- Can data help our teams improve? If so, what kind of data?
- How do we responsibly use this data?
- Can metrics help the teams and the organization embrace a culture of experimentation?
- Data isn’t enough. How can we tie it to the motivations and passions of our team members?
Words are hard. They shouldn’t be, but they are. We each internalize a definition of a word, and more oft than not, our internal definition conflicts with someone else’s. Even ancient Greek philosophers like Epictetus faced this problem offering this advice:
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
Today, let’s talk about two words I see organizations and individuals struggle with: process and efficiency.
In my experience, these are terrible words. Of course, they didn’t start as terrible. They began as respectable words. After all, wouldn’t we want efficient teams? And shouldn’t we manage our chaotic environments by adhering to some process? Perhaps. Unfortunately, their definitions vary so widely from one person to the next that I do my best to avoid them all together.
We’ve begun experimenting with Large-Scale Scrum, or LeSS, and thus far, it’s been an interesting journey. I eluded to this experiment with LeSS in Two Principles for Scaling Any Agile Approach, and I also gave a bit of background into where we are in our agile evolution. The abridged version is we’re several years into a Lean Startup, XP, and Scrum adoption. Read more here.
To be clear, my thoughts today are simply my initial impressions. We’re six weeks into our experiment with LeSS so we’ve hardly dipped our toe in the water. It’s possible that months from now our perspectives and challenges will change. With that in mind, let’s begin with what’s worked well.
Today, I wanted to talk about Large Scale Scrum, or LeSS. We’ve begun experimenting with it in our organization, and I wanted to share my experiences thus far. However, I felt I couldn’t. It felt premature. Before I could tell that story, I first needed to explain where we are, how we got there, and what motivated us to scale our agile approach.
However, I don’t suspect that’s a very interesting story for many of you. Why should you care about a 100-person start up in Silicon Valley? We’re not you, and you’re not here. The context, the mindsets, and the people vary from one company to another, right? What stays constant, however, are some simple principles so that’s where we’ll begin.