Scaling Agile with Multiple Teams: Using Lean to Drive Business Value

Alan Shalloway will be in Dallas to teach his Agile-PMI Certification course at Fellowship Technologies part of Active Network from 2/14-2/16. If you would like to join us, you can register here:

On TUE 2/14, Alan will then join us at DFW Scrum to help us on the topic of scaling Agile with multiple teams.

This program will share newly uncovered Lean-Agile principles that guide both what to build and how to coordinate the teams that need to build it. We will cover how to apply these principles when there are several teams involved in creating software using either Scrum or Kanban development approaches.

A common intent of all Agile methods is threefold:
1. Build the most valuable features
2. Build them efficiently
3. Minimize creating extra work

The challenge to accomplishing this is not that great for one team working independently. However, when several teams have to coordinate, the challenges greatly magnify. When implementing software over several teams, we have found it to be valuable to manage the workflow from the perspective of what will provide value to the business – not quite the same thing as customer value. This can be used to guide how to slice work up into smaller chunks, enabling at least quick feedback, if not quick delivery, to ensure the right products are being built. A lot of thrashing can take place when teams work with poor coordination – greatly lowering efficiency. In large scale development, it is clear that working on the right functions, and coordinating their construction across teams is essential.

Having teams coordinate amongst themselves has been the popular method. Unfortunately, this approach, typified by Scrum-of-Scrums, has a dismal track record. Having discovered the correct principles underneath large scale development, we now believe we understand why coordinating teams as a set of peer development organizations, can rarely be an optimal approach. Teams need to be guided by the value they are building, while self-organizing to improve the embedded feedback loops of development. The self-organization techniques required vary, depending upon several factors. These principles, not surprisingly, are directly related to the 3 intents mentioned above. This seminar will present both the principles underneath large scale feature implementation, as well as a few case studies demonstrating different implementations of these principles.

Alan Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With over 40 years of experience, Alan is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas. Alan has developed training and coaching methods for Lean-Agile that have helped Net Objectives' clients achieve long-term, sustainable productivity gains. He is a popular speaker at prestigious conferences worldwide. He is the primary author of Design Patterns Explained: A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design, Lean-Agile Pocket Guide for Scrum Teams, Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility and Essential Skills for the Agile Developer. Alan has worked in literally dozens of industries over his career. He is a co-founder and board member for the Lean Software and Systems Consortium. He has a Masters in Computer Science from M.I.T. as well as a Masters in Mathematics from Emory University. You can follow Alan on twitter @alshalloway

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for getting this as it is a great read! I appreciate your help.

    March 20, 2012

  • Lance D.

    The slides are here, you have to login to see them, but simply create an account:

    March 1, 2012

  • Lance D.

    I just sent him an email requesting it, we will see.

    March 1, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was not able to attend. Is there a copy of the presentation available? IF so, where? This information is very applicable to my current Scrum teams.

    March 1, 2012

  • Brian A.

    Could have listened for another hour. Great anecdotes, visuals, and wisdom based on hard-earned experience.

    February 15, 2012

  • Jay P.

    Most of what Alan had to share was some amazing 'ri' level stuff; EXACTLY the kind of thing advanced practitioners need to hear. Some memorable quotes, "Lean (and Scrum) is not about going faster, it's about shortening delay", "I can't always see waste, but I can see delays”, "delivering business value incrementally; it's not the same thing as building in iterations". The last three DFW Scrum meetings have been thought provoking, edifying, and helpful in my role as a coach. I don't know how you guys keep bringing in such great speakers but ..keep doing it! Cheers. J.

    February 15, 2012

  • Phil P.

    Good discussion... Excellent presenter...

    February 15, 2012

  • Tim N.

    I enjoyed Alan candor and his view on the human aspect of Scrum. As a new Scrummer, I need to know that it's not all lollipops and daffodils.

    February 15, 2012

  • Shannon W.

    Awesome. Learned a lot.

    February 15, 2012

  • Mahmood A.

    Superb presentation on an excellent topic.

    February 15, 2012

  • Andy U.

    It was definitely interesting and sparked many ideas for improving our performance and deliverability as a team.

    February 15, 2012

  • Ayman A.

    Well organized and very informational. Great to meet so many great Scrum professionals in one place. BTW - the sandwiches, chips and drinks were great too!! :) Thanks

    February 15, 2012

  • TTCrockeTT

    I found value in the presentation. It's intent was great. The delivery of the message made the purpose of the message distant and difficult to get to. I fear that people who are not succeeding with their agile endeavors will use the message here as the new sole reason that they are not succeeding. I feel that the people around me did not get the intent of the message that was delivered but heard a good deal of Scrum can't, shouldn't or is bad while being told that Lean can, should, and is totally sweet.

    February 15, 2012

  • Brittney B.

    I took away a lot from the speaker on this topic. Good graphics/animations to illustrate real life examples.

    February 15, 2012

  • Michael A.

    Great meetup, plan on incorporating lots of Alan's ideas into my team.

    February 15, 2012

  • Paul H.

    I liked how Alan didn't mince words. The information presented was useful, relevant & practical.

    February 15, 2012

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