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Nexus Framework in a Nutshell

The NEXUS big thing in project planning: Everything you need to know about Nexus Framework

Alexander Skalabanov
© Shutterstock / eamesBot

In this article, Alexander Skalabanov introduces the Nexus Scrum Framework and explains how to reduce cross-team dependencies, deal with complex deliveries, and mitigate risks that affect several teams. Find out more and learn some key lessons about using the Nexus framework in software development.

What Is Nexus In Scrum?

Product scaling is no longer an issue keeping companies from next-level developments; they are still capable of, for example, adapting to a new market or fitting into a broader environment. However, when it comes to scaling up software development, the process itself typically brings a number of challenges. Specifically, there is a need for innovative solutions to take care of multiple connected projects. In addition, the expected benefits of Scrum, namely fast, focused and flexible software development that aligns user and business needs, are too often realized only in part or after a substantial delay. What are the key lessons? Let’s clear things up.

“Nexus tries to scale the system consistently,” says Daniela Sawyer, a Founder and Business Development Strategist at FindPeopleFast. “The addition of an integration team is unique to the Nexus framework. It enables the different Scrum teams working together on a product to coordinate with each other fruitfully to make the scaling as smooth as possible. Dependency and integration issues make significant hurdles for multiple teams working simultaneously. Proper adherence to the framework avoids pitfalls of other frameworks that often lead to poor resource utilization and reduce productivity.”

SEE ALSO: Operating SAP in the Cloud

Nexus Framework In A Nutshell

The Nexus Scrum scaling framework applies classic principles on a larger scale by making only moderate yet mission-critical adjustments to the ordinary roles and software development processes. Although Scrum has metamorphosed into a state-of-the-art option that goes beyond efficient daily planning, review, and meeting sessions, in the case of multiple teams working on the same product, it only provides long-lasting value when potential dependencies are carefully assessed and orchestrated.

In a nutshell, the Nexus framework is all about using Scrum as an extended building block tailored to better staff management and coordination within a single product. When applied to 3-9 Scrum groups to provide extensive guidance on the mutual collaboration and data sharing on the go, Nexus makes it possible to develop software in each Sprint under minimal dependencies. The Nexus Integration Team (otherwise, NIT) ensures the delivery of successful integration of the entire workload, delivered by diverse Scrum teams.

Nexus Sprint Backlog and Nexus Goal are two new artifacts. Sprint Backlog highlights team dependencies, representing the sum of all product backlog items from the Sprint backlogs on the individual Scrum teams. Just like that, Sprint Goal is pulling sprint goals of Scrum teams all together within the Nexus.

Introducing 4 New Nexus Events

  1. Sprint Planning for coordinating Scrum, teams and their workflow in Nexus for a single Sprint.
  2. Daily Scrum for inspecting progress achieved with the Integrated Increment by assignees from individual development teams, spotting potential integration issues and cross-team dependencies.
  3. Sprint Review for collecting feedback on the Integrated Increment at the end of the Sprint, making backlog adjustments when necessary, and replacing individual Scrum team Sprint reviews.
  4. Retrospective for planning future improvements and proactively addressing cross-team dependencies, identifying challenges and potentially successful opportunities, tracking identified actions, and outputting a concise visual representation of the results.

Nexus Framework for Scaling Scrum

What Is A Nexus Integration Team?

Now, it’s clear that the coordination of a vast Nexus-based project requires a specific role to be responsible for that. The task is committed to the Nexus integration team, providing high-level guidance and oversight towards interconnected teams and projects. The Nexus integration team also deals with the backlog agreeing, DoD agreeing, spotting dependencies, coaching and other cross-team tasks and issues.

The Integration team consists of the Scrum master and product owner, who are, to some extent, mirroring the composition of the individual teams. The Integration team is a core of integration, with the responsibility of resolving all tech and non-tech cross-team functional issues, including the Scrum team coaching, control of requirements, and inspection of procedures, standards and other imperatives related to the broader scope of project goals. That way, integration responsibilities take precedence over other duties, such as those of the individual Scrum teams.

“For an agile organization experienced in Scrum, it is the logical choice to handle larger initiatives with multiple interconnected projects,” suggests Brad Touesnard, Founder and CEO of SpinupWP. “Nexus adds an extra layer of coordination to the project structure to ensure quality outcomes.”

Nexus Framework In Software Development

Pros

“We found that Nexus helped us to overcome common scaling challenges by reducing cross-team dependencies, encouraging team self-management and ensuring accountability,” recognizes Brad Touesnard, Founder and CEO of SpinupWP. “In particular, Nexus highlighted our dependencies, allowing us to make the necessary changes to process, product structure and communication structure to eliminate them.”

  • Nexus is a so-called “extension,” which is very similar to Scrum itself, being easily understandable and adaptable to current Scrum teams and skilled practitioners.
  • There is an additional layer of oversight and guidance provided by Nexus. At the same time, however, it’s acting much the same as a regular Scrum. In fact, Nexus is just another round of meetings supporting each Sprint right before their regular counterparts (for example, Nexus Sprint planning goes before the one for Scrum).
  • Nexus is not only familiar but also lightweight and adaptable. These qualities provide each Nexus project with a simple implementation perspective while leaving the door open for adjusting the rest of the practical details over time to perfectly fit the most specific needs of the project.

Cons

“The main disadvantage of Nexus framework is its limitation to 9 Scrum teams, not more (100 practitioners maximum). Nexus doesn’t involve the whole organization of the company. This is a true problem because a lot of organizations encounter some trouble integrating Agile in their company,” says Olivia Tan of CocoFax.

  • When your Scrum teams feel the lack of “maturity,” there will be a much higher risk of misaligned coordination. In other words, Nexus can be a big challenge for those who are still learning or feel less than comfortable with Scrum.
  • As laid out by Scrum.org, the Nexus approach is limited to a maximum of 9 teams (or something around 100 practitioners per product). Meaning that within a single company, there could be a number of groups implemented.
  • Nexus might be a “widescreen” Nexus, without necessarily encompassing the whole company, only people and teams designated to the extended Nexus project. Broader collaboration (coordination) could face difficulties, for example, when not everyone can deal with Scrum or Agile principles as intended.

SEE ALSO: “There needs to be a way to make Kubernetes more approachable and manageable”

In Conclusion

In terms of Nexus, being able to produce integrated work is the key to success. As the work progresses, the state of integration is monitored at least once a day. And the retrieved data provides an input for the Scrum teams and their daily re-planning meetings. The Nexus integration team should be responsible for providing each and every Scrum team with all the necessary tools, guidelines and support. Ultimately, to successfully drive their software integration right to completion.

Author

Alexander Skalabanov

Alexander Skalabanov is the co-founder and CEO of Intellectsoft, the technology partner of Fortune 500 organizations. With deep roots in software engineering, Alexander leads the team behind innovative software solutions in the healthcare, fintech, construction and hospitality sectors. As a technology visionary, he is an active investor and mentor to startups.

Alexander introduces the Nexus Scrum Framework and explains how to reduce cross-team dependencies, deal with complex deliveries, and mitigate risks that affect several teams.


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