08 Apr 2021

Agile is more popular than ever and implementing it is quickly becoming a key to success for software development projects. However, scaling your agile processes can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start.

Here at Unosquare, as we’ve matured, we’ve refined our processes to reflect our earned understanding of our industries of focus, and the results are better than ever. Unparalleled transparency together with top-tier talent in overlapping time-zones make the perfect formula for mature and seamless agile software development with distributed teams.

Once you understand what the best practices are, you can successfully scale agile. Want to make this transition easier for your company? Use these 10 tips for scaling agile software development.

  1. 1. Defining agile in your organization

You want to observe where your organization is with agile and where you can improve. Review the Agile Manifesto to determine where your organization stands today and what you may need to change as you scale. This first step will set you up with the right foundation as you walk through this process.

If you want to learn more about agile and the Agile Manifesto you can find additional pieces of content we’ve published on the topic.

2. Choosing a framework

There are many frameworks for organizations that want to mature their agile software development processes. According to the most recent State of Agile Report, Scrum is the most widely practiced method. At least 75% of respondents are practicing Scrum or a hybrid that includes Scrum.

That doesn’t mean that this is what you should go with for your organization, but it is a good indicator of what other companies are having success with. Not sure what to choose? The correct choice for your organization will depend on many variables. Here’s a look at some of the most popular frameworks and techniques for scaling agile development.

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

The SAFe framework structures scaling agile practices into three different categories in your organization:

Portfolio level

This level contains agile leaders that manage projects from beginning to end.

Program level

In this level, Agile Release Trains (a group of 8-12 teams) focus on long-term development, based on the organization’s strategy.

Team level

Once release planning takes place, sprints are planned at the team level.

Scrum of Scrums

Scrum of Scrums is something you may want to consider if your company has already implemented the Scrum framework. The Scrum of Scrums is a meeting that keeps all Scrum teams across your organization aligned and up to date on critical issues.

Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)

Large Scale Scrum is a framework that focuses on getting all of your team to work on the project as a group. Large Scale Scrum comes in two variants:

  • LeSS – up to eight teams in total with eight people per team.

  • LeSS Huge – up to several thousand people working on a project

Before choosing a framework, consider the structure of your and what framework will support the way you want to navigate projects. Think about how each different method may help your team and streamline software development projects.

3. Planning the transition

To transition and scale agile software development, leaders must think about many criteria. This includes strategic importance, budget limitations, ROI, and cost of delays. All of these factors will help you determine the best course of action. By thinking through these things in advance, you can avoid some of the common issues that others may experience as they scale.

While you may be familiar with agile on some basis within your organization don’t skip this step. Scaling agile can benefit your organization, but this will only be the case if you take the time to factor in the impact on your company and the workforce. Otherwise, you may find that these efforts go to waste and create more chaos, instead of streamlining your workflow.

4. Understanding your MVP

Next, you should think about defining your minimum viable product or MVP. Ask yourself: what will we have to accomplish to get our minimum viable product ready for testing? The most important thing is to make sure that the product will align with your company’s strategic goals.

Next, discuss what purpose the minimum viable product will serve and what your process looks like following the completion of your MVP. How will you transition from that to build out the entire product?

5. Focus on collaboration

Collaboration is key in agile development. Working together allows teams to develop solutions for complex problems. As you scale these processes, it becomes even more important to evaluate the state of collaboration and address any issues or blockers your team faces. This will make it much easier for them to keep up with the demands of each project.

If you’re working with a distributed team, this becomes even more important as you look at scaling. Make sure you have plans in place for managing workers across different timezones and that you have the right tools and resources to support them.

6. Create small teams

Creating small teams can be beneficial because smaller teams have the ability to make decisions quickly and move faster. Every team member shares a sense of ownership and feels responsible for the outcome of the project. As a result, the team can achieve its sprint goals with ease.

As you think about scaling agile for your organization, don’t just look at your organization as a whole. Figure out where you may be able to break your workforce into teams or reorganize. That way, you’ll still retain all the benefits of smaller team sizes.

7. Align iterations and production time

Yes, agile often helps you complete projects faster, but it is still key to balance the time it takes to build and test software with total production time. You need to take that into consideration and create reasonable timelines for your team.

8. Consolidate your backlog

Everyone on your team should have access to a single product backlog. It serves as the foundation for iterations in development. This is the roadmap that developers use to work on your project and prioritize the most critical items.

We have a great reference for learning more about product backlogs and PBI's.

9. Prioritize continuous testing

Continuous testing is a centerpiece of agile. It allows you to receive early feedback from key stakeholders and ultimately complete projects more quickly while reducing the risk of costly errors slipping through the cracks.

10. Track your progress

These kinds of changes don't happen all at once. Track your progress as you scale to ensure that the entire process goes smoothly. You may need to make adjustments as your entire organization adapts to this way of working.

Want to scale agile software development?

We can help. Unosquare helps organizations operationally augment technology teams, design and build user experience focused web applications and products, and drive client initiatives in digital transformation in our industries of focus.

We work with the best talent in the world. That way, you can outsource with confidence and bring in the expertise you need to get your software development project done. Let us provide expertise for your teams in a way that is fast, transparent, and efficient. To find out more about what Unosquare can do for your organization, check out our blog.

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