Scaling Scrum & Scrum of Scrums

  • July 2, 2013 · 5:45 PM
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The challenge

Working in a single scrum works well for the sweet spot of 7+/-2 team members but what happens when you get to 10 or more people? How do you scale it without loosing the essence? How do you cope with visibility? Communications? Alignment of vision/goals/deliverables? How do you handle countless external stakeholders? Do you evolve parallel scrum teams or should you adopt a "scrum of scrums"?

What we'll do
This is a big topic so let's group think it. In this session we will start with a few communications starters where we:

  • Define the problem space
  • Highlight a few researched case studies
  • Explore the problem via discussion
  • Brainstorm ideas

What we will aim to get out of this

  • A greater awareness of the scaling Scrum problem
  • Hopefully clear points on making Scrum work in a bigger environment
  • A way of handling the communications problem outside the team
  • A way to handle distributed &/or offshored teams

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  • Dimitri S.

    Thanks everyone for the positive feedback and for taking the time to attend. I find the topic a fascinating one and feel it is in it's infancy (kind of feels like agile did in the earlier days). Who will win and become the de-facto standard? Can't say but in the end I will draw on the battle field between Agile (capital A), Scrum, XP etc. circa 2001-2005. In the end Scrum has become the default standard. Was it the best? Who can say but in the last few years Scrum Alliance has adopted a lot of the engineering practices found in XP...

    So for now I feel it is a process of exploring and navigating and learning. Those who are scaling are pioneers.

    As another reference point this one came up last night: http://disciplinedagiledelivery.com/

    Also have a look at Mike Cohn's stuff:
    http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/presentations/scaling-agile-and-working-with-a-distributed-team

    Finally as Jason mentioned SAFe is winning a lot of support in the market making it one to keep an eye on.

    1 · July 3, 2013

  • Jason C.

    Thanks Dimitri for an excellent session combining a great range of viewpoints.

    Thanks also Rowan for the references below - it turns out we are using the Larman/Vodde "Framework 1" almost exactly - not sure if by design or from experimentation! Its working well for 3-4 parallel teams of 10.

    Another model currently gaining traction is Dean Leffingwell's "Scaled Agile Framework" (http://scaledagileframework.com/). This has more to say about feature prioritization and governance (a.k.a. project portfolio management in traditional terms....) but is a complementary top-down model. It has the advantage of a single-page view, easy to explain to senior managers :)) We are implementing a version of this now - watch this space.

    Happy to talk offline with anyone facing similar challenges - there are so many deep factors involved it would be good to explore some key implementation areas in more depth.

    Cheers, Jason

    1 · July 3, 2013

  • Syed

    Enjoyed the session content and different experiences from the audience. Thanks Dimitri.

    July 3, 2013

  • Michael F.

    Good sessions. No silver bullet solution provided but the discussion was valuable and the presenter was engaging.

    July 3, 2013

  • Jeremy T.

    Thank you for a very interesting presentation and discussion.

    July 3, 2013

  • Robert B.

    Very good talk and talker. Thanks Dimitri and everyone.

    July 3, 2013

  • Archana

    very informative

    July 2, 2013

  • Rowan B.

    Dimitri showed the cover of the second Scaling book by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde (see the second photo).

    For a high level summary see this article:
    http://www.crosstalkonline.org/storage/issue-archives/2013/201305/201305-Larman.pdf
    Cool cover too: http://www.crosstalkonline.org/storage/issue-archives/2013/201305/201305-0-Issue.pdf

    You may notice that many of the organisational design patterns described for working at scale using the Large Scale Scrum (LeSS model) draw directly from the organisational design patterns for single-team Scrum.

    If you are interested in this topic then the following video of talk by Craig Larman is very worthwhile:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw1lLt18KzE

    Ericsson have an interesting scaling and Agile transformation story to tell too.
    "How we learn to to stop worrying and live with the uncertainties":
    http://reaktor.fi/assets/docs/ericsson_journey_feb2012.pdf

    A 2,000 person transformation was discussed at recent Scrum Gatherings in the USA and Europe.

    1 · July 2, 2013

  • Warren J.

    Good topics, good interaction and interesting to get a variety of perspectives

    July 2, 2013

  • Tim M.

    Really interesting topic and many great questions asked, some even answered!

    July 2, 2013

  • John S.

    Going to need to drop off this one... Have fun all.

    July 2, 2013

  • David A.

    Excellent topic, really looking forward to this event.

    June 26, 2013

  • Karan

    This is a very practical topic and very hard to get right for ones situation. Looking forward to hear group's thoughts!

    1 · June 18, 2013

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