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John Deere: SAFe Case Study

In 2006, a few teams at ISG started experimenting with Agile development. Chad Holdorf and Steve Harty were two of the early adopters. Chad described it this way:
“I remember being asked one day by Mano Mannoochahr, ISG Manager of Global Solutions Engineering, if I knew anything about Agile or Scrum. I replied ‘nope’.” Mano said, “Well then, it’s time you learned. I’d like you to lead the desktop teams (North America and India) and use Scrum.”


Steve Harty, ISG Program Manager (and now) Release Train Manager, commented: “We knew we needed to increase our speed to market while keeping our budget and resources static. Moving our team to Scrum was scary, challenging, and liberating, all at the same time. Scrum was ‘our little secret’ that helped move our delivery time timeframe from 12-18 months to 2-4 weeks. Plus, our engineering teams were happier and customer satisfaction went up.”

  • If we collocate testers with devs, what happens to the independent quality assurance function
  • Without requirements, how will we even know what we are supposed to test?
  • What will engineering and test managers do if the teams are empowered and self-organizing?
  • How will the factories react to our Agile plans? What about our continued need for long-term commitments to support new vehicle rollouts?
  • What do architects do in agile? What happens to our architecture?
  • Will software capitalization change, and if so, how
  • Will this even work with our Enterprise Product Delivery Process (stage-gated governance model)
  • What is all this write-the-test-first stuff anyway? That seems kinda stupid. And, are we going to have to do pair programming? What if we don’t want to?
  • How do 10-20-30 or more Agile teams coordinate their activities? How can great solutions possibly emerge from all this potential entropy?

Case Study: SAFe at John Deere

VeSecurity: LeSS Adoption for a Safety & Security Management Product

The product in question is a solution that allows managing the safety and security aspect of a big area such as a mall or an airport. It integrates different elements such as video cameras, door sensors, smoke detectors and more. By monitoring these, the security departments can do efficient real-time incident management such as for a security breach or a fire.

About 1.5 years after working in the organization I accidentally bumped into the person who was leading the product group. My first question to him was, “How is it going? How is it working for you?” The answer he gave was, “It’s hard, but it’s magnificent”. Later that year I was contacted by him again, he got a new role, leading a new division and now wants to start a LeSS adoption in his new division as well.


But this time, we won’t try managers as ScrumMasters ;)

A former Zappos manager explains how her job changed after the company got rid of bosses

Zappos has spent almost a year fully operating under Holacracy, a unique self-management system that gets rid of traditional manager roles and job titles.

Last March, the online retailer's CEO, Tony Hsieh, told employees that they could either embrace self-management or leave with a severance package. He'd begun implementing the system two years before, but a couple hundred employees had yet to switch over, and he felt that it was time to "rip the Band-Aid off." Ultimately, 260 people, or 18% of the company, decided to take the offer and quit.

Decision Making at the Teal Level

Decision-making mechanisms in self-managing organizations In Teal organizations decision-making is highly distributed. 

We often imagine decisions can be made in only two ways: either by the person with authority (someone calls the shots; some people might be frustrated; but at least things get done), or by consensus (everyone gets a say, but it can be frustratingly slow). It is a misunderstanding that self-management decisions are made by consensus.


The advice seeker must take all advice into consideration, but can still make the decision. Ownership stays clearly with one person: the decision maker. Convinced she made the best possible decision, she can see things through with enthusiasm.

Read about the Advice Process

How to Scale the Product Owner

Roman Pichler, the author of several books including the "Agile Product Management with Scrum" has recently wrote a blog post on scaling Product Ownership.

Roman says:


"In theory, the product owner is one person. But in practice, managing a larger, complex product is usually a shared effort. But how can product ownership be split without resulting in decisions by committee and creating a weak or even inconsistent product? In this post, I discuss different techniques to help you scale the product owner role successfully and I explain when each technique should be applied."

The Third Wave of Agile

"The objective of the third wave is to transform how we charter, lead and manage Agile orgs."


The third wave of Agile is here. It is offering us an opportunity to adopt and expand business


Agility throughout the marketplace, transforming in its wake how today’s organizations operate, succeed… and fail. The result to be seen is fully Agile companies with enduring cultures of continuous organizational learning driven by Agile leadership, values and principles.

Download the Studies of SolutionsIQ

Alignment at Scale – slides from Agile Africa keynote by Kniberg

Slides by Henrik Kniberg is live since few weeks (end of August 2016).

Demystifying Large-Scale Scrum

Large-Scale Scrum, aka LeSS, falls on the simpler-side of the scaling techniques spectrum. The basic framework consists of 9 events, 3 roles, 3 artefacts.


Minimal elements are added once you go beyond 8 teams. It is this simplicity that makes the approach very effective, and yet also polarising. Let’s go through the framework in more detail.

Scrum at Scale - video

Jeff Sutherland (a co-founder of Scrum) speaks about his patterns behind scaling Scrum.

Enterprise Scrum Introduction

Mike Beedle has just released a preview of key concepts from his new book in Enterprise Scrum.

As Mike puts it:
"Enterprise Scrum is an adaptation and extension of Scrum based on abstraction, generalization, and parameterization; that can be used in a scaled generic way for any management purpose."

How about Portfolio Management?

An organization that adopts LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum) does not need portfolio management in the form we usually know it. 

Organizational descaling that comes along with LeSS removes the need for project, program and portfolio management.

How Product-Centric IT Disrupts Portfolio Management

One of the key functions of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) in IT is that of allocating finite funds to a subset of projects that vie for funding. 

When it works well, PPM becomes an effective agent of capital allocation within enterprise IT by funding promising projects and terminating underperforming ones. This is not very different to how a venture capitalist might manage their portfolio by investing.

Scaling Agility or Bureaucracy

There are two very different strategies in adopting Agile in a large organisation, horizontal or vertical. In other words, you may take one product first with narrow and deep focus. Or you may focus on the vertical coordination layer, which is often perceived as The Scaling Problem.

A Horror Story: Efficiency is Killing Productivity

Efficiency in organisations has become counterproductive!


In the name of efficiency, organisations are paying more attention to who to blame in case they fail than creating the conditions to succeed.


Efficiency is what is killing productivity! Organisations are wasting human intelligence by setting up this kind of mental contracts, layers and interfaces!

First Large Scale Scrum Conference

In this conference there are

  • Experiments and Experience
  • Teams and Communities
  • Less Booths - More Practitioners

Join it for two days of sharing and learning about Scrum at scale in Amsterdam 30-31 August 2016.