The Biggest Question when Scaling Agile 

By Michael Küsters

This article was first published on Fail Fast Move On on November 17, 2016
Pretty much every large company states, “We need an agile scaling framework”.
I do agree that when 50+ developers need to collaborate, then a scaling framework provides massive benefits. There is one question left unanswered. One unspoken, unchallenged assumption looms like a specter over every scaling approach. Before asking this question, I will list out the reasons why it needs to be answered.


Are you asking the right question?

Creating Complex Products

A complex system has, by definition, a fairly high complexity. A common assumption is that Divide+Conquer (D+C) is a good way to approach complex problems: Split one big problem into many smaller problems, distribute these and bring the solution back together. Sounds promising.
A Scaling framework can then be used to maximize the effectiveness of the D+C approach.

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Agnostic Agile from the Trenches

Agnostic Agile from the Trenches – 3. Managers and Team Retrospectives

By Shaaron A Alvares & Adrian Lander

 

Preamble: We believe that everybody can be a leader. Leadership is not a title, nor the prerogative of executives or management only, instead everybody across an organization is a leader, individual team members included. For the purpose of this article, that focuses on roles interaction in agile, we named various roles, team member, manager, leader, but we understand that they all can be leaders.

 

As I introduced agile or improved agile delivery in various groups in Seattle, I had the opportunity to work with some of the best agile leaders and champions: David Smith and Ashish Suryavanshi at Microsoft, Fernando Cuadra at Expedia, Sally Bauer at BECU, and Thomas McGee at T-Mobile to name a few. They understood agile and its benefits well and lived by the agile values and mindset, which is particularly difficult to do when, as line managers of a large group, they are responsible for their teams’ success and setbacks. They took any opportunity they had to foster the agile mindset, sometimes at the detriment of their relationship capital or at the cost of their career aspiration and stability. These agile leaders shared common traits and common beliefs. As an example, they were very adamant about not inviting managers to attend team retrospectives and if managers crashed retrospectives uninvited, they instructed their scrum masters with the following: “Text my cell phone 911 and the room number where you are and I will come right away”, “Ask them to leave, you have my support”, “let me know if that happens and I will address it”. In some organizations, T-Mobile was one of them, we created a log, confidential to the agile coaching crew only, where we captured manager incidents in order to address these with the appropriate level of support and coaching.

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