A holistic and pragmatic way to scaling agile
Scrum@Scale (or Scrum at Scale) is one of the newer Agile frameworks, introduced in 2014 by Jeff Sutherland, creator of the Scrum methodology and one of the signatories of the Agile Manifesto. It addresses complexities and impediments of multiple Scrum teams working with the Scrum guide to deliver value to their customers, and is designed to scale across the entire organization.
& Core Principles
A simple and lightweight framework
The purpose of Scrum@Scale is to offer a simple and lightweight framework to scale Scrum with as little bureaucracy as possible. It is one of the least prescriptive of the scaled Agile methodologies, emphasizing the typical challenges related to scaling, as well as suggestions for how to address these.
Scrum@Scale seeks to ‘radically simplify scaling by using Scrum to scale Scrum’. The core principle of Scrum@Scale is the known and clear responsibility split between the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. The Product Owner is responsible for the content (the ‘what’), while the Scrum Master is responsible for facilitating the process (the ‘how’). By highlighting this jurisdiction, Scrum@Scale seeks to eliminate conflict and waste.
An Introduction to Key Elements
Scrum@Scale places significant emphasis on the separate jurisdictions of the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. Therefore, the framework introduces to separate cycles for the roles, with two touchpoints: Product Release Feedback and Team Level Process.
Product Owner Cycle
The Product Owner Cycle revolves around what product or solution will be created and the activities needed to support and promote this. The further responsibilities of the role correspond to the standard Scrum definitions. Scrum@Scale groups Product Owners into Product Owner Teams that map to the Scrum of Scrum teams. These Product Owner Teams meet at a daily Meta Scrum ceremony, led by a Chief Product Owner, in order to coordinate as needed and discuss high-level strategy.
The Scrum Master Cycle
The Scrum Master Cycle revolves around building the products or solutions that have been identified by the Product Owner. Like with the Product Owner role, the individual Scrum teams have the same roles, activities, ceremonies and artefacts as in traditional scrum. Scrum@Scale groups scrum teams into Scrum of Scrums (SoS) which carry a joint responsibility for producing a common product increment. They participate in joint agile ceremonies such as backlog refinement, retrospectives, and a Scaled Daily Scrum with the objective of coordinating teams and removing impediments.
Scaling the cycles
If further scaling is needed, the overall responsible leader is the Executive Action Team (EAT). The Scrum of Scrum teams gather in a Scrum of Scrum of Scrums (SoSoS), and so on. Likewise, the Product Owners scale in a similar way depending on the context. The highest level of Product Owner scaling is the Executive Meta Scrum (EMT), prioritizing in a company-wide setting.
Get Started With Scrum@Scale
When implementing Scrum@Scale, the first activity is to install an Executive Action Team (EAT), a small set of teams using scrum at a small scale, in order to, at an early stage, start resolving any organizational bureaucracy or existing development practices that hinders agile. This model is then used as reference for scaling scrum to other teams and departments. The EAT must therefore have political and financial support throughout the organization, with capability of changing organizational policies and practices.