Scaling Without a Framework, or Why Not to Use a Scaling Framework
Uniformity and Agility are at odds. You need regular delivery, predictable quality, reasonable forecasts, and optimized outcomes, not standardized process and innovation-stifling conformance.
This presentation will present a strategy for scaling Agile in a manner that allows for local autonomy and varying rates of progress while providing for organizational visibility and delivery. At the same time, we will take a critical look at some of the features of existing scaling frameworks that may not fit your context or goals and that even violate the originating principles on which they build.
Along the way, we'll talk about
- The relationship between organizational, software, and product structure as expressed in Conway's Law and how that affects your scaling strategy
- How to guide your organizational design by the proven philosophy of "centralized coordination, distributed decision-making"
- How to separate what the organization requires of a team from what should be left to their own autonomy and maturity, resulting in a minimum performance contract for teams
- Approaches to estimation and forecasting that don't require standardized techniques in and across teams
Outline/Structure of the Talk
The following details one order of presentation and captures the essential content.
- The Goal of Scaling
- Agility Goals
- Individuals and interactions over process and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
- Empowered teams
- Self-paced growth and maturity
- Organizational Goals
- Business outcomes
- Governing Principles
- Conway’s Law
- What is it?
- What does it mean for scaling?
- An illogical extension of neuroscience
- Disrupting it
- Military structure
- Centralized coordination, distributed decision making
- Enabling factors
- Standards of performance
- Clear lines of communication
- Flow of value
- Problems with Scaling Frameworks
- The more rules you create, the more you have to manage and enforce and the less room for autonomy
- The limits of Scrum, especially as a building block
- You need to move away from the monolith
- Normalized story points miss the point
- A Scaling Non-Framework
- The Team Contract
- Getting work to the team
- Minimum standards of execution
- Technical practices
- Continuous improvement
- Continuous integration
- Minimum DoD
- Required output
- Working software
- Quality requirements
- Lines of communication
- Culture of responsibility
- Formulating your organizational transformation goals
- The relationship between your organizational structure, your architecture, and your agility
- Critical evaluation of scaling frameworks against your goals
- Alternatives to formal scaling frameworks that allow for greater autonomy without sacrificing governance
Agile coaches and executives interested in applying Agile at scale and interested in alternatives to the established scaling frameworks.