Why Scaling Agile Is Needed

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

If you have been around agile for any length of time, then you are probably familiar with VersionOne’s State of Agile survey. The report from the 13th annual survey was published earlier this year and, as always, there were some interesting trends. One of the areas that struck me was the growth in strategic or scaled agile frameworks.

In broad terms, this is the process of applying agile principles to more senior levels of the organization—introducing agility to earlier phases than project delivery. There are many ways that this can be done—from individual initiatives designed to improve one or two business processes, to massive enterprise-wide frameworks designed to reimagine the entire organization.

Increasingly, it is the large-scale frameworks that are being adopted because they offer the potential to create a fully integrated agile structure from top to bottom. You can see in the survey that there are a number of such approaches in use. But the one you are most likely to have heard of (and the most popular) is SAFe, or the Scaled Agile Framework. But what is it about those approaches that is driving organizations to adopt them in increasing numbers? Why is scaling agile so important?

It’s in the numbers
It’s certainly not because these approaches are simple and straightforward. Agile at the project level has a reputation of being …


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