The basic unit of Scrum is the team of a few people, namely the Scrum Team, which consists of a Scrum Master, a Product Owner and Developers. Scalable frameworks help to coordinate the work of multiple Scrum Teams.
Scrum at Scale (S@S) is one of the frameworks that enables Scrum to scale and thus to transform the organisation in an agile way.
What is Scrum at Scale?
A value network is made up of teams that adhere to the Scrum framework. These teams are able to tackle complex problems that require adaptation, while creatively delivering the product or the part of the product that currently represents the highest value. This value delivery model is business agility itself.
In Scrum, responsibility for the product (Product Owner) and the process (Scrum Master) are separated. The same is the case with S@S:
A körök önállóak, de van közös metszetük. Először a csapat-folyamatoknál: közösen dolgoznak azon, hogy maximalizálják az elkészült munka áramlását, növeljék a csapatok teljesítményét és gyakoribbá tegyék az ügyfél visszajelzéseket.
Ezután a „mit” és a „hogyan” elszámoltathatósága elválik, amíg a kész termék/ termékegység (“definition of done” szerint) leszállításra nem kerül.
A körök újra összekapcsolódnak a „visszajelzés” során. A termék- és értékszállítás folyamatos fejlődését rendszerszinten két dolog hivatott biztosítani a S@S-ben:
The responsability circles are independent but have a common intersection:
Firstly, in the team processes: they work together to maximise the flow of completed work, improve team performance and increase the frequency of client feedback.
Secondly, accountability for the "what" and "how" is separated until the finished product/product unit ("definition of done") is delivered.
And finally the circles are reconnected during the "feedback" process. The continuous evolution of product and value delivery at system level is ensured by two things in S@S:
As shown in the figure, the centre of the SM circle within the organisation is the Executive Action Team (EAT), which ensures the Scrum Master’s accountability to the whole agile organisation. This executive team represents the agile values to be emulated.
The organizational hub of the PO circle is the Executive MetaScrum (EMS) forum, where the Chief Product Owner (CPO) meets with the leaders and key stakeholders. The purpose of the EMS forum is to empower Product Owners across the entire Agile organization with the decision making capabilities they need to drive product development.
One of the goals of Scrum@Scale is to enable component-based product development, which helps to keep teams flexible but balanced. The description of S@S suggests several examples of how teams can be developed at an organisational level.
Benefits of Scrum at Scale
The biggest advantage of the framework is that it is very flexible. It can be quickly set up, allowing product development by multiple teams to scale quickly. Because development is done in sprints, it can also be adapted to financial planning - but its rules are also free to evolve, unlike SAFe, where annual and quarterly routines are defined.
What to look for in Scrum at Scale?
The framework is characterized by a high degree of freedom. In many cases, it requires team-level decisions. If the team members are not cohesive, agile and immature, the initiative may end in chaos without adequate support. Teams need to lay down common principles, a product vision, a unified customer and market understanding, without which productive teamwork cannot be achieved.
Since the team framework is bound, the success of S@S depends to a large extent on how Scrum works in the teams. If we want to use it to transform an existing hierarchical organization, we will have a hard time because many actors do not have a counterpart in the specification, these companies prefer to use SAFe for scaling. It is also worth bearing in mind that if the organisation using S@S is part of a larger non-S@S system, aligning central functions can be a major challenge.
As S@S is considered by many to be too permissive, it may be tempting to combine it with other frameworks such as SAFe. However, this is strongly discouraged as it limits our learning opportunities. It makes sense to choose a framework that is appropriate to your organization's capabilities and objectives. For such assessment and advice, it is worth contacting our Enterprise Coach colleagues.