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Organisations can do more with LeSS

07-Aug-2020 14:12:00 Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) Scaling Agile
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We are living and working in an ever more rapidly changing world, in this blog I will start to explore how organisations can do more with LeSS.




In the years up to 2020, many organisations have had to be willing to adapt for survival to accommodate:

  • New technologies
  • Increasingly demanding customers in terms of their expectations of products and services
  • Customers who have a greater ability to switch to a competitor's service/product
  • The globalisation of products, services, and workforces


2020 has seen unprecedented change.  The world has truly become VUCA -  Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous.  A few organisations are very likely to thrive, most others will need to adapt rapidly to new conditions and it is likely they will need to do this with less people and less money.


To be able to survive in this environment organisations need to be:

  • More adaptive to customers needs
  • More responsive to the changing environment
  • Quicker and smarter in decision making
  • More innovative in product development


I have been leading and training organisations in Scrum for several years, I love Scrum, I do really love Scrum. I think it's the best framework for agile product development. Among many things, it creates motivated teams who are focused on delivering the product customers actually need in an empirical way. The Scrum Alliance however has the larger vision of 'Transforming the world of work®' which is much more than getting some teams to develop their products using Scrum.


Maybe, to get whole organisations to become more adaptive, customer focussed and empirical we need to apply scrum thinking to the whole organisation.  


Organisations can be very slow to react to the changing environment, think of organisations as a huge tanker ship.  When an iceberg is on the horizon the tanker ship which can take miles to change direction is too slow to react and makes a collision. Instead our organisations need to be more like a flotilla of speed boats, nimble and precise enough to quickly react and avoid collisions.  Agile Organisations must nimble, and able to innovate faster than their competitors to survive.


I remember my first encounter with LeSS back in 2016 was a training class with Craig Larman and I’ve never forgotten the phrase Craig used, he said organisations need to be able to - “turn on a dime for a dime”.


LeSS takes what I love about 1 team Scrum and applies that thinking to all teams on a whole product and the organisation.  LeSS is Scrum.  LeSS is a scaling framework and guides us how to enable product development work at scale, but LeSS offers a lot more.


While LeSS scales Scrum to large products, it also creates conditions for descaling your organisation.  What do I mean by de-scaling? Well, LeSS does not introduce unnecessary roles and processes into your organisation that may slow decision making and innovation. Actually lean thinking would have us remove unnecessary processes and hand offs.  Instead, LeSS creates conditions for transforming to a lean organisation that is product-focused and nimble so organisations can be responsive to ever-increasing customer needs and the changing environment.


So what is LeSS?

The LeSS framework is the rules for LeSS, this is underpinned by a set of principles.  The principles are: 

  • Large scale scrum is scrum
  • More with less
  • Systems thinking
  • Lean thinking
  • Empirical process control
  • Transparency
  • Continuous improvement towards protection
  • Customer-centric
  • Whole product Focus
  • Queuing Theory

Supporting the principles and framework there are also a set of guides that give you the best way to do things and a set of experiments that have been run that you may wish to run in your context.


LeSS is product-focused, it has a single product owner for each product which ensures that the product development is aligned and focused on the needs of the customer and therefore the business.


It is truly my belief that if you adopt Scrum for small product teams and/or Large Scale Scrum for your bigger products and organisation you can result in an organisation that is not only focused on delivering the best value to your customer, but also an organisation which is not burdened with unnecessary roles and processes leading to an organisation that can truly be Agile, nimble, adaptive to the changing environment and - as Craig says - can turn on a dime for a dime. 


Is it this easy? Well, Scrum is easy to understand and difficult to implement, LeSS even more so.  Change is difficult.


If you're interested in large scale scrum attend one of my LeSS Friendly Certified ScrumMaster® or Certified Product Owner® Classes, and follow it with a Certified LeSS Basics class.  Do both and it will cost LeSS - i.e contact us for a discount.


See our LeSS basics schedule


Alex Gray

Alex Gray

Alex is a professional, versatile and enthusiastic Lean & Agile Trainer/Coach with 20 year’s experience in varied IT projects and roles. A member of the BCS Agile Expert Panel, and an author of the BCS Foundation in Agile Practices syllabus, examination and course materials. Read more