Strategy & Consulting

Why Scrum And SAFe Should Not Be The End Game

March 3, 2018

Stuart Arthur

Chief Technology Officer

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Having used various Agile approaches throughout my career, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that using the Agile principles as a guideline and forgetting specific process frameworks (at least to begin with) is the most sensible starting point for most organisations. Without an understanding of the principles, behaviours, and an underlying cultural readiness Scrum and SAFe will most likely not yield significant benefits.

That’s not to say that Scrum doesn’t have its place, but my personal opinion is that it’s a stepping stone from Waterfall and can be incredibly onerous on a team, possibly creating some bad habits around holding/storing key information for the meetings Scrum expects. I have used some elements of Scrum with teams who are new to Agile principles and practices.

I have posted about the traits of a high-performing team, and one of the key facets is continuous learning, collaboration, and managing blockers in real-time. I don’t believe a high-performance team requires Scrum because it operates in the here and now, focusing on value delivery and improving flow.

Similarly, when it comes to Agile transformations or business agility, or the dreaded terms “agile at scale”, if you have a high-performance team then there’s surely a multiplier effect when it comes to adding more teams; and these teams are often more than capable of syncing and co-ordinating activities. Product leaders often play their part in this and need to align their plans and sub-divide business capabilities into sensible themes.

In my experience, I have seen organisations add various amounts of roles and process when working on a larger scale, and it only seems to make things more complicated and causes divides and confusion — loosely coupled and highly aligned is key to large undertakings and great product leaders and teams can handle this scenario with specific scaling frameworks.

So, focus on creating a great environment, building high-performance teams, and allow product leaders to plan and align activities. See how that fares against against some of the current other alternatives being used.

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