Agile at Scale
In Software development, teams have proven that implementing Agile frameworks, like Scrum and Kanban, allows them deliver value to their customers faster by building products using short cycles of work (iterations) that allow for rapid, continuous delivery and gives them the ability to respond quickly based on feedback. Implementing agile at the individual team level is relatively easy — the advantages are clear and the resources are numerous..
But the real issue lies in extending agile across multiple teams in large organizations. In other words, implementing Agile at Scale.
Agile at scale is the ability to drive and implement Agile at the team level, while applying the same principles, practices, and results at other sections of the organization.
Scaling Agile is a transformation, where the teams, tools etc. are committed to improving cooperation and the organization’s ability to execute against its strategy.
Finally, these changes will help decentralize decision-making, create greater transparency and alignment around work, and increase speed to market, all while adopting the values of Agile into the DNA of the organization.
Techniques for Scaling Agile
Here are some techniques for scaling Agile that you should try out today:
- Begin with an MVP: A Software Development strategy — Continuous Delivery provides quality, accessible software to customers/users. The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) release process is important for receiving early feedback and tracking use. It saves time and features such as gold plating amongst large teams.
- Create one backlog: The set of tasks to complete before release is listed and tracked on backlog. One backlog should be maintained by the Product Owner for all teams. One backlog allows focus on high priority tasks while providing access to all contributors at all times. Thereby preventing miscommunication and creating a collaborative environment.
- Setup a collaborative culture: Host meetings that include the Product Owner, a Developer and a Tester to asses requirements and test feature requests from the backlog in order to enhance teamwork. The Product Owner communicates the business need, the Programmer explains execution, and the Tester looks out for potential threats. This encourages different views while promoting unity with the team on the project.
- Adopt a large-scale agile framework: Examples of frameworks adopted in Agile at scale are the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD), Scrum of Scrums (SoS) and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS). These are perfect for small and growing organizations. A disadvantage is that these frameworks can lead to a restructuring of an organization, which can be challenging for large organizations.
Under a common framework, organizations can implement meaningful change at every level: Customers(Users) are more engaged, teams are more productive, and organizations see impact. Scaling Agile doesn’t just extend Agile practices from the Software Development team to the rest of the organization; its impact is also expanded.
Scaling Agile does have its hurdles, but with the right framework, approach, and technology, the benefits can be innovative and forward looking.