- Have you gone through agile training? I’ve had a number of managers attend my Certified ScrumMaster class in order to understand fundamentally how Scrum works and the benefits, challenges and impact of making the change. But as of last year, the Scrum Alliance offers the Certified Agile Leadership workshop that focusses on how the role of management changes, how to influence the organization’s culture, and how to group personally as a leader.
- Are your company’s reasons for going to agile clear and agreed upon by the rest of leadership? Are there a few clear, realistic and measurable wins you’re looking for that everyone in the organization sees and understands? Don’t go agile for the sake of going agile. Change is hard, and with no clear goal it will just thrash people and groups.
- Do you spend time with the teams? Do you attend the demos? Observe the stand-ups? Too often, agile is seen as an IT change, and management hardly shows it’s face, much less be involved, or (ideally) LEAD the change effort. With it relegated and localized to IT only, business continues to operate as normal, locking down (unclear) requirements up front, throwing them over the wall to IT, and waiting for the timer to go off and the product be delivered. All of this without much collaboration. It’s effectively waterfall with the development phase using sprints, but that’s all. Did waterfall work for you in the past?
Who should take the Certified Agile Leadership course (CAL I)?
What is the value of taking the Certified Agile Leadership course?
Why take the Certified Agile Leadership course?
Although there are significant differences in how change is approached, here are some similarities between SAFe and LeSS, aka, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS).
Similarities Between SAFe and LeSS
- Both SAFe and LeSS address organizing multiple teams in an agile work environment (stating the obvious here, perhaps, but just to be clear 🙂
- Both include a new view of management which is more agile, supporting change, practices, value delivery and developing people
- Both SAFe and LeSS include software craftsmanship/technical excellence practices of continuous integration, test-driven development (TDD), Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD/BDD), test automation, refactoring, pairing.
- Both include Lean Thinking
- Both include Systems Thinking
- Both SAFe and LeSS are based on years of experience, supported by books authored by the originators, and with some community support in refining the approach.
Differences Between SAFe and LeSS
There are significant differences between SAFe and LeSS (which I’ll get into later), but because of those, perhaps:
- One approach tends to work better for given cultures. For instance, at one of our recent coaching engagements, the culture was such that a very structured, planned and coordinated approach was the best direction (SAFe). At another coaching client, the culture is less structured but follows some detailed principles and framework (LeSS) and has taken some time for their leadership group to agree on exactly what that is. With another agile coaching and training customer, the approach was even more open (Open Space), but we’ll save that a for another discussion. Different cultures, different approaches. The leadership at each are quite pleased with the results. Please let us know if you’d like to hear more about their stories.
- SAFe would be an incremental step towards LeSS
- LeSS would have broader support from Scrum trainers, where as SAFe from consultants
- Fewer steps are required to become a SAFe trainer than a LeSS trainer
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Related SAFe and LeSS Articles
I just had yet another meeting with executives in the middle of an agile adoption who felt their project managers were fighting for their individual PM projects (and PM’s were compensated to do so), but the execs knew that the individual projects weren’t equally important.
That Was Then
This Is Now
- Confusion, since the role changed and approximately half the previous workload is gone for project managers and managers
- Reverting to previous behavior, since managers weren’t trained as part of the agile roll-out
- People defending their non-Scrum roles and positions and fighting the change (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs)