described by the coaches as pure marketing frameworks. People would be pushed into a framework, and the real freedom that Scrum must offer was no longer given. For this reason, according to the coaches, the introduction of such frameworks was often aborted halfway through and new solutions and approaches were sought.

Is there any agile scaling at all?

Scrum is a bit like Lego. You can combine it with other methods as desired. This is the way it is, both on a large and small scale, e.g. a backlog is always to be understood in the same way. The only difference is that there is a backlog of several teams that carries larger user stories, so-called epics. Or let’s take a project backlog that lists and prioritizes all projects. So I always start with the most important projects. So I’m not actually scaling scrum, I’m taking the values and methods of agility so that they create value at the right time.

Holocracy, Scrum Principle, Agile Leadership and Resilience

After evaluating the interviews, I have now summarized all the frameworks found and sorted them according to relevance. A detailed overview of the exact content and author can be found in the article Frameworks for Agility. I would now like to comment on what constitutes it.

The frameworks mentioned in the headline do not tighten the organization as strictly as current scaling frameworks, because their focus is on the organization and the people in it. No framework dictates exactly what to do, but each aims at the flexibility and self-organization of the individual participants. Roles should be formed instead of positions and, if necessary, the actual organization should be overridden at any time in order to react faster and better to changes.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Larman, C., & Vodde, B. (2016). Large-Scale Scrum. Hallbergmoos: Pearson Education.

Leffingwell, D. (2010). Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise. Boston: Addison Wesley.

Schwaber, K. (2015). Nexus Framework. Retrieved from https://www.scrum.org/Resources/The-Nexus-Guide

Ambler, S. W., & Lines, M. (2012). Disciplined agile delivery. Boston: IBM Press.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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