The more I search for articles about scaling Scrum/Agile to programme level, the more I realise how little information there is available. I’ve therefore decided to share my experiences and thoughts in hopes to get the conversation started.
Scrum, XP and RUP can scale to accomodate multiple teams working on one project. Scrum and XP can also scale quite easily to accomodate one team working on multiple projects. Lean can scale to accomodate one team working on multiple projects plus Business As Usual. But, NONE of these approaches are designed to manage portfolios and NONE of these approaches are designed to manage programmes of multiple projects being delivered by multiple teams.
So, the following questions are justified:
- What is Agile ?
- What is ?
- Is it possible to efficiently and effectively manage a Programme of Projects in an Agile way?
I firmly belive that there is such a concept as Agile Programme Management. I don’t think it is a million miles away from a project-level implementation of Scrum, however there are a few key differences/additions required to help it scale.
Some of the key challenges shared by Programme Managers, Portfolio Managers and Product Managers responsible for multiple, loosely-related projects are as follows:
- Limited face-to-face time with senior managers & decision makers
- Identification and management of cross-portfolio dependencies
- Identification and management of cross-portfolio risks
- Consolidation of multiple release plans
- Consolidation of multiple product backlogs
- Cross-team dependency management
- Programme-level resource management
- Programme-level financial planning (Capital Budget/Operational Budget)
Without effective management, it is very easy for Cost, Risk and Complexity to increase exponentially as the number of Projects, Teams and Stakeholders increases. By embedding Agile ideals at a programme level, it is possible to reduce programme complexity and risk.
My experience to date also suggests that by implementing Agile Programme Management practices, one can further- increase agility, ROI and overall reliability. Bonus!
For more information on how Agile Programme Managemement can further increase flexibility, output and value creation, read on: Agile Programme Management Increases Flexibility
- Introducing the Agile Epic Board (agile101.net)
- Agile Programme Management and Epic Boards (agile101.net)
- Lean, Scrum, Scrum of Scrums and Epic Boards (agile101.net)
- Agile PMO (betterprojects.net)
- Kanban (limitedwipsociety.org)
- The Agile PMO – Sanjiv Augustine – Presentation from 2009 Scrum Gathering (lithespeed.blogspot.com)
- The Lean-Agile PMO – Sanjiv Augustine, Roland Cuellar (ccspace.com)