I recently held a meet-up to discuss about the challenges on Scaling Agile and what options we have to overcome these challenges. There was a wide range of Agile experience in the forum – from beginners to highly experienced Agile folks. It’s always good to have fresh legs as well as some grey hair in such forums. 🙂

The primary agenda of the discussion was the 12 principles of Agile Manifesto, and how these are scalable. First half of the meet-up went for understanding the principles. Some of them really needed a debate which happened. It was great to find the participants ‘grill’ the Agile principles and at the end, reach a crisp and clear understanding.

It was important to get clarity on what they really understood by ‘Scaling’. We got different perspectives:

  1. Large, very Large team size
  2. Team members located all around the world (multi-locations)
  3. Team having multiple hierarchy levels of roles and functions
  4. Work involving multi-technology

The group of people discussed and realized that the major challenges faced while implementing Agile in either of the above mentioned ‘scaling’ scenarios are:

  1. Alignment between the teams and sub-teams. How to make all teams work towards the same goal, in a rhythm and are in sync.
  2. Coordination between the teams (resolving dependencies between the smaller teams).
  3. How to have a decision making framework in place.
  4. Last but not the least, how to integrate teams’ work products (working software)

After a detailed brainstorming, the ‘team’ was unanimous in the conclusion that all Agile principles were very much applicable in scaled environment – whether as-is or with slightly different interpretation.

We concluded the meet-up with a detailed look at the SAFe 3.0 Big Picture, discussing about the critical aspects of SAFe framework, and how SAFe helps in overcoming the challenges faced while scaling Agile.

In all, a great meet-up on discussing Agile.

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