Agile development is no longer the new, shiny thing anymore. Even though this concept is still new to many organizations, you may be surprised to hear that it’s been around for almost 20 years, if we use the 2001 Agile Manifesto as the formal introduction of Agile principles to the modern world.
So what’s considered “new” in the domain of Agile? Scaling seems to be an area of focus in recent years within the world of Agile. What is “scaling” and why should we care?
Attribute 1 – Multiple teams
If you have a single Scrum team, you should be able to build a valuable product or solution, assuming you have a high-performing team that understands how to work effectively within this paradigm. However, it is also likely that this product or solution is on the lower end of the complexity spectrum; which is one reason that many companies explore scaling to enable multiple teams to work together towards a common outcome.
Attribute 2 – Many approaches to choose from
There are several different techniques that you can use to scale Agile for your organization. Most of these are very similar, but also very different in their own ways. The most popular framework for scaling Agile in the market today is SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) which provides a multi-tier approach to expanding your team from one to several.
Other frameworks such as LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) and Scrum@Scale are less popular but are growing in adoption due their relative simplicity as compared to SAFe, which is often criticized for being too prescription and rigid.
Attribute 3 – Consult an expert before you invest too much time and money
Applying scaling techniques for a 50-person project is very different from a 500-person project. There are many ways you can acquire the necessary knowledge to scale effectively, but leveraging someone who has been through this journey will significantly improve your chances of success and likely minimize loss productivity.
In summary, scaling Agile is not an easy initiative to execute successfully; it is a journey that requires persistence and commitment. Do your homework, get trained, and get some help sooner rather than later!