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Topics: Agile, Scrum
Scaled Agile Framework
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Dear PM community,

what experience (good or bad) can you share on the topic of scaled agile framework? What approach did you use/ can you recommend from your experience (Nexus, Less, SAFe, DAD,...)?
Related to scaling, do you think there is a certain borderline, where scaling comes to a limit in such respect that it gets counter-productive in an agile sense and that you loose more than you win with a scaling approach?
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Peter -

The moment you have more than a single agile team working on a product/project or you are working in an enterprise context where there are policies or standards which prevent use of pure Scrum (or XP or other basic agile methodology) then you are in a scaling situation.

Good scaling frameworks like good PM methodologies will be flexible and scalable to the needs of a given project and organization.

At the low end, you can start with a Scrum of Scrums approach, but beyond a certain level of complexity, you'll want to investigate one of the established scaling frameworks.

I prefer DAD as it provides choices both for lifecycle as well as for specific practices. SAFe is suitable if an organization is willing to fully adopt it but is more prescriptive.

Gartner has done a review of scaling agile frameworks within the last year so if you happen to work for a company which has a subscription you should be able to access that...

Kiron
...
2 replies by Peter Ambrosy and Sante Vergini
Jan 04, 2018 1:47 PM
Peter Ambrosy
...
Kiron, BIG thanks for your advise. Currently I am still on grass-root team level and believe prior any scaling we need to establish higher level of team maturity with regards to Scrum. Next steps (at least on team level) appears to me Nexus.
Jan 04, 2018 9:21 PM
Sante Vergini
...
That Gartner report would be good to get one's hands on.
Network:1533



First of all, there is nothing to scale if Agile is implemented as defined. The "scalation movement" was born to fix or path implementations that does not work because it was implemented without understanding what Agile really is. Is not a mistake most of the times. Is because Agile was implemented as commonly understanding: in software units. In our case, because we have to integrate some software units that is using Agile then we test all the frameworks you have mentioned. In fact, I am one of the four people five people that are components inside the council which decided about this in my actual work place. We decided to use DAD because is the most consistent and more "enterprise focused" framework. Take into account that to decide about it was a six month initiative where we test the frameworks exhaustively in theory (academic field) and practices using it all our three levels programs/projects/portfolio initiatives. The point is to understand the environment and the propose. If to scale is to use Agile in software units when you add people to the group or is to scale Agile practices to the whole organization.
...
1 reply by Peter Ambrosy
Jan 04, 2018 1:48 PM
Peter Ambrosy
...
Sergio, as always great comments and big insights. Big appreciation from Germany.
Network:276



Jan 04, 2018 11:31 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Peter -

The moment you have more than a single agile team working on a product/project or you are working in an enterprise context where there are policies or standards which prevent use of pure Scrum (or XP or other basic agile methodology) then you are in a scaling situation.

Good scaling frameworks like good PM methodologies will be flexible and scalable to the needs of a given project and organization.

At the low end, you can start with a Scrum of Scrums approach, but beyond a certain level of complexity, you'll want to investigate one of the established scaling frameworks.

I prefer DAD as it provides choices both for lifecycle as well as for specific practices. SAFe is suitable if an organization is willing to fully adopt it but is more prescriptive.

Gartner has done a review of scaling agile frameworks within the last year so if you happen to work for a company which has a subscription you should be able to access that...

Kiron
Kiron, BIG thanks for your advise. Currently I am still on grass-root team level and believe prior any scaling we need to establish higher level of team maturity with regards to Scrum. Next steps (at least on team level) appears to me Nexus.
...
1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Jan 04, 2018 2:33 PM
Kiron Bondale
...
Peter -

Sometimes its a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

There's a school of thought which says that there's no point in trying to scale agile if you can't be agile within the simplest context of a small, self-contained team. On the other hand, when working in an enterprise context, such a "sweet spot" might not exist, hence you might need to utilized a scaled agile approach to accommodate some of the constraints and compromises of such an environment.

