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Organize your team with an Agile scaling frameworks comparison

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Select a framework to scale Agile across the enterprise

Source:  Getty Images
Designer: Linda Koury

Scrum, Extreme Programming and Kanban are ways to coordinate work across a single Agile software development team. However, larger Agile projects encounter problems these methods don't address. For several IT organizations, a project relies on the coordinated work of four, eight, perhaps 20 teams.

Scrum and Kanban don't provide guidance on how to release work across teams at the end of a sprint. Nor do they address planning at scale or portfolio management. They don't deal with priorities, dependencies, coordination or change management.

This is where Agile scaling frameworks come in. Enterprise Agile and business frameworks extend these team-based product development methodologies, such as Scrum and Kanban, to the multiple-team setups that management requires when it comes to complex software delivery. This means organizations can scale Agile to program- and portfolio-level coordination.

The most popular frameworks are Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Large Scale Scrum, Disciplined Agile Delivery, Basecamp and Sustainable Cultural Agile Release in the Enterprise (SCARE). Alternatively, you can scale Agile without any frameworks at all, with the aptly named #NoFrameworks approach. Each of these six methods to scale Agile have distinct pros and cons, enumerated on the following slides.

Differing levels of commitment

Different Agile scaling frameworks require different levels of organizational commitment. SAFe, for example, enables freedom of action for you to pick and choose next steps from the toolbox. But, to actually use SAFe, enterprises must spin up an entire release train at a time, and adhere to specific roles and responsibilities. True SAFe implementation requires a significant organization-wide commitment. Large Scale Scrum is a little freewheeling, while Disciplined Agile Delivery is more open and conceptual. On the other hand, Sustainable Cultural Agile Release in the Enterprise requires bold, decisive action.

Software development organizations can scale Agile in any manner that they prefer. They can pick and choose the most appropriate parts of each, but that choice requires significant expertise. Just because a framework works for someone else doesn't mean it will solve your problems. Choose, and adapt, wisely.

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