Mirror mirror on the wall (3 of 4)
  • John Coleman

Mirror mirror on the wall (3 of 4)

Updated: Nov 6, 2018

Hopefully you read the 1st post in this series at https://www.ace.works/blog/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-1-of-4 and my 2nd post at https://www.ace.works/blog/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-2-of-4



directions of travel


We might even want to "flip the organization" from a functional delivery organization to a cross-functional organization that can "turn on a dime for a dime":

  • changing from a functional organization to a cross-functional organization via Nexus & Scrum Studio or Large Scale Scrum (LeSS).

  • changing how work is financed, perhaps using Beyond Budgeting, also moving from individual performance management through team performance management to organization performance management

  • moving to small bets and reducing complexity by "taking a bite"

  • moving to an experimentation mindset to the extent that the above frameworks would be Shu level, while continuous improvement to an almost impossible perfection vision would help us to evolve/revolve to Ha and Ri levels. That is, the final article would not even closely resemble a framework.

  • slower but deeper agility, resulting in adaptiveness - (agility, cheap & easy change) because (A) we are all poor at predicting what will hit the mark and be great value for customers so we need to cheaply & easily adapt to discover our way. and (B) the outside world changes (competitors, technologies, ...). so we need to cheaply adapt for that. courtesy of Craig Larman

  • at this stage, requirements get clarified directly with customers and end-users rather than through proxies acting as the voice of the customer

I compared many multi-team patterns recently at "Mirror Mirror on the Wall...". For a more up to date comparison of Nexus and LeSS, see How do Nexus and LeSS differ at https://www.ace.works/blog/struggling-with-scaling-what-can-nexus-and-less-offer. Note that "parallel universe" is only one of LeSS adoption strategies.


LeSS demonstrates breadth and depth, and has plenty of case studies. LeSS has a high bar in terms of entry criteria. I would say aim for LeSS and if you cannot do LeSS, try Nexus & Scrum Studio. How do you grow deep agility ? Personally, I would try "parallel universe" that grows over time like the strangler pattern or build up "satellites of goodness" that over time eliminate Theory X thinking. One could also try Toyota Kata over a larger population to establish goodness over time.





credit to Rob Patton for the "satellite" idea at my London PSK class on 21 Sep 2018

My strategy for huge & old contexts with a tidal wave of appetite for shallow agility (functional organization still rules) with pockets of appetite to "flip the system"(cross-functional organization), is Broad and Deep agility (BaDa) (see Broad & Shallow and Deep & Narrow). They are what they say on the tin. Broad & Shallow is broad & shallow; we can capture enthusiasm but stick to the functional organization as such. Deep & Narrow flips the org to a cross-functional org, potentially measuring the org in different ways, potentially funding work in different ways. I use a Broad & Shallow pattern like Nexus for up to 81 teams (Nexus of Nexus), and a Deep & Narrow pattern like LeSS or Nexus with Scrum Studio for less than 50 people at a time maybe months apart. My Broad & Deep agility strategy (BaDa) is a holding pattern to encourage adherence to true agility even if we're also focusing of going really deep with some teams. Note that one could also take on more than 50 people with LeSS Huge; sometimes one has to do that.


Why do I think a holding pattern is needed in a huge context with huge appetite for agility? I find that communities alone are not enough to avoid the onset of Zombie Scrum in a huge context while going Deep & Narrow with 50 people at a time (could take 6 months to get up and running properly). Unless the people in your organization are very disciplined, and can operate based on values & principles alone, most people need rules. Rules normally manifest themselves as frameworks.


While I apply lots of attention to (up to) 50 volunteering (not volunteered) people at a time with Deep & Narrow, I need to know the teams not in that footprint are not imploding into Zombie Scrum. Enter Nexus & Scaled Professional Scrum; they're so easy to get started with and the rules are simple. I can worry less (forgive the pun) about teams that use Scaled Professional Scrum and Nexus, while still providing the support that they need.

Nexus with Scrum Studio can also go Deep & Narrow, just like LeSS. Why does one even need Deep & Narrow? Well unless "#AgileFrameworksSuck" works for you, I find that while the functional organization still rules, once the change energy abates (usually through early declaration of victory by NoNos), there tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy for agility to disimprove. Listen to Jeff Sutherland and Darrell Rigby talk about that very topic in their June 2018 podcast.


Or, maybe just go back to the Agile Manifesto? Let's talk about that in the next post.


See also:

  • When is SAFe safe? - http://www.valueglide.com/blog/when-is-safe-not-safe

  • Nexus - http://www.valueglide.com/blog/nexus-nexus-and-scrum.org-certifications

  • 50 lightbulb moments about LeSS - http://www.valueglide.com/blog/50-light-bulb-moments-at-large-scale-scrum-practitioner-training

  • See also my post on Broad & Shallow vs Deep & Narrow at https://www.ace.works/blog/broad-shallow-or-deep-narrow-the-false-dichotomy



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