Agile Does Not Scale

The Agile Manifesto defines “agile” using 4 values and 12 principles. People embrace values and principles and act on them. Therefore, people are the practitioners…and people do not scale.



This is has been my thought process on scaling agile for a while, but I’ve often struggled to fully articulate this idea. Then I saw Gunther Verheyen’s recent post – “Agile and Scrum, actually”.

As a side note, I’m a big fan of Gunther Verheyen. I’ve mentioned his excellent book – Scrum: A Pocket Guide – many times on this blog. I follow him on twitter (@Ullizee). And his latest series of “actually” scrum posts on his blog site are fantastic.

Verheyen hit a beautiful note in the previously mentioned “actually” post that struck a chord with me.

“Values and principles are agnostic of scale.”

Awesome. He’s absolutely right. The scrum tactics, strategies, and practices are modified to align multiple teams working off of a single product backlog. But the principles and values stay the same and they apply the same way whether dealing with one team or many.

When adopting agile, the question really becomes:  How do the values and principles impact our organization?

The answer is important because when organizations try to “scale agile” they are really scaling their software development systems – their processes, structures, relationships, and practices used to deliver their products and services.

If they have not dealt with these impacts, their scaling efforts cannot possibly go well.

Question: What are your thoughts about scaling? Can teams successfully scale their systems and stay consistent with agile? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.