Craig Larman, co-creator of LeSS, recently wrote a riveting article about agility now featured on Scrum Alliance Spotlight. The article, entitled “Less Agile or LeSS Agile?” reminds readers of the beginning moments of agile and how this word was selected because it fundamentally described a condition of being able to adapt quickly to change.
About that founding meeting, he quotes Martin Fowler as saying, “We considered a bunch of names, and agreed eventually on “agile” as we felt that captured the adaptiveness and response to change which we felt was so important to our approach.” Larman continues to elaborate on how this agility is not meant to be a practice solely for the purpose of “creating more efficient teams who deliver high-quality faster,” although of course this is a natural outcome when teams are agile.
But he takes the concept to a deeper level. He writes, “I like to say that the goal of agile approaches, including Scrum, is to discover successful solutions by being able to … turn on a dime for a dime.”
Therein lies the beauty of being agile. When we are discovering successful solutions and implementing them quickly, even with very little planning, then we are embracing the fundamental essence of agility.
I had the privilege of attending Scrum.org‘s 2-day seminar on Scaled Professional Scrum. The Nexus, a connection or series of connections linking two or more things (direct translation from Latin a binding together), is the recommended scaling framework. The purpose of the Nexus is to manage dependencies between 3-9 Scrum Teams towards “reification”, to make an abstract idea real or concrete. This is ensured mostly through a single Product Owner, single Product Backlog, integrated (Nexus) Sprint Planning, Review and Retrospective and the addition of a Nexus Integration Team whose membership is made up mostly of Scrum team members internal to the Nexus, but often also includes other support personnel. The structure is very similar to LeSS, but perhaps even less prescriptive and is certainly much less prescriptive than SAFe. This is probably my favourite thing about the Nexus – the fact that it has just enough structure to be a model for scaling Scrum, but is light and flexible enough to accommodate all of the nuances that “just depend” on your situation. Like the other two above-mentioned scaling models, it places emphasis on the need for strong technical practices, continuous integration and the synchronization of events to facilitate integration. There is flexibility around synchronization, in that if the Nexus Sprint is 4 weeks in duration and teams within the Nexus want to do 2 or even 1 week Sprints, the model accommodates – as long as all of the teams’ work is combined into a fully integrated (reified) increment of potentially shippable product by the end of the Nexus Sprint.
Agile Advice was started in 2005. In ten years, we have published over 850 articles (an average of just about 2 per week!). Here are some collections of the ten “best” articles. I hope you enjoy looking back at (or discovering for the first time!) some of the things that have made this such a great joy for me.
Ten Most Popular Agile Advice Articles
- How Two Hours Can Waste Two Weeks (75,000+ visits)
- The Seven Core Practices of Agile Work (25,000+ visits)
- Eight Barriers to Effective Listening (17,000+ visits)
- Seven Essential Teamwork Skills (17,000+ visits)
- 24 Common Scrum Pitfalls Summarized (15,000+ visits)
- Mentoring and Coaching: What is the Difference? (14,000+ visits)
- Wideband Delphi Estimation Technique (14,000+ visits)
- The Pros and Cons of Short Iterations (13,000+ visits)
- Three Concepts of Value Stream Mapping (13,000+ visits)
- Agile Work and the PMBoK Definition of Project (11,000+ visits)
Ten Most Commented Upon Agile Advice Articles
- 24 Common Scrum Pitfalls Summarized (19 comments)
- Agile Becomes Easier with Useful Tools (12 comments)
- Important Words about Scrum and Tools (9 comments)
- The Skills Matrix and Performance Evaluation on Agile Teams (9 comments)
- The Definition of Done is Badly Named (8 comments)
- How Two Hours Can Waste Two Weeks (7 comments)
- Agile is Not Communism (7 comments)
- Agile Tools vs. Agile Books (6 comments)
- The Decline and Fall of Agile and How Scrum Makes it Hurt More (5 comments)
- The Planning Game: an Estimation Method for Agile Teams (5 comments)
I also want to acknowledge that there are a number of other contributors to Agile Advice besides me (Mishkin). These contributors are all experts, all have great experiences, and all are fantastic people to know. I’m grateful for their contributions since they have all made Agile Advice a better place to browse!
Five Most Frequent Contributors (of Articles, besides Mishkin)
- Paul Heidema (34 articles)
- Travis Birch (24 articles)
- Christian Gruber (19 articles)
- Mike Caspar (16 articles)
- Shabnam Tashakour (13 articles)
Plans for the Future – Five Top Ideas for Series
- Essays on each of the Values and Principles of the Agile Manifesto
- Summary articles of several Agile methods including Scrum, OpenAgile, Kanban, Crystal, XP, and others
- Real Agility Program case studies
- Reviews of other scaling / enterprise Agile frameworks such as Disciplined Agile Delivery, Large Scale Scrum, Enterprise Scrum
- New guest articles from thought and practice leaders.