Agile Scaling: Best Practices

06 October5 min read
Agile Scaling: Best Practices

Quick Brief:

Agile is rooted in many organizations by software development teams who want to provide the client with more value quickly. While this is a fantastic beginning, expanding Agile—allowing teams throughout the organization to utilize Agile concepts and methodologies to improve the goods or services provided to end users—is what leads to real organizational change. This blog helps you understand the best practice for Agile Scaling. 

What is Agile Scaling?

Scaling Agile is the process of applying well-known Agile techniques, such as Scrum and Kanban, to bigger teams of people. The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) states that traditional Agile teams function best in groups of five to eleven people. 

Companies frequently wish to duplicate success at a bigger team, department, or organizational level as they observe it in these small groups. Agile scaling can help with this. 

Applying conventional Agile concepts to a bigger group of people is not as straightforward as scaling Agile. As firms develop initiatives that employ Agile procedures, the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University highlighted eight characteristics that should be taken into account while scaling Agile: Team size, role specialization, length of iterations, synchronized cadence, the definition of releases, batch size, product owner role, and user role. 

Agile can be scaled successfully thanks to each of these elements, but doing it "correctly" is difficult. Because of this, many businesses employ a scaled Agile framework to direct their operations. 

What are Scaling Agile frameworks: the details

SAFe: A database of knowledge, integrated concepts, practices, and capabilities for achieving business success utilizing Lean, Agile, and DevOps," according to the Scaled Agile Framework. A well-known strategy for scaling Agile is SAFe, which incorporates planning at the team, program, and portfolio levels. 

The Release Train Engineer (RTE) position and the Agile Release Train (ART) concept, which organizes work among teams of 50–125 people, were both introduced by the framework. SAFe mandates constant two- and ten-week iterations, which can be beneficial for enterprises with a more established Agile practice but might be challenging for businesses that are just getting started with the methodology. 

Disciplined Agile (DA): According to the DA website, disciplined agile is "a tool kit that harnesses hundreds of Agile principles to help you choose the optimum working style. It is more adaptable than other scaled Agile frameworks because it places a strong emphasis on team responsibilities and a goal-driven methodology. 

Large Scale Scrum: The phrase "How to Apply the Principles, Purpose, Elements, and Elegance of Scrum in a Large-Scale Context, as Simply as Possible" sums up the approach used by Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), which addresses the issue of scaling Agile via the special lens of the Scrum. 

LeSS promotes simplicity over rigidly defined processes, minimizes the role of management, and employs teams as its fundamental building blocks. For firms who already employ scrum techniques and wish to scale Agile in a way that is both efficient and reliable, LeSS is acknowledged as an effective approach. 

Scrum@Scale: This "is a lightweight, adaptive scaling framework. It is also known for minimum viable bureaucracy' via a scale-free architecture and for empowering every Scrum team member. Scrum at Scale adheres to basic principles such as working in teams of five, emphasizing linear scalability, and speeding up decision-making within an organization. Scrum at Scale unifies the efforts of numerous teams throughout the enterprise by combining the Scrum Master Cycle with the Product Owner Cycle. 

4 Proven Solutions for Scaling Agile in the Enterprise

1. Begin with an MVP

A software development technique called Continuous Delivery (CD) aims to give clients high-quality, usable software. A minimum viable product (MVP) release strategy is crucial for gathering early feedback and monitoring usage trends to verify hypotheses. When working with big software teams, an MVP will prevent wasted engineering time and maintain features like gold plating. 

2. Establish a Solitary Product Backlog

Before you release code, a list of tasks on an agile product backlog must be completed. One group backlog should be kept for all teams by product managers. Focusing on high-priority work while allowing all contributors access at all times is made possible by having a single queue. This avoids misunderstandings and fosters teamwork in the project environment. 

3. Create a Culture of Co-operation

Consider holding "three amigos" meetings with the product owner, a developer, and a tester to review requirements and test feature requests on the backlog in order to improve agile teamwork. The business need is expressed by the product owner, the implementation is described by the programmer, and possible issues are taken into account by the tester. This fosters diversity of thought while achieving group consensus on the project's progress. 

4. Employ a Comprehensive Agile Framework

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD), and Large-Scale Scrum are the three main frameworks utilized by large businesses (LeSS). These are perfect for small, growing firms since they offer supervised, multi-level training and certifications. Another well-liked methodology is Scrum of Scrums (SoS), which accepts informal training. (For a comparison of various agile scaling strategies, see Richard Dolman and Steve Spearman's comparative matrix.) 

To Sum Up

Scaling agile is not a simple, fixed procedure. There is no scaling model that fits your company perfectly out of the box, regardless of the one you choose to adopt. Agile scaling requires effort and commitment. Every employee in the organization makes a contribution to the shift, both individually and collectively as a team. The journey is longer the larger the company. In order to reach the desired degree of perfection, it needs time, patience, and constant, committed effort. Agile scaling is, in this regard, a very unique experience for each organization.