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Scaled Agile

Scaling frameworks in Agile

by Simon Buehring
Discover how scaling frameworks can unlock the potential of your teams, streamline productivity and enhance collaboration across large-scale projects.
Scaling Frameworks for Agile | agileKRC

Introduction to scaling frameworks in Agile

In the world of software development, the Agile methodology has fundamentally changed how projects are executed, promoting flexibility, collaboration, and customer-centricity. Agile processes work wonderfully for small teams, but challenges arise as organisations grow. This is where Agile scaling frameworks come into play. They extend Agile principles to larger teams and more complex project ecosystems, maintaining Agile’s essence while delivering value at scale.

What are Agile scaling frameworks?

Agile scaling frameworks are methodologies that enable the application of Agile development principles to larger teams, complex systems, and diverse projects. They offer guidance, structure, and practices for coordinating multiple Agile teams, ensuring they work harmoniously towards a common goal. The primary intent of these frameworks is to replicate the success of Agile on a scope that can encompass an entire organisation, mitigating risks and addressing the dependencies that naturally arise with growth.

Why do we need frameworks to scale Agile?

As organisations grow, the simple methodologies that work for small, co-located teams often become inadequate. Scaling Agile is not merely about adding more people or duplicating what small teams do. It’s about enabling multiple teams to work in tandem, maintaining quality, and embracing the quick pivot of priorities that Agile embraces.

Without a framework to scale these practices, organisations risk creating silos, losing transparency, and suffering from misalignments that can lead to project delays and budget overruns. Frameworks provide a necessary scaffold that organisations can leverage to scale efficiently and effectively.

What are the best-known Agile scaling frameworks?

Several frameworks have emerged to assist organisations in scaling Agile. The most well-known include:

  • Scrum of Scrums: Scrum of Scrums is a simple mechanism where several Scrum teams working on the same project communicate and coordinate their work through designated ambassadors, typically called Scrum Masters. Scrum of Scrums is best suited for organisations that are already familiar with Scrum and are looking for the simplest way to scale.
  • Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS): LeSS expands Scrum to large-scale operations, focusing on descaling organisation and simplifying the approach rather than adding more layers of complexity. LeSS works well for companies aiming to scale without introducing too much additional complexity or bureaucracy, as it maintains many of the tenets of single-team Scrum.
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): SAFe is a comprehensive model that supports enterprise-wide Agile adoption. It integrates Lean and product development flow principles, offering detailed guidance for large organisations. SAFe is often used by very large organisations that have intricate systems and require a high level of synchronisation and coordination. SAFe’s structured approach is comprehensive but can be heavyweight for those new to Agile practices.
  • Disciplined Agile Delivery (DaD): DaD is a process decision framework that enables simplified process decisions around incremental and iterative solution delivery. DaD offers flexibility in that it is a toolkit that can be tailored to the organisation’s context. It does not prescribe a single approach but rather provides guidelines to develop a process that fits the company’s needs.
  • Nexus: Nexus is an exoskeleton that rests over multiple Scrum teams, enabling them to operate as a single unit and address cross-team issues that can hinder an integrated product increment. Nexus is similar in spirit to Scrum of Scrums but provides more structure and explicit roles, making it suitable for organisations requiring a bit more framework without the complexity of SAFe.

Each of these frameworks has its own set of rules, roles, and philosophies, but they all strive to help large organisations implement Agile methodologies successfully.

Choosing the right framework is dependent on multiple factors, including team size, organisational structure, project complexity, and the agility of the current workflows. Each framework has its pros and cons, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Overcoming common pitfalls in Agile scaling

As organisations embark on their Agile scaling journey, they often face several pitfalls. Adopting a framework without proper understanding can lead to Agile in name only – a state where the Agile practices are followed, but the core Agile values are lost. To avoid this, organisations should focus on:

  • Maintaining an Agile mindset across all levels.
  • Staying true to the principles of collaboration, iterative progress, and flexibility.
  • Training and empowering leadership to support Agile practices.
  • Incrementally implementing frameworks, to avoid overwhelming teams and processes.
  • Regularly inspecting and adapting processes to ensure they continue to serve the organisation’s goals.

Agile scaling in organisations

The success of scaling Agile is intrinsically linked to an organisation’s culture. A culture that promotes autonomy, mastery, and purpose will adapt more easily to Agile scaling frameworks. Conversely, a rigid, hierarchical culture may resist the change and could be the biggest hurdle to successful implementation.

For Agile scaling to work, it must be accompanied by a cultural shift where everyone, from the organisation’s leadership to individual team members, embraces the Agile values and principles.

To aid your organisation’s Agile scaling efforts, agileKRC can provide you with a range of consulting services from our experienced pool of Agile consultants. They can tailor the right Agile training, provide ongoing mentoring, and coach your team with the right scaling framework for your organisation. Get in touch with us for more information about our Agile consulting services.

The future of Agile scaling frameworks

Agile scaling frameworks are continuously evolving. As more organisations adopt these frameworks and share their experiences, best practices will be refined, and new approaches may emerge. The future is likely to bring frameworks that blend the best elements of existing ones, along with innovations driven by advancing technology and changing work environments.


Scaling Agile frameworks is about more than just multiplying the number of Agile teams in an organisation. It’s about scaling the mindset, practices, and benefits of Agile to bigger, more complex environments. Each framework offers different advantages and suits different types of organisations. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on the unique needs, culture, and goals of the company looking to scale Agile.

Scaling frameworks in Agile is a complex endeavour, but with careful consideration and a commitment to Agile principles, organisations can extend the many benefits of Agile to larger, more complex projects and teams. As we look ahead, the evolution of these frameworks will likely continue to match the pace of business change, offering organisations new ways to innovate and deliver value quickly and effectively.

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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