December 7, 2007
Want To Scale Up Agile? Learn To Let Go.I keep hearing debates flaring up around and about the countryside on the topic of whether or not Agile values and practices scale up.
Well, I don't get it. I really don't.
With my limited understanding of what it means to be "Agile" - iterative & adaptive (i.e., evolutionary) problem solving, self-organising teams, emergent designs and so on - it rather strikes me that if what you're doing doesn't scale up then it probably isn't Agile.
What makes me think that? Well, wherever I see these strategies being applied successfully in nature, they are being applied at the macro level. These are strategies for solving very complex problems, and I'm afraid I just don't buy into the notion that 20 Scrum teams is a fundamentally different problem - on a fundamentally different scale - to 1 Scrum team. They're both in the same very rough complexity ballpark.
Frankly, I think it's the lack of Agile-ness (or should that be "Agilicity"?) in methods like Scrum and XP that create this glass ceiling. I think these methods err too far towards some level of prescription, command and control and plan-driven problem solving.
But whenever I read papers on "Scaling up Agile", there's always the underlying assumption that what's required is more governance, more control. Poppycock! If you want to really scale up Agile methods, then I reckon you have to let go almost completely.
Posted 13 years, 8 months ago on December 7, 2007