LeSS before Scrum - adopting Scrum in large-scale organization

This is a session I planned to give in LeSS meetup in Apri, Agile 2020 in July, LeSS 2020 in Sept., but could not make any of them due to the COVID-19. Next attempt will be LeSS meetup in Sept. Thought that the ideas might be useful, thus, put the outline in this blog.

Title

LeSS before Scrum - adopting Scrum in large-scale organization

Abstract

Instead of starting from one-team Scrum then spreading, we explore a different organization-first approach to adopt Scrum in large-scale product development.

First, you will hear an experience of "LeSS without Scrum", i.e. doing LeSS organizational design - feature team and one product backlog - but not yet introducing ScrumMaster, rather keeping Team Leader. It was done due to the organizational constraint, but surprisingly, self-organization emerged out of it, and the team leaders transformed. This experience then inspires more experiments on progressing the role of Team Leader while team matures. What is on earth the role of Team Leader, especially in the context of self-directed work team? How does it differ from ScrumMaster?

Then, we shall present an emergent approach of adopting Scrum in large-scale organization, which is developed based on those experience and further experiments. Start from the whole product; next create feature teams; then increase the degree of self-organization for those feature teams, as well as have more feature teams share the same product backlog. Eventually, Scrum emerges on one product with multiple teams, and further towards a learning organization.

Thumbnail image for LeSS before Scrum.png

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand why organization-first approach rather than team-first approach in adopting Scrum in large-scale organization
  • Ideas to experiment on adopting Scrum in large-scale organization: feature team with Team Leader; one product backlog shared by multiple feature teams; progressing the role of Team Leader to the role of ScrumMaster
  • An evolution path on adopting Scrum in large-scale organization: whole product -> feature team -> one product backlog | self-organizing team -> learning organization

More Details

The talk consists five parts.

  1. Introduction (10 min.)

The essence of Scrum is 1) empirical process control and 2) self-organizing team; while the essence of LeSS is 1) scaling Scrum on one product with multiple teams, and 2)  achieving more with LeSS via organizational (re)design. Organizational design is a first-order factor in large-scale organization, and LeSS organizational design enables Scrum.

  1. LeSS without Scrum (15 min.)

During 2015-2016, I had an experience of adopting LeSS without Scrum - adopting LeSS organizational design without mandating self-organizing team and introducing the role of ScrumMaster, rather keeping the role of Team Leader. I presented the experience report in Agile Conference 2017, and see the details from here. I will recap the main part in this talk.

  1. Self-directed work team (15 min.)

The above experience made me dig deep into the role of team leader in the context of self-directed work team. See the book "Leading self-directed work teams".

This has shifted my focus in large-scale Scrum adoption, from immediately introducing SM role to developing TL role into working with self-organizing feature team, eventually turning it into a complete coaching role - ScrumMaster.

  1. LeSS before Scrum (25 min.)

Based on those experiments, we develop an approach of adopting Scrum in large-scale organization.

    • "start from the whole product", get the transparency at the product level by creating one product backlog (for transparency, not for adaptiveness yet) and doing (at least) daily product builds
    • "next create feature team", create feature teams, and increase the number over time. Feature team is not feature group. Feature team shortens the e2e cycle time, and is enabled by multi-learning on functions and components.
    • "then one product backlog", have more feature teams share the same product backlog, ultimately one product backlog for the whole product. One product backlog improves the adaptiveness, and is enabled by multi-learning on customer domains.
    • "then increase the degree of self-organization", turn feature team into self-organizing feature team. While team matures, team leader role progresses from trainer & teacher to coach & facilitator, eventually ScrumMaster role
  1. Conclusion (10 min.)

What is the final step? Towards learning organization. Feature teams and the whole organization practice the five disciplines (personal mastery, shared vision, mental models, team learning and systems thinking), continuously learning and improving.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lv Yi published on July 16, 2020 4:37 PM.

Manager as Scrum Master was the previous entry in this blog.

Systems Thinking Primer is the next entry in this blog.

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