Large Scale Scrum LeSS as Advanced Scrum Master
After spending a bit of time going through the newest (and simplest) LeSS book (Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS), participating in Craig Larman’s Certified LeSS Practitioner workshop, and now applying its principles and guides with companies adopting Scrum (or more accurately, trying again at an agile transformation), I’d like to share a few epiphanies.
- Simplest way to understand what LeSS is – consider Large Scale Scrum LeSS as Advanced Scrum Master. Although there is a lot of ideas in LeSS, be sure that LeSS is Scrum. It’s not adding a bunch of roles and artifacts. It’s deepening the understanding of principles that make Scrum so powerful, even at scale. It’s just that the two day Certified ScrumMaster workshop doesn’t have time to go in depth into these 10 principles. The CSM is a starting point for a single, co-located, cross-functional, non-matrixed team. Is that what you have? If not, how are you tackling those problems? LeSS provides the guides and experiments to try out, but without going away from the simplicity of Scrum.
- Scrum changes the way we work, but we didn’t change the workplace. Commonly the org chart looks the same after a company says it “went agile,” as it was before. But let’s be honest – if my job as a Project Manager was to make sure requirements were clear and to keep the project on track, who does that work now in Scrum? The Product Owner and the Product Development Team. Or when I was a manager, part of my job was to make sure my people were busy and were working on the right thing. A manager doesn’t need to do that now in Scrum. So, what does the Project Manager and Manager do now in Scrum? Well, there’s a whole section of the LeSS workshop and the book on that (https://less.works/less/
management/index.html), and it’s a huge help. At a current client, they are having conversations about existing roles, titles and positions that were previously met with fear, uncertainly, doubt and resistance, and they are welcoming change (sending them to the Certified Agile Leadership helped as well).
This lead-by-example approach of leadership and management sends a powerful message to all the Scrum teams – “We really mean it this time – things are really changing.” Why? Because we all see management changing.
More on this later, but let us know if you’d like to hear more about LeSS, the organizational change and simplification that Scrum brings, and how to help guide that process along.