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Scaling Frameworks

INTRO – since the rise of Agile there have been numerous frameworks supporting the individual teams. Scrum is still the best known but XP as well as Kanban deserve a seat at this table as well. In the last years more and more attention has gone to the explicit complexity that comes with scaling up from one team to two, three and sometimes even tens or hundreds. New frameworks gave substance to provide guidance and structure to a large array of teams working together. Let’s discuss the most popular ones.

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework)
In 2019 SAFe is still the most used framework for large organizations to organize their software development. Since it’s start in 2011 by Dean Leaffingwell the framework has been updated a few times. The current version, 4.6, was released in October of 2018. SAFe is build on nine principles, mostly founded on Lean-Agile groundwork. These principles help in understanding why an organization is working the way it is. To provide the required structure SAFe has 4 levels on which activities, artifacts and roles are defined. At the ‘lowest’ level we see the actual teams, at the top you’ll find the portfolio of an entire organization.
LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)
For some it may be a surprise but LeSS has been around for almost 15 years now. In 2005 the first draft was made by Bas Vodde and Craig Larman based on their experiences in the field. Since then the framework has been updated, they have written more books and also setup a training & certification program. What was – and probably will be – at the core of LeSS is the fact that it is still Scrum. No adjustments changes have been made to the core. LeSS comes in two flavors. Less Huge (for over 8 teams) and just plain Less.
Spotify Model
The Spotify Model should better be called the Spotify Way of Working. It is an example of how a way of working can evolve from an organization where culture is very important. Even the accredited ‘founders’, Henrik Kniberg and Anders Ivarsson state that they did not invent the ‘model’. They acted as messengers or as spokesmen of the organization they were working at. Especially the short films they created on Engineering culture in 2014 were a massive hit. Although some organizations took literally and wanted to be exactly like Spotify.
There is enough information available to get a good idea about the Way of Working. And you have to get it from there, a site visit or meeting them on conferences because there is no training and or certification program. Before you jump in, remember that Spotify now is a very different place then it was five years ago. So, keep remembering wat the good people from Spotify say themselves: “don’t copy Spotify”.

Written by Scrum co-founder Ken Schwaber. Nexus is a lightweight framework to be used up to 9 teams. Like other frameworks a lot of attention goes into the dependencies and continuous focus to deliver a working increment at the end of the sprint containing the work of all teams. As it is released under the umbrella of it is an integral part of the whole set of services, training and qualification program they supply. As the Nexus guide itself is a mere 11 pages – give or take – it is highly accessible and easy to start with.

Other frameworks
In order to stay bit complete we have gathered a small list of smaller – lesser used – frameworks.

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