Serious Scrum
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Serious Scrum

Why most scaling frameworks are a fad that will blow over

The cautionary tale of the Spotify model

An example of a fad I never understood — Image by Robin Higgins

Why do scaling frameworks in practice often not fix the problems they promise to solve?

Well, I don’t believe there is a single, simple answer to this question. But I do believe there are a couple of important reasons that together explain why many scaling frameworks are doomed to fail by design.

1. Adherence to the framework becomes the default solution to all problems

Scaling frameworks shift the attention from solving the issues we’re experiencing to following the rules of the framework to a tee. The logic goes, if we’re still experiencing issues after introducing a scaling framework, then we must be doing something wrong in our implementation of the framework.

2. Copy-pasting a scaling framework prevents learning from experience

The more prescriptive the scaling framework (e.g., SAFe), the more it conflicts with the empirical core of Scrum. What works in one context, might not work in another context. You can only figure this out by trying out things and evaluating if they truly work.

3. The whole point of Scrum is that it is purposefully incomplete

The whole point of Scrum is for you to invent your own rules to deliver value. This includes any scaling problems you will experience as your organization grows. If you can’t solve your scaling problems on your own, maybe you shouldn’t be using Scrum. It’s a clear sign you aren’t able to handle the process framework philosophy behind Scrum.

Do all scaling frameworks offer a lazy and destructive auto-pilot guiding you towards scaling failure?

Now, I can’t claim to have experience with all scaling frameworks, to support the position that all scaling frameworks are lazy and destructive, like a fad diet. There are examples of scaling frameworks that try to do it right. LeSS (Large Scale Scrum), as the acronym already implies, is light-weight and acknowledges there never will be a one size fits all solution.



Content by and for Scrum Practitioners.

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