Why Agile Doesn't Scale

33cfb4d051a768c06f7fb380c7c2abe3?s=47 Dan North
October 10, 2013

Why Agile Doesn't Scale

There is a world of difference between running multiple agile teams and becoming a truly agile organisation. Agile methods make the simplifying assumption that a single team can deliver a solution and a single person — a Product Owner or Customer — can provide governance, steering and product decisions. A large programme of work isn't like that. You have strategic business, technical and organisational objectives, complex dependencies, hard constraints, externally-controlled deadlines and a sheer volume of work that doesn't fit into a team-sized pot.

Over the last few years various methods have been emerging to attempt to apply agile principles to enterprise-scaled delivery. Some are obviously snake oil, but even the well-intentioned ones may be missing the point. To scale delivery you can’t just do the same-but-bigger (“program backlog”, “scrum of scrums”) or apply redundant adjectives to existing methods (“Disciplined Agile”, “Reliable Scrum”). You need to take a fresh look from the top down, and apply Lean Operations and Systems Thinking principles to define and coordinate the work across multiple workstreams in a delivery portfolio.

This session introduces the idea of business impact, and defines successful software delivery in terms of the lead time to making an impact. From this basis we may be able to derive guiding principles that allow repeatable, successful delivery at scale.

33cfb4d051a768c06f7fb380c7c2abe3?s=128

Dan North

October 10, 2013
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