Scaling Scrum: choosing a framework

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Now that we have explored four different scaling frameworks, each with their own characteristics and merits, how does one choose a framework? What are the similarities? What are the key distinctions? Is it feasible to mix frameworks? This is the final installment in my series of articles about Scrum scaling.

Scaling Scrum – choosing a framework

Similarities and differences

The Scrum framework serves as the foundation for all four frameworks, and they all share many of its key concepts and objectives. Iterative and incremental development, self-organizing teams, continuous improvement, and delivering value to the client are examples of these, with an emphasis on understanding customer needs and delivering working software that fulfills those needs.

The amount of information and prescription provided by these frameworks is the fundamental distinction between them. SAFe and Scrum@Scale are more prescriptive, with well-defined roles, rituals, and artifacts, but LeSS and Nexus are lighter and more adaptable, allowing organizations to tailor the framework to their individual needs.

Another significant distinction is the approach to self-organization. Scrum@Scale promotes a network of self-organizing teams, whereas SAFe stresses a more top-down approach with a defined hierarchy of roles and responsibilities. LeSS and Nexus both place a premium on self-organization and decentralized decision-making.

Several frameworks use various methods, prioritizing either business agility or product development and delivery. SAFe and Scrum@Scale, for example, place a heavy focus on business agility, which refers to an organization’s capacity to adjust rapidly and effectively to changing market conditions, customer requirements, and other external variables. These frameworks highlight the significance of immediate feedback and ongoing improvement, as well as alignment between product development teams and the broader business strategy.

Some scaling frameworks, such as Nexus, prioritize product development and delivery. This paradigm focuses on dividing huge goods into smaller, more manageable components and delivering value to clients as soon and effectively as feasible. LeSS adopts a hybrid approach, incorporating characteristics of both business agility and product development, by stressing flexibility and adaptability and attempting to combine business goals with product development objectives.

There are additional differences in how many teams are coordinated. SAFe uses a “Program Increment” to explicitly coordinate various teams, whereas LeSS and Nexus utilize more decentralized coordination approaches. Scrum@Scale provides a framework for establishing a network of Scrum teams, with each team working autonomously but simultaneously collaborating with other teams to meet project goals.

And lastly, Scrum@Scale provides a framework for establishing a network of Scrum Masters who collaborate to coordinate the actions of numerous Scrum Teams, whereas the other frameworks do not.

Combining frameworks

Mixing scaling frameworks can assist organizations in developing a customized solution that best meets their specific objectives and situation.

Organizations can incorporate parts from several frameworks depending on their unique needs. An organization, for example, may utilize SAFe to manage overall business agility and align teams with the overarching plan, whereas Scrum@Scale is used to manage product development and coordinate the work of various Scrum teams. Organizations can also mix and match practices from several frameworks. For example, an organization may utilize SAFe to provide an overarching framework for expanding Agile development processes, but then employ Scrum@Scale’s self-organizing team methodology to empower teams to make decisions and take responsibility of their work.

The most essential reasons for combining these frameworks are to build a tailored strategy that best matches an organization’s specific objectives and circumstances, as well as to handle complex difficulties related to coordination, communication, and alignment while adhering to Agile development fundamental principles. Organizations may establish a more integrated and comprehensive approach to expanding Agile processes across multiple teams and departments by integrating frameworks.

It is crucial to remember, however, that merging frameworks can increase complexity and should be done with caution.

How to choose a framework

If your organization is going to scale Scrum and is searching for a framework, there are various questions you should ask, as well as decisions and trade-offs you must make to eventually pick the optimal framework for your needs. Here are a few major considerations:

  • What are your goals and objectives for scaling Scrum?
    • Do you want to enhance product development, boost efficiency, or align with broader corporate goals? In tackling certain aims, each framework may have various strengths and disadvantages;
  • What is the size and complexity of your organization and the project you are working on?
    • Certain frameworks may be more appropriate for larger or more complicated organizations, while others may be more appropriate for smaller or less complex initiatives;
  • What is the level of experience and expertise of your team members and stakeholders?
    • Certain frameworks may need additional training and certification, whilst others may be more accessible to less experienced teams;
  • What level of prescription and standardization do you require?
    • Some frameworks may be more prescriptive, providing a well-defined set of roles, rituals, and artifacts, whilst others may be more flexible, allowing for adaptation based on the organization’s unique needs;
  • What is your preferred approach to self-organization and decision-making?
    • Some frameworks may favor a top-down approach with a defined hierarchy of roles and duties, whilst others may encourage self-organizing teams and decentralized decision-making;
  • What is your budget and resources for training and implementation?
    • Certain frameworks may need a greater investment in terms of training and certification, whilst others may be more accessible and easier to adopt.

Ultimately, the framework (or frameworks) you choose will be determined by your organization’s specific needs and setting. By taking these aspects into account, you can make a more educated selection and select the framework that best meets your needs.

It may also be beneficial to seek the counsel and direction of professionals and consultants with expertise with various scaling frameworks who can assist you in making an educated selection.

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