Is agile working at scale

Agile scaling - it is not the framework that is decisive

Since 2001, the principles of the “Agile Manifesto” have formed the foundation of agile working methods in today's world. The meaning of agile and agile working methods, approaches and frameworks have been developing steadily since then. Agile is no longer just a component of classic software development, but also describes entire IT operating and organizational models, approaches for project management as well as entire corporate values ​​and cultures.

If you follow the current discussions about the introduction or implementation of agile process models and structures, you quickly come across the more or less passionate discussion about the right framework for scaling agile working methods. What Scrum is at the team level should then also be scaled across teams, at the project level up to the portfolio level. The advantages and disadvantages of frameworks such as LeSS, Nexus or the SAFe, which is currently mentioned more and more frequently, are discussed and controversially discussed.

Everyone promises to implement the principles defined in the agile manifesto. And everyone has the right to focus on the actual product and move away from the waterfall-oriented projects and teams working in silos. But isn't the question of the right framework for scaling agility starting far too late? Many companies embark on the journey of agile scaling before they even know where the journey should go.

Agile vision: first the goal, then the way

According to our experience, the actual questions must be:

  • Why do I want to work agile?
  • What are my specific challenges and how can I meet them using agile approaches?
  • What added value do agile working methods bring my company in order to achieve the strategic goals?

Only a clearly defined agile vision at this point provides the orientation that is necessary for a comprehensive transformation. In order to arrive at this vision, an analysis of the strategic guard rails is necessary. If these are clear, the guard rails can be compared to the agile principles in order to identify how agile methods can contribute to the achievement of goals.

Best practices and case studies, but also cross-functional workshops based on innovative methods, help to set impulses and expand the scope for solutions. At this point, it is important to include all key stakeholders and not just individual company silos. Because scaling agility on a holistic basis also requires a change in the entire corporate culture and not the setting of impulses on individual levels.

Agile maturity as a definition for the starting point of the agile journey

In addition to an agile vision, the evaluation of the current level of maturity also forms agile another important building block as the basis of an agile transformation. We - at Capgemini Invent - intervene to quickly and efficiently identify the weak points or the greatest leverage. Find out, for example, in our blog article "Agile IT as a driver of innovation" how agile methods can drive innovation in IT organizations.

Only after both the agile vision and the agile starting point are clear, the requirements can be placed on an organization with scaled agility. The various frameworks are then considered, analyzed and tested according to the agile principle of “Test, Inspect, Adapt” and validated by pilots.

Many thanks to my team for the input and cooperation on this post.

I would be happy to discuss your agile vision and the agile maturity level with you and lay the foundation for your personal agile transformation. I look forward to the talks.