By Anton Rossouw.
It was great to have Bas Vodde in Melbourne from 24 - 26 February 2015 to bring the first Certified LeSS Practitioner course to Australia. Its been several months in the making following a plot with Bas to visit Australia, crafted over great Japanese barbeque and Sake at Clarke Quay in Singapore. The Melbourne location was also good enticement to exploring Tasmanian Whisky in pursuit of the most excellent in the world! With that trigger discussion still clear in my memory I started day 1 of the 3 day LeSS training with Bas and 15 others at our partner organisation Elabor8’s training room.
My initial expectation of LeSS was that there could not be that much more to scaling Scrum that we weren’t already intuitively doing in some way, so anything new under the sun? I was very wrong! It dawned quickly that what Bas presented was taking Scrum itself to a whole new level of excellence! What I learned was somewhat of a surprise because “LeSS lets you do better Scrum” too. It’s not only about scaling teams and large product delivery but also at the same time amplifying the practical goodness at the heart of Scrum i.e. the agile stuff that really works. The course also brings many new agile aspects to the fore while also remaining simple, compact and focused. The particularly powerful concepts that resonated deeply with me were:
- Steps and strategies to evolve Agile scaling into the wider organisational context in a low risk productivity enhancing way
- Building cross functional feature teams across the organisation while driving understanding and contribution to the business domain
- Applying organisational, product and process improvement from running retrospectives (overall) at scale emphasising that learning is at the core of LeSS
- Specific roles for management steers them in support of teams and not control of people
- Managing the one product backlog and driving Done and Un-Done work to get to extended enterprise level “totally Done”
- Sincronisation of sprint time boxes into the same calendar cycle
- What do we do when the product requires more than 8 teams i.e. going “Less Huge”
- Two step sprint planning to cover enterprise level and team level planning for delivery
- Managing the backlog according to dynamic requirements areas that reflect the enterprise contexts
- Moving the teams and the organisation structure to customer and whole product focus
- Applying Less principles underpinned by systems thinking that further enhance and support better Scrum
- Moving away from project focus to continuous emergent Inspect and Adapt driven delivery
- Moving from component teams to feature teams using a planned strategy based on a long term adoption map
- Sometimes temporary fake product owners are valuable and needed!
- Using and authority matrix to differentiate responsibilities for product owners, management and teams
- The simplicity at the core of LeSS will de-complicate the organisational structure over the longer term and drive efficiency
In summary LeSS is not only about how to scale Scrum into a transforming organisation but also how to do better Scrum at every level. This emerged strongly from the stories throughout the training informed by Bas’s years of experience and deep thinking on practical application of LeSS.
Indeed a great start to more LeSS being done in Australia! I am convinced that LeSS.works as what happened to the relatively recent and unknown Tasmanian Whisky is also earmarked to become the de-facto reference to Scaling Agile excellence in the world. Go LeSS!