SPRING 2016  • top reading

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An Agile Scaling Tour - a summary of a conference talk by John Okoro

John Okoro of Auspicious Agile gave a talk at the Agile Tour Bangkok comparing the various scaling models prevalent in the marketplace today. He titled the talk “An Agile Scaling Tour”.

This article highlights the key differences and characteristics of the most known scaling approaches.


SAFe, DAD, LeSS, as well as Spotify, Scrum of Scrums, Nexus, Agile & DevOps are being addressed by John in his talk.

Scaling Agile (but not in the way you think…) - a blog post by Mikael Brodd

In this post Mikael Brodd, an Agile coach with crisp, explains how to deal with a real-life but "non-standard" scaling case when one team works on many products at the same time.

Mikael explains the notion of what he calls the 'time multiplexing' as a way to 'scale' the ability of a team to deal with many products.


The other approach used by Mikael at his client is splitting the team into sub-teams: one for each product focus. Although there are no ideal solutions, these examples might be quite useful for teams having a similar challenge.

Organize for Complexity

This is a keynote talk recorded at Stretch Leadership Conference in Budapest in early December 2015 by Niels Pflaeging. 


Organize for Complexity is name of the talk as well as Niels' book.


Niels talks about forming organizations built around the concepts of self-management.

Building Flat Organizations with Cross-functional Teams and Fewer Managers - an interview with Michael Dubakov

Hierarchical organizations can't react to new market opportunities and changes fast enough, this impedes the company’s survival in the long run”, says Michael Dubakov, founder of TargetProcess.


Organizations should distribute managers’ responsibilities among cross-functional teams and boards to become flatter and increase their overall agility."


As Michael puts it: "I personally don't believe you can take a traditional company and implement Scrum or Kanban easily. You have to transform the company as a whole on all levels. To be honest, there are not so many known formalized approaches how to do that, they are emerging right now via various experiments. Don't get me wrong, you can increase company productivity with Scrum in a traditional company, but most likely it will not be a significant gain."

Top Reasons Why Agile Fails in Large Enterprises - an interview with Mike Cottmeyer

In this interview, LeadingAgile president and CEO, Mike Cottmeyer, discusses how agile can fail in large enterprises.


He explains why big businesses struggle to make the transition, as well as details the most common challenges people face when moving to agile.


As Mike states, there are two main causes that make larger organizations more subject to failure in this department:


"A big part of what we're seeing out there is that people are either trying to do one of two things. They're trying to adopt what we call small-team scrum in large enterprises, and that basically means maybe they're doing a small project within a larger context, or they're trying to transform large programs or large parts of the organization to being agile."

"What is an Agile Leader?" - an article by Henrik Kniberg

In this article Henrik iterates over the idea of agile leadership and looking for such leaders.

Henrik writes: "Agile product development has become the norm in many industries... however when things get bigger, with dozens of teams things obviously get more complex and painful..."

"Real-life Agile Scaling" - keynote by Kniberg at Agile Tour Bangkok

Henrik Kniberg gave the opening keynote at the Agile Tour Bangkok conference on Saturday 21 November in Thailand. His talk was titled “Real-life Agile Scaling”.

Henrik started by stating that we understand how to apply agile techniques effectively at the single team level, and at the level of a few teams working together. Moving beyond that to be able to apply large numbers of teams to a single problem/initiative is much more difficult and is frequently done very badly...


Read more:


The Scaling Ball Game - a leanpub book by Markus Wissekal and Yves Hanoulle

This book will teach you how to play different version of the ballpoint game. From the original, over a one ball version to a scaled version for more than 50 people.

Scaling Agile for The Enterprise - a conference in Brussels, Belgium

At this second year of the Scaling Agile for the Enterprise conference we will bring together stalwart thought leaders on Agile Leadership like Jurgen Appelo, Christopher Avery, Jenni Jepsen, Dave Snowden, Dan North and other speakers to show how to change the company culture.



Visit the conference home:



On Large Scale Scrum - interview by Bas Vodde and Craig Larman

An interview of LeSS authors Bas and Craig filmed at the Agile2015, Washington DC.


"Microsoft's 16 Keys To Being Agile At Scale" - article by Steve Denning

An article by Steve Denning, the author of the Leader's Guide to Radical Management, director of the Scrum Alliance.

In this second part of the article Steve explains how the hot issue of “scaling” is addressed at Microsoft.


"Doing Agile and Scrum in a single team, or even a couple of teams, is one thing. Doing Agile and Scrum in hundreds of teams in a coordinated way is a whole different ballgame. How are dependencies handled? How do the teams keep in sync? How does management even know what’s happening, let alone stay in control, if hundreds of teams are autonomous?"


Read more:


"Is SAFe Evil?" - talk on scaling Agile at LEGO

Lars Roost and Henrik Kniberg are describing their journey of applying SAFe at LEGO, Denmark.

The slides are other related materials are available at 


"Scaling Agile: A Lean JumpStart" - book review and author Q&A

"Scaling Agile: A Lean JumpStart" is a short and informative book by Sanjiv Augustine.


The book covers an essential set of Lean building blocks as a starting foundation for larger Agile scaling frameworks, including the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), and Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD).