Scrum Doesn’t Work for Big Companies. How True Is That?
Understanding how Scrum varies in different companies’ sizes.
Originally published in GoRetro
Scrum isn’t scalable. Whenever I hear that, I feel a strong punch in my guts. Yet, this perception is growing in the minds of many people. Too many people doubt Scrum can work in organizations with dozens or hundreds of teams. Within this assumption, they long for scaled agile frameworks. And there you go straight to the waterfall mindset.
Is it true Scrum doesn’t work for more than a handful of teams?
Do organizations have no choice but to use a scaled (fake) agile framework?
What’s the difference between Scrum with one, ten, and a hundred teams?
Teams will be trapped or empowered depending on how you answer such questions. I’ve experienced the two sides of the same coin and understood what leads to traps or empowerment.
Let me share what I learned about the differences between Scrum in different organization sizes, how to scale it properly, and the common traps ahead of you.
Everything Starts with Solid Foundations
Some time ago, I had the pleasure of joining an early-stage start-up. We were small and had opted to use Scrum. Our objective was clear: prove market fit. Yet, time wasn’t on our side. With a seed investment, we had limited time to convince more investors to fund us, or we’d run out of money.
Our Scrum team was cross-functional, as we had all the required disciplines to create value in every Sprint. I won’t lie to you. We screwed several Sprints before figuring out how to function as a team. After that, we were in the flow, Sprint after Sprint, we got better, and our output resonated with clients and created valuable outcomes. How did we get to this stage? I better tell you what slowed us down first:
- Too much attention to how: In the beginning, we were just a group of people working together, not a team. We put our attention into “how” questions. We strived to have…