How to select the right Scaling agile methodology for your organization? How do SAFe, DAD, LeSS, and Scrum of Scrums differ from each other? Do some of them fit certain industries or sizes of organizations better than others? How popular are they?
Is plain Scrum not enough? In large organizations, a gap is emerging between the teams doing the work and the finance manager who allocates the funding. To stay aligned, organizations are transforming from Scrum to the Scaling Agile, 2nd generation frameworks.
SAFe, LeSS, DAD, and Nexus are all agile at scale PM frameworks. We see them overtaking the market in the current decade. Implementing a scaling agile framework is an effort for the entire organization.
Scaling agile frameworks do not contradict proven agile methods, such as Scrum, Kanban, XP, or Cristal. The center of gravity only shifts from the product development good practices to the coordination of efforts across the company.
First, let’s look closer at how the scaling frameworks are different from the team-level, agile methods.
Table 1. First vs. second-generation methods
When choosing a Scaling methodology for your organization we recommend the following steps:
Another factor is the number of certified practitioners. Is there a certified consultant available in your city or country? The more of them, the more proven a methodology is. Is there at least one certified person in any country in the world? – is a good question to ask yourself. SAFe shines here, so we marked it ‘Fairly mature’ in the third row of table 2.
Table 2. Similarities and differences in leading Scaled Agile methodologies
An effort was made to gather accurate data. Data current at the time of writing. Help improve the table – e-mail marketing (a) softwareplant.com.
Scrum@Scale – Jeff Sutherland and Scrum Alliance, 2017
Spotify model – a culture-centric approach to scaling agile
LeadingAgile – transformation roadmap rather than implementing abstract models and rules, Mike Cottmeyer, 2010
Lesser-known: Agile Portfolio Management, Enterprise Scrum, FAST Agile, Lean Management, Recipes for Agile Governance (RAGE), SCARE, Scrum Lean in Motion (Slim), Team of Teams.
Once we dig past “scale” to the real problem your company is most interested in solving right now, then one of these solutions might make more sense than the others. Note the especially important “How adaptable…” criterion in table 2.
Truth be told, there’s no right way to scale agile. Nevertheless, let’s try:
For this comparison to be complete, we can’t skip those who question scaling agile frameworks altogether.
Leadership is frustrated because through middle management down to teams don’t seem to be getting traction on the goals/KPIs they want (alignment). They typically introduce more controls, more detailed processes and more measures (frameworks) that typically result in the exact opposite – Matt Barcomb
(With a scaling methodology having been implemented) what are some experiments your people will do at different levels in the organization to make a small improvement? Alistair Cockburn
Adding manpower to a late software project often makes it later. Brooks’ Law from The Mythical Man-Month book
Author: Marcin Gebicz
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