For a while now I’m coaching and training Scrum. And for a while I had the feeling that, even though Scrum works, it is very hard to get it to work in a larger environment. so I needed something extra. So I read books about scaling Scrum and I read blogs and talked to other coaches. But somehow I felt that I missed something. I know that in order to get Scrum to work it is important that the entire company is willing to change. But that is easier said then done. I provided training and talked with management. I also provided workshops and sessions. And everything was great and fun but still something was missing so I started focussing on the Scaling models. SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) was the first one, and even though it seems to work as a larger framework, it didn’t feel right to me. I’m not saying that SAFe is wrong but it just was not my thing. So I looked further. LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) was the next option. I read about it and I liked it. So I went on a course. Four days buffering over powerpoint slides. Games, debates and theory. It was inspiring and fun. The fun thing was that LeSS is just Scrum, only bigger. And that is what I liked about it. The Scrum part was very familiar, but the strategy to get a company to change was something I loved. Not just a big bang and go on with it. The “Here is your training and now you can do it” mindset. The approach with LeSS has much more to do with slowly preparing the entire company for the change. And only doing that change when everyone and everything is ready.
One thing you have to be prepared for is that the change towards a larger Scrum environment takes time. I often have talks with managers who want Scrum in their company and want to hire me as a coach. When I predict the future and tell them that it will take two to three years before everyone knows a little how to work with Scrum, they turn pale. One or two months is what they hoped for and two to three years is not what they anticipated. But when you come to think of it, it makes sense. Most companies have taken years to get to where they are. Through growth and using various models they are what they have become. And all of a sudden they want to change because the market demands it. You can’t just divert overnight. It takes time. And you will have to take small steps. I know now that LeSS provides in those steps and it can help make the transition transparent for everyone.
LeSS is not easy and I don’t think that every company can just adopt it. Same goes for SAFe or any other scaling model or even Scrum for that matter. Change is difficult and for some people nearly impossible. And in order to do so you have to prepare everyone for the change. Make everybody a part of the the new way of working before you start working like that. LeSS provides in this. It provides a gentle slope of change. But once you have started to climb that hill together, the higher you get, the easier it gets but turning back becomes harder. I know, this sounds fluffy but take it from me, don’t just read a book about scaling but follow a good training. Also hire a coach to help you with the change. Sorry, i’m advertising myself and maybe other coaches. But if you want Scrum to work on a larger scale, you need every help you can get. It is no longer a development team with a scrumboard and a daily standup. We are talking about organizational change, and this is something not to be taking lightly. So, more with LeSS, I’m sure it will but you have to invest for the long run.