When working towards Agile at Scale, multiple small, cross-functional, autonomous, self-managing teams are proven to outperform large, functionally segregated, hierarchical teams when working on a single product or initiative. However, not all teams will want to work in the same way, nor should they. Different types of work require different Agile techniques.
The Scrum form of Agile is excellent for creating and delivering something new. The iterative plan-do-inspect-adapt nature of Scrum is perfect for working on something that’s never been done or at least never been attempted by your organization. Fast feedback loops allow for fast failures and new knowledge gained from previous sprints. When there’s uncertainty as to how a goal will be achieved, whether it’s a software feature or an entirely new product, Scrum is ideal.
On the other hand, teams that are delivering something that’s been created, fixed or done before don’t necessarily need or even want the overhead that comes with Scrum. Planning, review and retrospective meetings on a required cyclical basis will only slow them down and also slow down the flow of value being delivered to the customer. In the case of a highly repeatable and defined process, whether it be closing support tickets, creating art assets or any other well understood flow, Kanban is the right choice. Kanban focuses teams on managing and optimizing flow instead of scheduling people, assigning tasks and setting due dates.
When scaling up Agile to teams of teams, even when those teams are using different techniques it’s important to have big picture overview and alignment. It’s also typically necessary to make use of a collaboration and planning app such as Favro. With Favro, an organization can go from a single Agile team to hundreds or even thousands of teams. Favro’s dashboard collections provide an aggregate real-time view of multiple teams’ backlogs and boards — either Scrum boards or Kanban boards. Product Owners, Product Managers, Program Managers and Stakeholders see the high-level status and can drive business initiatives from the dashboard collections. Each individual team has their collection with only what they need to look at to stay focused, typically just their backlog and flow board.
Whether an organization grows and scales up Agile from the beginning or a sizable existing organization is making a transition to Agile it might not make sense for all aspects of the business to work in small Agile teams. Specific functions such as finance and facilities might continue to work traditionally. Regardless, to not hinder Agile teams with the status quo, the entire organization must adopt an Agile mindset, adhering to Agile values and principles. Also, for the organization as a whole to collaborate at the speed facilitated by Agile, having everyone work in the same collaboration and planning app is a significant competitive advantage. Favro once again promotes this with department specific collections, even for functions working more conventionally. Favro provides a single source of truth and organization-wide transparency, which can be fine-tuned if need be.