For several years, the Agile community has been struggling with the use of Agile practices – developed for small teams – in the large. Large organizations or multi-team efforts are the rule, not the exception in the software world. In this episode, we explore Nexus, a scaling framework developed by Scrum.org to tackle just that: the use of Scrum in larger organizations and multi-team product development efforts.
Read on for the detailed show notes and all the links.
Why was Nexus created?
When Scrum started to be adopted, it was eminently focused on 1 team (or just a few teams). The roles, the practices were focused on consistently and incrementally delivering a Shippable Increment of the software under development. As Scrum grew in adoption it was inevitable that larger organizations would take it on, and challenge with the adoption in larger product development efforts.
Nexus tackles the scaling challenge but tries to stay true to the core ideas of Scrum
As Patricia puts it: “Nexus tries to keep the goodness of Scrum”, and we discuss what are the challenges as well as some of the lessons learned. We discuss the transparency, integration and communication challenges when many teams are involved, and how Nexus tackles those challenges.
The Nexus twist: the Nexus Integration Team
When we think “integration”, many of us will think technical integration or integration testing and similar aspects. However, in Nexus the integration team goes far beyond the technical aspects of integration.
Often, when product development organizations struggle, they struggle because they can’t successfully integrate their software among the many teams involved. In Nexus the creators of the framework go beyond that technical problem and ask: how can we integrate teams, or teams and stakeholders work to avoid the technical integration problems and create a collaborative environment. The key insight is: collaboration is the result of successful team-stakeholder integration, which we see in communication, information sharing and in the problems we resolve or avoid.
The idea is simple, the Nexus Integration Team is there to integrate the organization, not just the software. Listen in to learn how this concept was developed first by organizations adopting Scrum at Scale.
When is it time to think of scaling Scrum?
Nexus focuses specifically on large numbers of teams developing a single product. In those cases, we often struggle with Conway’s Law, a concept that describes an observation that “the organization’s design is often reflected in the architecture of the product it tries to develop”. In Nexus, Scrum.org recognizes that challenge and focus on the deliberate evolution of that organization with the help of the Nexus Integration Team. In this episode, we discuss what are the conditions necessary for us to start working on scaling Scrum
Patricia and Kurt co-authored The Nexus Framework for Scaling Scrum with Dave West, a book that goes into more detail about Nexus and how to apply it in an environment where multiple Scrum teams must cooperate.
About Patricia Kong
Patricia Kong is the co-author of “The Nexus Framework for Scaling Scrum” published by Pearson, a public speaker and the Product Owner of the Scrum.org enterprise solutions program which includes the Nexus Framework, Evidence-Based Management, Scrum Studio, and Scrum Development Kit. Patricia is a people advocate and fascinated by organizational behavior and misbehaviors.
You can link with Patricia Kong on LinkedIn and connect with Patricia Kong on Twitter.
About Kurt Bittner
Kurt likes to start by understanding client and organizational goals, assess key levers for change and to develop effective solutions that achieve those goals.
In the past, he led multi-year organization transformation efforts with a variety of Fortune 100 clients to improve their ability to deliver effective software solutions with reduced time to market.
He also worked at Ivar Jacobson and Rational Software, both companies that are part of the evolution towards developing methods for large-scale software development.
You can link with Kurt Bittner on LinkedIn and connect with Kurt Bittner on Twitter.