Scaling Scrum: an introduction

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When an organization has multiple Scrum Teams working on a large-scale project or multiple interdependent projects, scaling Scrum may be necessary. The goal of scaling Scrum is to ensure that the work of multiple teams is coordinated and that product development is consistent and cohesive. Scrum was originally intended for small teams, but as larger organizations have embraced Scrum, there has been a demand for frameworks that can support the coordination of multiple Scrum teams. Scaling Scrum allows organizations to keep the Agile principles and values that make Scrum so effective while addressing the challenges of coordinating the efforts of multiple teams.

Scaling Scrum - an introduction

My quest

Scaling is still a relatively new concept for me. I’d heard some other Scrum Masters discuss some of the frameworks they’d been using, and their language was quite foreign to me. After joining a company with several Scrum Teams working on an ecosystem of products, the need for scaling became clear. The management team has expressed a desire to expand. More teams equals more potential for complication. As a Scrum Master, it is my responsibility to help reduce this complexity, which is why I am interested in this topic professionally.

This May, I will attend a Scaled Professional Scrum™ with Nexus training (and will, naturally, persue certification). Some basic knowledge of scaling and frameworks may be useful in developing a mental model.

In the coming weeks, I will devote a series of articles to Scrum scaling. Why is scaling required? Who is involved in scaling? What’s the distinction between the various scaling frameworks? All of this will be covered in this series.

When should you scale?

Scrum scaling may be appropriate when an organization:

  • has multiple teams working on a single project or multiple interdependent projects;
  • desires to maintain the Agile principles and values that make Scrum effective;
  • desires to ensure that the work of multiple teams is coordinated and that there is a consistent, cohesive approach to development;
  • desires to avoid silos and ensure that teams work effectively together;
  • desires to improve communication and collaboration between teams (which is critical for large-scale projects).

What are the frameworks?

There are several frameworks, including a few obscure ones tailored to a specific market. After some thought, I’ve decided to concentrate on the four most-discussed frameworks:

  • Nexus
  • The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
  • Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)
  • Scaling@Scrum (S@S)

In the following article in this series, I’ll discuss the various important roles – and the challenges that come with them – in scaling.