Agile frameworks have often proven themselves on team level, when small teams (3-9 persons) work on a product at one location (distance < 10m). In practice, this constellation is rarely encountered. For one thing, products often cannot be developed with a small team, so that the work of a much larger number of people has to be coordinated (vertical scaling). Furthermore, teams are often not in one place. Working across different locations (horizontal scaling) is also common.
Various frameworks are available on the market (including SAFe, Less, Nexus, Scrum of Scrums, Scrum@Scale, Disciplined Agile Delivery). They serve as support to master the challenges of scaling. From our point of view the frameworks should be seen primarily as inspiration and less as a blueprint in the context of a 1-to-1 implementation. Scaled environments often present teams with major methodological and technical challenges.
Across all frameworks, the following success criteria have been identified for scaled environments:
- Ensure co-location
- Direct contact between the team, customers and other stakeholders
- An overarching, uniform sprint cycle for all teams
- A joint backlog with a responsible product owner
- Training of staff on agility, DevOps and technical excellence (architectures, CI/CD pipelines, test management, release management)
- Reducing dependencies between teams and features
- Transparency across all levels and team boundaries
To meet these challenges, Microsoft Azure DevOps offers many helpful features, which we would like to introduce to you below.