“You have to prove you can do it, and you can do it well,” he said. “Build success gradually; don’t transform the whole organization. Instead, transform one team at a time successfully, and through the retrospective and refinement process, analyze what are the best options for the organization.”
Don’t expect those options to be a silver bullet. According to Caleb Brown, agile coach for CollabNet, one of the biggest reasons organizations don’t succeed with enterprise Scrum is because they expect it to be a magical process that makes all their problems disappear. “It works because it’s a very disciplined way to approach work so that you can better identify and attempt to fix issues and improve how you work because failure is no longer so expensive,” he said.
And since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to scaling Scrum, it takes an understanding of a business’ unique system to decide where to start with its transformation. “Software development is an inherently complex and highly variable domain,” said Larman. “There isn’t any system or framework that’s going to magically make it easy.”
Instead of trying to take a pure Scrum approach, organizations should adopt hybrid techniques, according to LeanKit’s Terry. “Scaling up agility can’t just be scaling up Scrum. It will necessarily be a hybrid of Scrum, Kanban, DevOps and—let’s be honest—waterfall,” he said.
“We really think that a hybrid approach guided by a framework like SAFe is a major success factor versus implementing a pure-play approach and trying to adapt at the team level without an overarching road map.”
Although adopting a hybrid Scrum strategy is going to be easier than a pure Scrum approach, according to Axosoft’s Shojaee, it is still going to be a challenge because organizations will be used to a traditional paradigm. But, instead of running away from the unknown, organizations should embrace it, she said.
“When a team switches methodologies and starts to adopt Scrum, they will lose whatever project visibility they had—at least in the short term,” she said. “For larger enterprises, this can be crippling, and therefore the natural reaction is to pull back and do things the way they have always been done. For such organization, the best path is to start small: convert one or two teams to Scrum, wait until project visibility returns for those teams, then expand.”
And while there are no silver bullets, and tools aren’t going to magically transform an organization, they can help. “Providing burndown charts and dashboards that can be put into a development environment to keep the team in sync is another way to get better results,” said Shojaee.
The difference between enterprise Scrum and large-scale Scrum
Another area of confusion in Scrum is the different terminologies thrown around to describe it. “Enterprise Scrum” is often used to describe the extension of Scrum for business purposes, but the creators of LeSS believe that the term “scaling Scrum” is more appropriate for organizations looking at a large-scale software-intensive adoption of the methodology.