BONUS: Bas Vodde on LeSS, Scaled Agile and Scrum

Bas Vodde worked with Craig Larman on creating LeSS, probably the second most popular agile scaling framework in the market at this time.

In this episode, we talk about what is not so well known about LeSS, its origins, and we dive deeper into the topic of scaling. What does it mean, what it does not mean, and how LeSS can help organizations take advantage of agile in large product development teams.

Why #NoProjects goes so well with scaled agile

One of the aspects of LeSS that is less known is that it represents an old (over a decade old as of 2019) set of ideas that Craig Larman and Bas Vodde have implemented at Nokia Networks first, and other companies later on.

According to Bas, Less is not a scaling framework, but an organization de-scaling framework. We explore what that means, and why that matters for companies hoping to use agile in larger development organizations.

But perhaps the most interesting part of this segment is the take on projects, and how LeSS tries to remove the need to have projects in software product organizations.

In this context, we talk about #NoProjects and refer to the episode with Allan Kelly on #NoProjects and #NoEstimates.

LeSS is an organizational design framework, not a process

Bas describes LeSS as a set of collected and tested organizational principles instead of simply a process. In this segment, we discuss the concept of Feature Teams, and how LeSS requires that the organization adopt that approach. LeSS is a systematic approach to help organizations benefit from adaptability (agility), not just a set of rules to follow. We discuss the difference between project organizations – which optimize for the output of single projects – and system-focused organizations that optimize other factors (like adaptability)

How LeSS emerged, and the impact it has had in organizations

Back in the early 2000’s, Craig and Bas were working in Nokia Networks and helping several product teams adopt Agile. Craig’s and Bas’ approach was to work with the teams directly for a period of time, to get a direct understanding of the problems they were facing.

As a result, they would come up with experiments, ideas to try, and pass them to the teams. Later they would come back and discuss the results of those experiments.

The collected experiments they developed at the time form the basis of the first 2 books they wrote together and later on formed the core of what is now the LeSS framework for scaling agile.

In this segment, we refer to the work of Deming as a precursor to many of the approaches taken by Craig and Bas, and also discuss the differences to SAFe and Nexus, two of the frameworks we’ve also featured here on the podcast.

When is the right time to start scaling Scrum and Agile?

When it comes to scaling, we have a conversation about the practices that enable multiple teams to collaborate. We discuss whey the Scrum of Scrums might not be the best idea for product organizations, and how we can enable team-to-team coordination without centralized structures, which tend to discourage the de-centralized and real-time coordination between teams.

Bas shares some practices that help with team-to-team coordination and shares his views on the role of the Scrum Master in scaled agile environments.

About Bas Vodde

Bas Vodde is a coach, programmer, trainer, and author in the world of modern agile and lean product development. He is the creator of the LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum) framework for scaling agile development. He coaches organizations on three levels: organizational,  team, individual/technical practices. He has trained thousands of people in software development, Scrum, and modern agile practices for over a decade.

He is the author of Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS,  Scaling Agile and Lean Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum and of Practices for Large-Scale Agile and Lean Development, all together with Craig Larman.

You can link with Bas Vodde on LinkedIn and connect with Bas Vodde on Twitter. You can find out more about Bas Vodde’s work in the Less website.

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