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How to Descale an Organization

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There are many frameworks available for scaling Agile. In contrast to the concept of scaling Agile, there is a belief of descaling the organization. Viktor Grgic, Agile Coach at Odd- e talks about descaling of the organizations using LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum) in his recent blog.

The first purpose of LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum) is actually descaling through organizational change. Descaling the number of roles, organizational structures, dependencies, architectural complexity, management positions, sites, and number of people. LeSS is not about scaling one team into multiple teams. LeSS is about scaling up Scrum itself in order to achieve organizational descaling.

Olaf Lewit, Trust Artist and Agile Coach at TrustArtist described de-scaling in an interview with InfoQ as:

Descaling is identifying non-helpful elements in our organizations and in small baby steps to start trusting each other a little more, And when people are trusted they have more choices, so the first step is to trust a little bit, the second step is to invite people to make choices and then you can let go of a little bit of your structure.

Vinayak Joglekar, Founder and CTO at Synerzip, supported descaling of organizations in his blog on descaling organizations for scaling agile and referred the talks given by speakers in “Agile 2014” conference.

In the Agile 2014 conference, we heard many speakers echo the same signal – “Lets descale the organization instead of scaling agile”. There is an increasing realization that instituting new models like scrum of scrums to force fit, agile processes to corporate hierarchies isn’t going to work. Models are rigid and linear whereas human systems are non-linear and need more flexibility. We need to take a hard look at restructuring our organizations to become less siloed and hierarchical.

Viktor suggests to have broader product definition unless the products are truly independent products. This means we’ll more quickly end up with LeSS Huge… but… we don’t need any additional portfolio management nor any project/program management to deal with all the organizational issues and different resource allocations. He says that though, we have a large-scale product, all these things are managed within the LeSS framework and thus actually much less complex, less roles, less management and a better overview.

Bas Vodde, the co-creator of LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum), gave this explanation - having multiple ‘fake’ small products that don’t deliver any real value is not better. Neither is losing the overview due to many small products.

Viktor says that for a single product, a LeSS organization does not need portfolio, programme, or project management. It does not need a separate analysis, architecture, UX, or QA/test group. It probably does not need a separate operations group. He mentions that in LeSS, the basic organizational building block is the cross-functional and cross-component feature team. Most people simply become regular members of feature teams, delivering running, tested features and a shippable product every Sprint.

LeSS is a scaled up Scrum framework, which enables descaling of the organization.

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  • LeSS

    by Paul Duncan,

  • LeSS

    by Paul Duncan,

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    Large scale scrum is great! I say this as a member of a scrum feature team that is one of 4 team contributing to one product backlog. The teamwork means that there are no knowledge silos and no-one need get overloaded!

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