Why agile doesn’t scale (and what you can do about it)
“Agile troublemaker” Dan North explains the problems of agile environments and how some teams are succeeding with large-scale deliveries in spite of being agile.
Agile doesn’t scale. There, I said it. Actually people have been telling me that for over ten years, and I’ve just refused to believe them, but they were right. Does that mean you can’t deliver large-scale programmes using agile methods? Not at all.
But to scale you need something else, something substantively different, something the Agile Manifesto and the existing team-scale agile methods don’t even have an opinion about.
I have seen a handful of successful large-scale deliveries across multiple agile teams, multiple locations and multiple programmes start to look uncomfortably like those of traditional programmes, and involve phrases like delivery assurance, governance and portfolio management. They just approach them differently.
What made them work? The challenge is getting large numbers of people to think in the same direction. Shared guiding principles, a clear vision and a common understanding enable what I call contextual consistency. I believe this one lever is the single greatest enabler of technology delivery at scale, and is at the heart of the thing we call empowerment. In this talk I will explain why.