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Gunther Verheyen on Scaled Professional Scrum – Nexus Framework

| Posted by Savita Pahuja Follow 2 Followers on Aug 07, 2015. Estimated reading time: 5 minutes |

The Scaled Professional Scrum framework of Scrum.org provides a guidance to organizations engaging in efforts to scale their product development done through scrum. 

InfoQ interviewed Gunther Verheyen of Scrum.org about the Nexus framework.

InfoQ: Please give an overview of the Nexus model to scale Scrum.

Gunther: A Nexus is an exo-skeleton connecting 3-9 Scrum Teams developing one product or system. A Nexus implements and augments the Scrum framework; its simplicity, principles and values.

The Nexus framework scales the roles, events and artifacts of Scrum to improve the ability for 3- 9 Scrum Teams to jointly develop and sustain complex products. A Nexus is a Scrum eco-system that produces integrated versions of product from a rigorous focus on people, communication, development excellence and integration of work.

From the outside, a Nexus is no different than any small-scale instance of Scrum. All work for the product or system being developed is organized in a Product Backlog. By the end of a Sprint, every 30 days or less, a releasable (integrated) Increment of product is available. Communication is optimized to deal with dependencies, proactively as well as via reification, because dependences are the hidden killer of product development at scale.

Scrum.org will soon publish the Nexus Guide, describing the Nexus framework.

InfoQ: Can you elaborate when this model is useful and what are the benefits?

Gunther: Many organizations have successfully increased the value they get from their products through the use of Scrum. These organizations often struggle to keep those benefits when applying Scrum at a scale beyond just a few teams.

The Nexus framework provides foundational guidance to those organizations. They discover how they can create a scaled instance of Scrum having the results, productivity, creativity and value they were used to on a smaller scale. Additionally, Scrum.org has re-formulated 40+ practices that, when selected and applied against the right context, augment productivity and increase the value generated. Organizations can create an implementation of Scaled Professional Scrum.

Scaled Professional Scrum eschews fixed, defined solutions. Every organization is unique. Every scaling initiative is unique. Scaled Professional Scrum thrives on discovery and emergence through the empirical process it implements. Empiricism is not only used for the product development process but also to grow, evolve and scale it.

Every unique organization needs to emerge and implement its distinct solutions to the distinct problems it faces. The Nexus framework, augmented by the 40+ Scaled Professional Scrum practices, is their gateway.

InfoQ: What motivated you to launch Scaling model?

Gunther: Many Scrum practitioners, teams and organizations approached us with the challenges they face when scaling Scrum. They are familiar with Scrum at smaller scale, and are pleased with the results. They desire the same improvements at the larger scale. They ask for guidance in growing and maturing their implementations of Scrum, and how to employ Scrum in the large while not re-inserting the old wastes that Scrum helped them remove.

Scaled Professional Scrum and Nexus are our answer to this call for help. It holds our beliefs and what has worked in a variety of implementations. We have assembled these proven experiences, insights and practices into the highly cohesive Nexus framework. The result is recognizably Scrum, although the problems at scale are specifically addressed.

InfoQ: How Nexus model is different from other existing scaling Agile models?

Gunther: We don’t regard us as being in a competition. We follow our mission, which is to improve the profession of software development. We do so by maturing the understanding and implementation of Scrum. The development and launch of the Nexus framework and Scaled Professional Scrum fit that mission and strategy.

Supporting the many Scrum practitioners around the world with our vision of Scrum and scaled Scrum is the right thing to do. Helping teams and organizations increase the value they get from their products and product development, also at scale, has the potential of a huge improvement of the software industry.

InfoQ: Scrum.org has also launched Scaled Professional Scrum course. Please give an overview of the course. What are the eligibility criteria for attending this course?

Gunther: The Scaled Professional Scrum workshop introduces the Nexus framework, and the 40+ additional practices in an interactive workshop. Students are invited to think through complex scaling problems and issues. The workshop assumes a firm understanding of and experience in applying the Scrum framework. Having been involved in efforts to scale Scrum is great, but not mandatory.

An additional resource for people’s professional development is the Scaled Professional Scrum assessment. It allows a person to demonstrate his/her understanding of creating a scaled implementation of Scrum. It will allow organizations to hire practitioner level people.

InfoQ: Would you like to give any message to Agile practitioners regarding the usage of this new model?

Gunther: We are humbled by the support and appreciation we have received from practitioners globally who we introduced the Nexus framework to. We admire those many practitioners for the hard product development work they do on a daily base, the problems they face and try to fix by exploring the instruments that Scrum holds.

We hope the Nexus inspires them, adds some ideas and insights, and helps them become even more proficient in Scrum. It won’t take away the hard work though, but that is not a true professional’s desire anyhow.

Gunther Verheyen, recently published a whitepaper on Scaled Professional Scrum – Nexus Framework. He talked about the same at Scrum Day Europe 2015. His presentation is available on SlideShare.

About the Author

Gunther Verheyen ventured into IT and software development after graduating in 1992. His Agile journey started with eXtreme Programming and Scrum in 2003. Years of dedication followed, of using Scrum in diverse circumstances. As from 2010 Gunther became the inspiring force behind some large-scale enterprise transformations. Gunther left consulting in 2013 to partner with Ken Schwaber, Scrum co-creator, at Scrum.org. He is Professional Scrum Trainer, shepherds the ‘Professional Scrum’ series, works with Scrum.org’s global network of Professional Scrum Trainers, and is co-creator to Agility Path and the Nexus framework for Scaled Professional Scrum. In 2013 Gunther published his much-praised book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide (a smart travel companion)”, by Ken Schwaber recommended as ‘the best description of Scrum currently available and an extraordinarily competent book.

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