What scaling agile frameworks are available?

As agile has developed over the last 10-15 years, questions have arisen around how you scale when you get a number of teams working on the same product. There are several scaling agile frameworks designed to help to solve the problem of numerous teams working across the same or closely linked products. Using our own experience and a number of different source materials we have collated a list of the top four scaling agile frameworks, based on market share; including their strengths and weaknesses and the agile frameworks they are suited to.

SAFe

SAFe offers 4 configurations:

  • Full – the most comprehensive for large integrated solutions of 100+ people.
  • Large – is for enterprises that are building large and complex solutions, which do not require the portfolio layer.
  • Portfolio – provides portfolio strategy and investment funding, agile portfolio operations, and lean governance.
  • Essential – this is the simplest and covers program and team level activities.

Compatible agile frameworks: XP, Kanban, Scrum.

Strengths:

  • Highly structured and prescriptive.
  • Quarterly planning cycles.
  • Market leader, plenty of support available.
  • Recognised qualifications.
  • Applies to other management layers.

Cautions

  • Highly structured and prescriptive.
  • Lacks flexibility.
  • Considered to lack agility.
  • Significant investment.
  • Requires little structural change.

Find out more here https://www.scaledagileframework.com/

LeSS

Large Scale Scrum offers two different frameworks for scaling agile.

  • LeSS focuses on directing the team’s attention onto the product as a whole rather than on individual parts. LeSS is designed for up to eight teams, each with eight people on it.
  • LeSS Huge is designed to work for up to a few thousand people working on a product.

Compatible agile frameworks: Scrum.

Strengths:

  • Simple to use.
  • Easy to understand.
  • Move from component teams to feature teams.
  • Recognised qualifications.

Cautions

  • Limited to scaling Scrum only.
  • Criticisms of Scrum for not supporting start-up activities apply.
  • Requires significant structural change.

Find out more here https://less.works

DAD

The Disciplined Agile Delivery framework provides guidance that helps organisations streamline processes and provides a foundation for business agility. It shows organisations how different business activities interact with each other. Disciplined Agile Delivery explains what those activities need to address and provides options for doing that.

Compatible agile frameworks: XP, Kanban, Scrum.

Strengths:

  • Flexible based on recommendations.
  • Considers different lifecycles.
  • Applies to product initiation and deployment.
  • Recognised qualifications.

Cautions

  • Not mainstream.
  • Can be a bit vague.

Find out more here https://disciplinedagileconsortium.org/

Nexus

Nexus is a framework based on Scrum and is used for scaling Scrum. The framework guides multiple Scrum teams on how to work together to deliver results in every sprint. It uses an iterative and incremental approach to scaled software development.

Compatible agile frameworks: Scrum.

Strengths:

  • Simple to use.
  • Recognised qualifications.

Cautions

  • Limited to scaling Scrum only.
  • Not mature.
  • Hard to read.

Find out more here https://www.scrum.org/resources/scaling-scrum

Other scaling frameworks available (in no particular order)

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