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Agile approaches

LeSS Agile framework

by Simon Buehring
Unlock the potential of the LeSS Agile framework to scale Scrum to multiple teams working on a single product.
LeSS Agile Framework | agileKRC

Introducing LeSS Agile framework

The Agile movement has revolutionised software development with its emphasis on adaptability, customer collaboration, and delivering value quickly. However, as organisations grow larger, they often struggle to retain the agility and simplicity of smaller teams. To address this, the Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) Agile framework was designed, providing a scaled-up approach to Scrum without adding unnecessary complexity.

LeSS builds on the principles of Scrum – a lightweight framework that helps people, teams, and organisations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems. In essence, LeSS is Scrum applied to multiple teams working together on one product.

LeSS aims to descale organisational complexity, remove redundant roles, and processes, and foster an environment where large-scale operations can maintain the nimbleness of their smaller counterparts.

LeSS Agile principles

At its heart, LeSS guides multi-team Agile processes by adhering to a set of key principles centred around empirical process control, Lean thinking, and systems thinking. Empirical process control emphasises transparency, inspection, and adaptation; Lean thinking promotes value and waste removal, while systems thinking encourages understanding the product development system as a whole.

The LeSS framework encourages flat organisational structures and feature teams – cross-functional and cross-component groups aimed at increasing flexibility and reducing hand-offs. A single Product Owner manages the Product Backlog, while the role of Scrum Master might be shared across teams. Essential events such as sprint planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Retrospective are conducted similarly to single-team Scrum, yet they’re uniquely adapted for scaling.

Roles and ceremonies in LeSS Agile

LeSS proposes a minimal set of roles, with the aim of maximising responsibility and ownership within teams. The primary roles are:

  • Product Owner – The Product Owner is responsible for prioritising work and maximising value.
  • Scrum Master – The Scrum Master helps teams to improve their processes and facilitates LeSS events.
  • Developers – The Development Team consists of cross-functional professionals who design, develop, and test product increments.

In addition to these, LeSS features several ceremonies that mirror Scrum, but with a focus on coordination and integration across teams. These include:

  • Sprint Planning – Sprint Planning is conducted in two parts, with the first involving all teams to decide what will be delivered, and the second happening within individual teams to determine how the work will be done.
  • Sprint Reviews and Retrospective – Sprint Reviews are used to inspect the Product Increment and adapt the Product Backlog.
  • Sprint Retrospectives – Sprint Retrospectives are used to review and improve the overall process.

LeSS and LeSS Huge: Scaling for every size

A fundamental aspect of LeSS is its scalability. The framework is designed to adapt to different sizes of organisations through two primary configurations:


Suitable for up to 8 teams (approximately 50 individuals), this configuration maintains the simplicity of Scrum while adding slight adjustments and guidelines for scaling.

LeSS Huge

Intended for more than 8 teams, LeSS Huge incorporates additional coordination mechanisms such as Area Product Owners and additional roles to handle the complexity of very large products or projects.

Both configurations strive to keep roles, artifacts, and processes to a minimum, embodying the idea that simpler is better, and less truly is more.

Implementing Less Agile

Adopting the LeSS framework requires a significant shift in mindset and organisational structure. Common challenges include:

  • Cultural resistance – LeSS adoption can be impeded by existing organisational cultures that resist change.
  • Management misalignment – Managers may struggle with the less hierarchical, more collaborative approach that LeSS demands.
  • Overcoming complexity – Simplifying processes and structures can be difficult for organisations accustomed to traditional methods.

Success with LeSS involves persistence and a focus on the following best practices:

  • Lean thinking – Continuously identify and eliminate waste in processes.
  • Whole-product focus – Teams should focus on delivering a cohesive product, rather than components or features in isolation.
  • Continuous improvement – Commitment to inspecting and adapting processes is paramount.

Overcoming barriers to implementation

Like all changes, people might feel threatened when new ways of working come along within an organisation. Such change must be planned and managed like any other change management initiative. Agile training is a key part of such initiatives. Ongoing Agile coaching by expert consultants is another.

Fortunately, agileKRC has a long history and proven track record of helping organisations achieve their Agile transformations. Contact us about our Agile consulting services to help you achieve your Agile transformation goals.


The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) Agile framework offers a way to scale Scrum that aligns closely with the principles of Agile and Lean thinking. It encourages simplicity, a focus on delivering customer value, and a systemic approach to product development.

For organisations considering LeSS, it’s essential to start with a deep understanding of single-team Scrum, as LeSS is an extension of these foundations. From there, approaching LeSS with a mindset open to change, backed by management support and a willingness to adapt, is crucial.

Further resources and coaching can aid in implementing LeSS, and with the right approach, LeSS has the potential to transform large organisations, bringing agility and effectiveness to complex environments at scale. Whether you are just beginning or well into your agile journey, LeSS offers a pathway to scaling that keeps the spirit of agility alive.

Learn from agile leaders

agileKRC has helped shape agile thinking by leading the teams that developed AgilePM® and PRINCE2 Agile®. We take a practical, success-oriented approach. We begin by taking the time to listen and understand your needs, before offering our real-world experience and expert guidance.

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