Scaling Agile

Benefits of being agile are very clear:

  • We are more productive: By focussing on delivering small chunks of working product in short time-boxes (typical 2-3 week development sprints) we always have visible deadlines and view of actual progress.
  • We attain better quality product: With shorter feedback cycles; and stakeholder review every 2-3 weeks the end product being cooked has better quality and is nearly bug free.
  • We are faster: By continually delivering we are able to show real users and our stakeholders working code very early on and get their feedback. ROI is orderly and we reach where our client wants to be fast

These characteristics are true of all agile projects, but I wanted to talk about agile scaling to 140 – 150 people and 8-12 teams and what I’ve learnt. 

  • Agile Leaders: A working culture that values its people and embraces experimentation is essential for success. They need to offer new style of teaching by empowering and engaging teams so as they reach their highest potential.
  • Need for Speed: From team of 7-9 people to 140 people in few months is crazy growth but is necessary, due to scope of work. The energy, the enthusiasm needed for that speed can come when we keep things “SIMPLE”
  • The Kidney: If teams be it 7-9 people or 140 people have skill or communication gaps productivity is going to suffer!! Have a structured teams, find the right kidney and then just ensure interchangeable group of 10 communicate with each other .. remember now we are one big A 🙂
  • Metrics: Tracking epics, user stories, we should generate verifiable data about progress, scope completeness and forecasts of delivery dates. By aggregating this data we created a programme dashboard for teams and senior management.
  • Use KANBAN, it helps: It provides additional mechanisms for tracking dependencies, limited work in progress and increase focus on throughput. I would also recommend Portfolio Management team to help manage these big boards.
  • Be Agile: Don’t forget Agile Manifesto, what you learnt their is still useful.Remember when things get tough and you want to go back to old ways, go more agile.

This for me are simple successful ways to scale agile.. Please do let me know if you think I missed something or there is a disconnect