Agile at Scale: Comparing the Popular Scaling Frameworks
Are your teams already enjoying the benefits of agile? Then, you’re probably wondering how to…Learn More
One of the most common pitfalls in agile expansion is having too complex of a scaling framework for immature agile teams. It’s even worse when you try to replicate other team’s strategies without assessing the probability of success within your enterprise.
Having early wins with agile at scale is important to manifest its benefits across your organization and get team buy-in. A rule of thumb is to start small and scale fast!
To give you a head start, we will introduce the two most popular scaled agile frameworks that can fit right into your business:
Self-organizing teams (i.e., scrum teams) are the building blocks of organizational agility. In that sense, scaling agile is analogous to scaling scrum.
The most straightforward technique that we’d recommend is Scrum of Scrums (SoS), which was first mentioned by Jeff Sutherland in his publication “Agile can Scale: Inventing and Reinventing Scrum in Five Companies,” released in 2001.
If your organization has multiple teams with their own product lines and sprint backlogs, managing them on the same release cycle is not easy. Scrum of Scrums shines where there are dependencies and layered features, as illustrated below.
Typically, the lead product owner will assign features to the product backlog. The individual scrum team decides which stories from the backlog to schedule for the upcoming sprint. Their development work will then be integrated into a potential shippable product that can be delivered before the end of the sprint.
Scrum of Scrums facilitates cross-team collaboration to deliver the release commitment. At the same time, each scrum team must report and resolve impediments that could delay the release schedule, specifically in areas of integration.
For instance, you are managing three teams of seven members each. Every team conducts their own daily standup. They would then designate a person to attend the SoS meeting. You will have three representatives to discuss their teams’ progress and upcoming plans (not work status). The attendees are those in the right position to provide valuable inputs for a particular development phase.
It’s important to send the right people to the meeting, instead of dedicating the task to a scrum master, to accelerate decision making and avoid information degradation. Say, you are in the initial user experience design, you wouldn’t need to involve developers yet. And when the project hits the testing phase, the meeting would then be carried out by the technical leads and testers, for example.
The goal is to lay out which tasks are dependent on the others, as well as the impact of those dependencies. As a result, teams can address potential integration pain-points before they disrupt the project delivery timeline.
Similar to a daily scrum’s agenda, get the teams to answer the following questions:
The output of each SoS meeting can be captured on a burn-up chart. Because each meeting may result in changes in the project scope, you need to visualize both the total scope and work done in the previous increments.
You can create a burn-up chart in Jira reporting. Here’s an example:
Contact us to find out more about Scrum of Scrums best practices with Atlassian solutions.
Disciplined Agile Delivery (DaD) is a hybrid between scrum and other methods, including Agile Modeling, Kanban, Lean, and SAFe. It’s designed for an end-to-end product delivery lifecycle, from project initiation, architecture, programming language, to delivering the solution to end users. Under this framework, teams can focus on all aspects of solution delivery, including the process gaps that scrum leaves out.
DaD extends the power of scrum using the following agile components:
In conclusion, DaD is the only framework that covers all the core phases: inception, construction, and transition, making it the most pragmatic scaled agile framework. Essentially, DaD assimilates the hierarchical flow that the Agile Manifesto deliberately abolished. This makes it more enterprise-ready as compared to scaling scrum. Each phase consists of associated functions and practices.
Below is a complete DaD structure:
Under this approach, DaD helps to explicitly lay out the options for teams when it comes to decision making (like choosing programing languages) while fostering a learning culture through constant experiments. And because the framework extends beyond software to all areas of the business, it orchestrates agility throughout the enterprise in the name of a shared business goal.
Unlike scrum, which would specify that you need X features to deliver a shippable function, DaD only identifies the desired functionality and expected release date. It is left up to the teams to decide what features will fulfill that goal.
For organizations with large teams and a lot of regulatory requirements, Disciplined Agile Delivery offers the perfect agile approach, since it still adheres to the organizational hierarchy and decision-making process. By applying DaD, you’re able to ensure team-level agility without disrupting the larger organizational culture.
*The latest version of the Disciplined Agile Delivery framework is called Disciplined Agile 2.0, released in August 2015.
Contact us to find out more about Disciplined Agile Delivery best practices with Atlassian solutions.