Kiron
Network:276



Jan 04, 2018 1:04 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
First of all, there is nothing to scale if Agile is implemented as defined. The "scalation movement" was born to fix or path implementations that does not work because it was implemented without understanding what Agile really is. Is not a mistake most of the times. Is because Agile was implemented as commonly understanding: in software units. In our case, because we have to integrate some software units that is using Agile then we test all the frameworks you have mentioned. In fact, I am one of the four people five people that are components inside the council which decided about this in my actual work place. We decided to use DAD because is the most consistent and more "enterprise focused" framework. Take into account that to decide about it was a six month initiative where we test the frameworks exhaustively in theory (academic field) and practices using it all our three levels programs/projects/portfolio initiatives. The point is to understand the environment and the propose. If to scale is to use Agile in software units when you add people to the group or is to scale Agile practices to the whole organization.
Sergio, as always great comments and big insights. Big appreciation from Germany.
Network:656



Jan 04, 2018 1:47 PM
Replying to Peter Ambrosy
...
Kiron, BIG thanks for your advise. Currently I am still on grass-root team level and believe prior any scaling we need to establish higher level of team maturity with regards to Scrum. Next steps (at least on team level) appears to me Nexus.
Peter -

Sometimes its a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

There's a school of thought which says that there's no point in trying to scale agile if you can't be agile within the simplest context of a small, self-contained team. On the other hand, when working in an enterprise context, such a "sweet spot" might not exist, hence you might need to utilized a scaled agile approach to accommodate some of the constraints and compromises of such an environment.

Kiron
Network:9599



Jan 04, 2018 11:31 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Peter -

The moment you have more than a single agile team working on a product/project or you are working in an enterprise context where there are policies or standards which prevent use of pure Scrum (or XP or other basic agile methodology) then you are in a scaling situation.

Good scaling frameworks like good PM methodologies will be flexible and scalable to the needs of a given project and organization.

At the low end, you can start with a Scrum of Scrums approach, but beyond a certain level of complexity, you'll want to investigate one of the established scaling frameworks.

I prefer DAD as it provides choices both for lifecycle as well as for specific practices. SAFe is suitable if an organization is willing to fully adopt it but is more prescriptive.

Gartner has done a review of scaling agile frameworks within the last year so if you happen to work for a company which has a subscription you should be able to access that...

Kiron
That Gartner report would be good to get one's hands on.
...
1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Jan 05, 2018 7:35 AM
Kiron Bondale
...
What's unfortunate is that the various surveys/research reports published don't seem to agree on which scaling framework is most prevalent. Gartner's report gave Disciplined Agile higher marks than SAFe while Version One's annual agile survey put SAFe well ahead of all the competition.

If you purely look at it from a marketing perspective, SAFe is the clear leader, but it's rare to find organizations which have implemented SAFe fully given the complexities of even its most simple pattern.

Also, Disciplined Agile and SAFe can co-exist - you could use DA as the overall "wrapper" and have SAFe used in specific sub-portfolios/products.

Kiron
Network:3422



Thanks for knowledge sharing
Network:656



Jan 04, 2018 9:21 PM
Replying to Sante Vergini
...
That Gartner report would be good to get one's hands on.
What's unfortunate is that the various surveys/research reports published don't seem to agree on which scaling framework is most prevalent. Gartner's report gave Disciplined Agile higher marks than SAFe while Version One's annual agile survey put SAFe well ahead of all the competition.

If you purely look at it from a marketing perspective, SAFe is the clear leader, but it's rare to find organizations which have implemented SAFe fully given the complexities of even its most simple pattern.

Also, Disciplined Agile and SAFe can co-exist - you could use DA as the overall "wrapper" and have SAFe used in specific sub-portfolios/products.

Kiron
...
1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 05, 2018 8:25 AM
Sante Vergini
...
Very interesting Kiron. I didn't think of that; a DA wrapper and SAFe in subsets.
Network:9599



Jan 05, 2018 7:35 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
What's unfortunate is that the various surveys/research reports published don't seem to agree on which scaling framework is most prevalent. Gartner's report gave Disciplined Agile higher marks than SAFe while Version One's annual agile survey put SAFe well ahead of all the competition.

If you purely look at it from a marketing perspective, SAFe is the clear leader, but it's rare to find organizations which have implemented SAFe fully given the complexities of even its most simple pattern.

Also, Disciplined Agile and SAFe can co-exist - you could use DA as the overall "wrapper" and have SAFe used in specific sub-portfolios/products.

Kiron
Very interesting Kiron. I didn't think of that; a DA wrapper and SAFe in subsets.
Network:72



Peter

I have had extensive experience in Scaled methods. The one I prefer is Scrum at Scale (SAS). I have had numerous conversations with Jeff Sutherland, and SAS is more adaptive to the day to day realities of how Agile teams can coordinate better. SAFe has merits but tends to bring more administrative burden. SAS also deals with the difficulties of aligning the Executive Team and Product Owners. I would gladly send you some detail if needed. The key to all scaling is that the teams, executives and the organization is practicing "good" Agile first before you scale.

Regards
Jim Hannon
jhannon@neueon.com
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