Scaling Scrum

Scrum is a wonderful framework to manage projects. It is usually talked about in terms of a single project team and how to manage product and sprint backlog for the team. But most of the times, a team will not exist in isolation. It is part of a bigger structure, and mostly the product is being developed by multiple teams who are focusing on different aspects.

Hence, it is important to understand how the Scrum framework should scale to accommodate bigger teams and projects. Here are a few techniques to scale scrum

Scrum of Scrums: This is a very basic practice to manage multiple teams following the Scrum framework. Each team sends a representative to a daily Scrum of Scrums exercise, where each representative will talk about the health of his project. This practice helps everyone to have a bigger picture, manage dependencies, call out blockers and everyone is on the same page as to when and how the next release of the product is taking shape.

Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe: SAFe is an extension of the Scrum framework for managing bigger projects. It introduces the concept of following additional teams and members

    System teams – Dev ops people shared across teams and responsible for deployments- CI and CD are created at project and product level.
    Architecture Teams- Architects that own the design for the overall system and each project team. It is important that everyone in this team understand the overall design and dependencies on other components.
    Product Managers – manages a team of product owners for different teams.
    Release Train Engineers- Scrum masters form the team of Release train engineers and manage the overall release process.

ART or Agile Release Train clubs different aspects which are dependent and can be released together.

Disciplined Agile Delivery or DAD: Disciplined Agile Delivery is the response to the teams which claim to not care about some of the core best practices in the name of Agile. If you have been part of Agile teams, you might have heard people saying that we don’t spend time on design and documentation as we are following Agile. This can cause issues especially with large projects where multiple teams are dependent on each other.

To handle the situation, an induction phase is added at the start of the project. During this phase many important things happen to help scale, like designing the solution, POCs are done, high-level architectures are created and shared across teams, release planning and roadmaps are established. After this, the normal Scrum process is followed.