Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)
Modern companies struggle with the high volatility and innovation of the digital economy. The neoclassical approach to management based on market stability and mass production has ceased to work. The ability for rapid adaptation of the organization has become a key competitive feature.
Since 2001, the introduction of the Agile approach, and in particular Scrum, revolutionizes the organizational structures and brings positive results in the functioning workgroups based on a single team.
The question naturally arises:
“How to scale Scrum approach to the entire organization
without losing its advantages?”
What is LeSS?
LeSS is a multi-team Scrum. A framework in which many interdisciplinary, self-organizing teams work in one rhythm, delivering together one Product Increment prepared for delivery - at least once per Sprint.
LeSS follows all Scrum and Agile principles:
- If there is one Product, there is one Product Backlog.
- One Product Backlog is managed by one Product Owner.
- At least once per Sprint we have one Potentially Shippable Product Increment.
- To achieve this, there is one “Definition of Done", shared by all teams.
- And one common Sprint.
- Product Backlog items are delivered by many small, interdisciplinary and self-organizing Teams.
- Teams determine their own rules of work, including methods of coordination and communication between the teams. There are no coordinators outside the Teams.
- Decisions affecing one Team are made by that Team and not by any outsiders.
LeSS is more than a set of rules and experiments. It also provides a specific framework with clarification of what LeSS is (and isn't) and how to apply it. Within the LeSS framework, product groups can use experiments and discover what works best for them.
In this way, LeSS is simple and stays true to the nature of Scrum. LeSS, like Scrum, provides a sufficient number of specific practices to start with, enough flexibility, and the ability to scale, without losing key benefits.
When many teams in your company have to cooperate to create one business product, it is worth learning how to do it efficiently. Since 2017, we have been running Large-Scale Scrum training courses showing how to build an effective agile organization.
Certified LeSS Basics is introductory training that shows the key aspects of Scrum functioning on a large scale, giving you the necessary knowledge to be able to start your first multi-team Sprint. Learn, among others:
- How many teams can effectively co-create a product.
- How to avoid the pitfalls of scaling Scrum.
- What are the basic rules and principles of LeSS.
- What are the recommended practices and experiments.
- How to prepare to work in a multi-team Scrum
Certified LeSS Practitioner is advanced training that shows how to adapt the structure of an organization to operate in a volatile market when the product requires cooperation of more than one team. Learn, among others
- How international companies have implemented LeSS.
- How to create a value-driven Product Backlog.
- How to set the optimization goal for your organization.
- How to apply system modeling.
- How to build a framework for your own company.
Certified LeSS for Executives is a course in designing large-scale product development organizations dedicated to executives, managers, and product managers. During interactive training:
- discover how to design large-scale organizations,
- see how the LeSS approach enables adaptive product development,
- learn about the approaches to implementing LeSS in the company,
- understand the role of leadership in transformation.
Truly adaptive product development requires profound organizational change. Therefore, neither Scrum nor LeSS should be considered merely as a set of practices. They provide the framework for designing an organization.
LeSS is often called a de-scaling framework. It simplifies the structures and processes already existing in the organization. Speed and flexibility come from removing and simplifying, not adding and complicating.
Areas of focus during LeSS adoption:
- Simplification of teams’ structure and team model of working.
- Customer-orientation processes of value delivery and exploration.
- De-scaling coordinating and decision-making structures.
- Clarification of the way of budgeting and focusing on maximizing product ROI.
- Changing the organizational culture - focus on cooperation and improvement.
Craig Larman and Bas Vode based on their experience published three books on scaling agile development with LeSS:
- Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum — explains mental models, leadership, and organizational change.
- Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Large, Multi-site & Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum — includes hundreds of specific experiments to try in your organization, each based on real experience; experiments are covering areas of product management, contracts, architecture, planning, working in multi-site companies and distributed teams, and more.
- Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS - this book is the third in a LeSS series that synthesizes, explains, and highlights what matters most. If you are new to LeSS, we recommend that you read this book first.
- LeSS brochure, a short explanation of what LeSS is
- Complete LeSS picture showing the harmony of principles, frameworks, guidelines, and method of experimentation:
- LeSS and LeSS-Huge printable poster outlining key aspects of the approach
- Official LeSS website, where you will find extensive information and examples of using LeSS
- Introduction to LeSS from the official website
See our Agile presentations and interviews how large organizations using Large-Scale Scrum.
Do you have a lot of teams trying to deliver a common product but are unhappy with the speed of bringing value to the market? Or maybe you have Scrum in every team applied according to the rules, and yet the business results are unsatisfactory? Or maybe you work overtime and still don't meet your deadlines and feel burned out? If so, LeSS is the answer.
The first step is to analyze the current state, work with leaders and educate them. When the leaders get agreement on the goal of optimizing the company and have a consistent understanding of the change, the preparation and implementation of changes to the structure and the Product development process take place. The first multi-team Sprint is launched, at the end of which the Product Increment is created, ready for implementation. Continuous improvement will increase the production capacity of the entire organization.
A practitioner who has experience working in this model will guide you thru the process showing what to pay attention to and how to simplify your organization so that it becomes truly Agile - in accordance with the More with LeSS principle.
The first implementation of LeSS took place around 2006, and the first published description of LeSS was in the book Scaling Lean and Agile Development in 2008. Since then, LeSS has been adopted in many products and industries. If you are interested in the details of the implementation of the approach in a specific organization, you can read about them in over thirty case studies from all over the world.
Remember that, just like in Scrum, implementing LeSS takes time, determination and deep actions. By making only superficial changes, you won't change much. Fortunately, implementing LeSS is not difficult when you really want to.
LeSS adoption is described by 3 principles and a specific process that increases the likelihood of your success, which includes:
- Education in organizational, team, technical, and product areas
- Creating the definition of "Product"
- Creating the “Definition of Done" for the entire product group
- Organize teams according to the Feature Teams principles
- Appointing a Product Owner and ensuring that only he is prioritizing work
- Launching the first iteration and continuously improve process
We are happy to be partners on your way to Organizational Agility.