Small Scale Agile Manifesto

Agile Manifesto is an umbrella term that describes and governs several light-weight and fuller Agile methodologies to handle IT teams and projects. Scrum, Kanban, Lean Development, Crystal and Extreme Programming (XP) are among the most popular and light-weight Agile approaches.

While Small Scale Scrum fits into Agile Manifesto, it’s believed that some of the additional values would complement the Agile Manifesto and enhance it for smaller teams. These additional values include:

Wider communication over narrow communication

Having narrow communication with the manager in any project is important and needs to be standalone, but it’s wider communication that offers more value. Wider communication would involve all stakeholders as team member is Product Owner, ScrumMaster and the team in one. Excellence through application of best principles in every team-team or team-customer communication is very important. Therefore, time for preparation before meetings to best accommodate changes and ensure productive outcome of each interaction should be encouraged. Communication can be enabled via preferred communication channels to quickly and effectively create a welcoming environment.

Team feature delivery over individual responsibility

Individual responsibility of team members for delivering single features is important and is considered as a standard and standalone practice across software projects. Members of small teams, however, are expected to have much broader involvement in the project lifecycle and therefore their attention need to be focused on taking mutual responsibility for delivering work items. In this approach, teamwork plays an important role with team members working together as a single unit to ensure success of the project from the bottom up. This can be achieved with some common techniques including support for remote team members, fair workload, pair programming, code review, shadowing.

Quality delivery over speed of development

Rapid development and high quality delivery are well known expectations in every customer engagement. While speed of development is important, quality delivery has much greater impact on success of the project. For continuous success, team members need to focus on delivering quality. Investing time in quality development and testing with the use of quality assurance techniques, tools, mentoring and training can help the team to continuously excel.

Multiple project responsibilities over fixed assignment

Fixed project responsibility is important and is generally practiced but for small scale teams the real value is in taking additional roles within reason so that software developer becomes frontend developer, backend developer, quality engineer or UI designer. The idea behind this approach is to ensure that the small team is self-sufficient as much as possible. For small teams to adopt multiple responsibilities, workload needs to be fair and project’s processes need to be streamlined. This can be achieved by continuously reviewing and improving work conditions and simplifying processes to help the team to focus on delivering. Additionally, coaching should be introduced to provide team members with guidelines to help them improve their skills.

Accelerating innovation over marginal request driven thinking

Request driven thinking in enterprise engagements is important but it’s innovation that customers value the most. Planting innovation is critical to get the team and customers to think outside of the project’s sole requirements so that they can envision the final solution with the most creative and optimal architectures, requirements and designs.

Customer growth over customer engagement

A successful customer engagement is very important for success of every project, but it’s not sufficient for building and maintaining a strong and successful relationship with the customer. For small teams, it’s important to approach business engagement from the customer’s business success perspective. Growth or creation of the customer’s business through the use of software solutions is the customers highest priority, and should also be the highest priority of the team.


Next: Small Scale Scrum Framework

From “Small Scale Scrum: A Framework for Successful Implementation of the Scrum Methodology for Small Sized Teams” by Agnieszka Gancarczyk and under the supervision of Dr Leigh Griffin.