Scrum is a very popular Agile Framework, but "out of the box" it is restricted to a single, co-located, Team working on a Single Product. Most situations are more complicated than that: multiple locations, multiple Products, multiple Teams, and so on. I will introduce a few patterns (Well-Formed Team, Program Team, Workgroup, ...) and show how they can be combined, using a few simple principles, to work in some quite complicated situations. I will also show how the two most popular scaling frameworks (SAFe and LeSS) can each be explained and improved by using these patterns.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

This talk will take the form of an elaboration, showing how, as problems get more complicated, the patterns come in to 'save the day'…

  1. I'll start with the basic Scrum Team – what I call the “Five People in a Garage” Scrum Team – a single Well-Formed-Team (self-organized, self-contained, and value-driven) with a single Backlog and a Product Owner who spends “half” his/her time with Stakeholders in order to determine what should be delivered, and “half” his/her time with the Scrum Team to help them implement. This is the basic pattern described and recommended by Jeff Sutherland.
  2. When the Product Owner gets too “stretched” out to be able to handle both these jobs (perhaps through scaling something), the PO “splits” in two, and a Business Owner is installed with the Stakeholders to go along with the PO, who is still on the Scrum Team (the current location of the PO, according to the Scrum Guide).
  3. If the work coming in is actually a Project, then the Business Owner is actually the Project Leader  who is also maintaining a Project Plan
  4. This realization that there can be two types of Product Owners (one with the Stakeholders, and one with the Team) is what leads us to having the tools we need to Scale using Scrum…

Scaling (in general) means that there is a many-to-many relationship between Teams and Backlogs (Project or Product or whatever). This leads to:

  1. Distribution Team, a Scrum Team that splits a Backlog into pieces to be given to multiple Teams (the 1-n relationship)
  2. Can now discuss LeSS, as it is simply an instance of Distribution Teams
  3. Consolidation Team, that combines multiple backlogs into a single backlog to give to the Team (the n-1 relationship)
  4. Program Team, that actually handles the n-n relationship
  5. Other patterns, such as the Integration and Evaluation Team and Crosscutting Workgroups
  6. At this point, I have enough patterns to discuss SAFe…
  7. Finally, Q&A

Along the way I am introducing principles:

  • Don't overload decision-makers
  • Don't let anybody be on more than two Teams. Note that many Team Members on the coordination teams are virtual, and also members of other Teams. This leads to large-scale self-organization
  • you need a safe environment for Agility to work
  • Meaningful Feedback is the key, and Visibility is crucial
  • The framework/patterns give you the ability to be agile, but you must be mentally agile to actually make it work (this is the hard part, BTW)
  • processes/frameworks/practices don't make decisions, people do
  • make decisions at the latest responsible moment, at the lowest knowledgeable level

I hope to have multiple times during the lecture when I stop and ask for questions, as well as 10 minutes at the end.

Learning Outcome

This course is for those intending to use Scrum in large, complicated, environments. Attendees will:

  • Understand the basic patterns encapsulated in Scrum itself
  • Understand that Program and Project Management can be done with Scrum, but outside the Development Scrum Teams
  • Understand that there are two basic problems with scaling:
    • the fundamental many-to-many relationship between Products/Projects and Teams
    • the fact that becoming large brings its own problems
  • See How an Organization can use “Program Scrum Teams” to manage the many-to-many relationship
  • Gain familiarity with other Patterns such as the "Integration and Evaluation Team", "Management Team", "Cross-Cutting Workgroups", "Community of Practice", and so on...See how LeSS and SAFe can be seen as instances of using the introduced patterns

Target Audience

ScrumMasters, Product Owners, Managers

schedule Submitted 6 years ago