Scaling Scrum: starring roles, greater challenges

Reading time: 5 minutes

Scrum scaling necessitates a shift in the mindset of the Scrum Team as well as a few key stakeholders within the organization. This article discusses the various roles and stakeholders, as well as the general challenges they face when implementing Scrum in their organization.

Scaling Scrum: important roles

Product Owner

Scaling Scrum to larger organizations poses new challenges for the Product Owner, who is in charge of defining the product vision and prioritizing the PBIs. To begin with, more Scrum Teams means more work for the Product Owner. As the company grows, so does the Product Owner’s ability to support the various Scrum Teams and Scrum Events they attend. As does the difficulty of managing the Product Backlog. The Product Owner must ensure that the backlog is consistent with the overall product vision and that all teams are working toward the same objectives. That means there will be more Product Backlog Refinement sessions. Time management becomes more difficult.

As the number of Scrum Teams grows, so does the risk of inconsistencies (in product quality). The Product Owner is responsible for ensuring that product quality and consistency are maintained across all teams.

Developers

When an organization scales Scrum, developers face unique challenges because they are responsible for delivering product increments on time and in high quality. Multiple teams may be working on different parts of the same product when scaling Scrum. Developers must coordinate and collaborate with other teams to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals and that no overlaps or conflicts exist. The number of dependencies between project teams grows as the number of teams involved grows. Developers must manage these dependencies to ensure that each team has the necessary information and resources to succeed.

As the project’s complexity grows, developers must maintain their technical excellence to ensure that the quality of the code produced remains high. They must ensure that all teams adhere to best practices and that the code quality is consistent across all teams. Continuous integration and delivery¬†are also required for scaling Scrum. Developers must ensure that these practices are used effectively by all teams and that they are integrated into the overall development process.

But who coordinates and supervises issues like new technology, technical excellence, technical debt, and CI? Enter the Lead Developer.

Lead Developer

The Lead Developer is an important stakeholder and their role in scaling Scrum is to provide technical leadership. The Lead Developer is responsible for ensuring that the work of the teams is effectively integrated and that there are consistent standards and practices across teams.

The Lead Developer faces unique challenges when an organization is scaling Scrum because they are responsible for leading the technical team in implementing the Scrum framework. Technology is always changing, and the Lead Developer must keep up with the latest developments to ensure that the technical solutions being developed are effective and efficient. Maintaining the same level of technical excellence across all teams can be difficult as the number of teams and individuals involved in the project grows. The Lead Developer must ensure that all teams adhere to best practices and that the code produced is of high quality.

Technical debt refers to the accumulation of technical issues that must be addressed at some point in the future. The technical debt grows in proportion to the number of teams involved in a project. The Lead Developer must ensure that technical debt is effectively managed across all teams and does not jeopardize the project’s success. The Lead Developer must collaborate closely with the Product Owner in this regard.

When scaling Scrum, technical solutions must be scalable to accommodate the increased number of project teams and individuals. The Lead Developer must ensure that the technical solutions being developed are capable of handling the increased workload and that they can be easily scaled as needed. Continuous integration and delivery are also required for Scrum to scale. The Lead Developer must ensure that these practices are used effectively by all teams and that they are integrated into the overall development process.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master’s role in scaling Scrum is to ensure that Scrum practices are consistently applied across multiple teams and that there is a consistent, cohesive approach to product development. The Scrum Master assists teams in overcoming obstacles and facilitates team communication and collaboration.

Scaling Scrum to larger organizations presents the Scrum Master with a unique set of challenges. When scaling Scrum, it can be difficult to maintain an agile mindset. The Scrum Master must ensure that all team members are focused on delivering value, that they are open to change, and that their processes are constantly improved. It is critical to ensure that all teams and individuals within the organization use the same processes and terminology when scaling Scrum.

The Scrum Master must ensure that all teams are consistent and that everyone is adhering to the Scrum principles. Scrum relies heavily on effective communication and collaboration. The Scrum Master must ensure that all teams are effectively collaborating, that communication channels are open, that information is shared in a timely manner, and that all team members are aware of progress.

The number of dependencies between project teams grows as the number of teams involved grows. Dependencies have a high likelihood of becoming impediments. The Scrum Master must manage and minimize these dependencies to ensure that each team has the necessary information and resources to succeed.

When scaling teams, you must also reconsider the number of Scrum Masters involved. Time management becomes more difficult as teams grow in size. Make an informed decision about when to add a new Scrum Master to your teams.

(Agile) leadership

When an organization scales Scrum, the leadership faces new challenges because they are in charge of guiding and supporting the teams.

It can be difficult to manage resources effectively when multiple teams are involved in a project. Management must ensure that resources are appropriately allocated and that everyone has the information and tools they need to succeed. As the number of teams involved in a project grows, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is on the same page with the overall goals. The leadership must ensure that all teams are working toward the same goals by creating and disseminating vision. Working on a product and company vision, and ensuring that everyone understands it, is a top priority.

When scaling Scrum, the organization will go through significant changes, which must be managed effectively by leadership. They must ensure that everyone is aware of the changes and that they receive assistance in adapting to the new processes. Continuous improvement is a core principle of Scrum, and leadership must foster this culture throughout the organization. They must ensure that all employees are constantly learning, adapting, and improving their processes.

In order to address these challenges, agile leadership skills are required. An agile leader must be able to effectively communicate, facilitate collaboration, empower teams, adapt to change, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.