Scaling agile

Is that the right question? What is the goal of scaling agile? Isn’t it to be agile at all levels? So, we are essentially looking at creating an agile organization.

You may say, that may be a matter to semantics. But the implications are how one would go about achieving it. As it is with most organization, they would have started small (a team or two) and then try to expand it through the organization. Now, you want it to permeate the entire organization and hence the term scaling agile.

business-adaptabilityHowever, if we do look at it from creating an agile organization perspective, we are likely to take a holistic view of the endeavor. As we continue to coach teams to be agile, we also take a close look at the value streams of the organization. This is a really important step as it will help align the organization for maximum effectiveness. This also helps organizations to truly relook at their markets, offerings and delivery.

Once the value streams have been identified, measured the organization can start looking at refining the value streams to maximize the flow through them. This is where organizations are likely to find that they are not aligned to the key activity of delivering value to their customers in an effective manner. This will be an opportunity to try out restructuring part of the organization on a particular value stream. As always, experiment in the small but one must ensure that the entire value stream is impacted. Now, you have a potential new structure which could be replicated or a template for further refinement.

We must remember culture follows structure (Conway’s law). So, it’s important to derive the structure for your organization’s context rather than use cookie cutter structure proposed by some frameworks. Since we use an holistic way to arrive at it, we have a better chance of creating that is more closely aligned to the organizations values, principles and constraints. Also, as this was done “by the people, for the people”, not only would you have greater buy in, but a greater chances of it permeating though out the organization.

You may of course need a framework that can work at enterprise level. One may emerge as part of this exercise or you may find a non prescriptive one that works for you.  Here are some  (not in any particular order) …

Here is also a matrix that contrasts some of the frameworks.



Recovering programmer, Agile software developer & coach

Posted in Agile, Lean Tagged with: , , ,

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