When your teams adopt an Agile Mindset and become good at Scrum or Kanban, you may start hearing about difficulties your teams have coordinating dependencies and delivering a working product. This discovery leads you to the potential of Scaling Frameworks. How will you know when the time is right for your company to implement a Scaling Framework? You can keep an eye out for some of the following signs to help determine if you should begin a Scaled Agile transformation.
Warning: DO NOT SCALE IF YOU DON’T NEED TO.
I know this warning might shoot me in the foot as an Agile Coach and Scrum@Scale Trainer, but please read that again: Do not scale if you don’t need to. Scale is complicated, expensive, disruptive, and may slow down delivery. Often when an organization thinks they need to scale, they need to de-scale. They need to go back to the basics-create dedicated self-management and cross-functional teams. Aggressively remove dependencies. Give teams the power to use Product Thinking to drive the product’s outcomes. Please continue reading if you still need to scale after doing all these things.
Signs you may need to begin a Scaled Agile Transformation:
A strong signal that it is time to Scale is when you notice that various teams across your organization are duplicating efforts to accomplish their goals. Each team looks inward for solutions instead of interfacing with other teams to see if they already have a solution that might work.
You might notice common functionality across teams, like “logging out” or “account management,” which is implemented differently from team to team. Different groups might also build similar APIs to accomplish similar purposes — like managing user data or incoming communication requests. When this happens, it can be challenging to narrow down to one process across the entire company.
Misaligned Priorities and Interdependent Teams:
If your current process has teams waiting on one another to complete their deliverables, this is a big sign it is time to Scale. Teams slow down their progress when this happens, leading to missed commitments. Better engineering practices such as increased automation (automated testing, TDD, CI/CD, DevOps, etc.) may help but often do not address the underlining issues. Misaligned team priorities are the true culprit.
Incohesive Working Products:
When a product lacks a consistent customer experience or doesn’t feel cohesive – this is a good sign that it might need to scale. When your product is not cohesive, this can cause multiple problems:
- It is confusing for customers to navigate the product and find the services they need.
- It is difficult for teams to maintain the underlying applications and add new functionality.
Some things that may cause this are that common standards are not enforced or teams are focused on outputs rather than outcomes. When teams aren’t working in a scaled framework, minor differences like this make a big difference in producing an effective and cohesive product that stands above the rest.
Previous Efforts are Not Working:
If you have noticed the above and any other issues regarding the processes among the teams, you have probably already tried some alternative problem-solving solutions that have come up short. If you’ve tried other alternatives to increasing the effectiveness of your teams and have seen little benefit, it’s time to consider scaling. You may have reached a point of diminishing returns, where significant effort at the team level leads to minimal improvement. Improvements at the individual team level can only go so far before they begin to create local optimizations that slow the overall rate of delivery. When that happens, you should consider scaling to bring Agile system thinking techniques to a higher level.
Scale Your Agile Systems Effectively with One80
When you know it is time to start scaling your Agile framework to work better for you and your organization, One80 offers a full suite of training classes on the use and implementation of the Scrum Framework. We would love to help you implement this system into your company’s practices. Contact us to schedule a free training consultation.