SAFe, LeSS, DAD, and ScrumPLOP

This content is syndicated from LeanAgileTraining by Joe Little. To view the original post in full, click here.

First, I wanted to say that I feel each ‘large scale agile’ situation is different.  The key problems are different.  And therefore, the solution(s) should be different.

And I like the idea of patterns. This is the patterns idea: “Here are some things (patterns) that others have found useful, and maybe I can steal from them, and maybe even these things (patterns) will be useful for me.”

One of the nice things about patterns is that they start modestly.  They do not boast “oh, I am sure you MUST have this tool.”  They simply suggest: “Oh, you might find this tool useful.”

What is scaling?  I am not sue that people agree. I would like the definition to be clean and precise, something like: “Scaling is when you have 3-7 Scrum Teams working together on one product, or one product release.”  But I am afraid that too many people would disagree on that definition, and even I would say it is probably more specific than can fit reality (only 3-7 teams).

Note: So, scaling is mainly the notion of adding people, and does not say how or in which pattern the people are added. And it is not about Scrum per se.  At least in common usage, scaling does not necessarily assume Scrum. Some might say “Oh, we just use Kanban Teams.”

Here are some places where you can steal (in a nice way).  Because I like patterns, perhaps I like ScrumPLOP best.

SAFe.  Scaled Agile Framework, associated with Dean Leffingwell. See here.  Notice the lengthy glossary.  And you will notice a whole bunch of Scrum words that have been redefined.  Or slightly redefined.  There is quite a lot there.

LeSS.  Large Scale Scrum.  See Scaling Lean and Agile Development by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde.  I like that book.  Here is some info on the web.  You will notice both similarities and important differences with what “Scaled Agile Framework” is suggesting.

DAD. Disciplined Agile Delivery, associated with Scott Ambler.  In some sense Scott has been talking about these issues for years. But now he and others have this site. Again, some similarities and some important differences as compared to SAFe and LeSS.

ScrumPLOP. The Scrum Pattern Language group.  The two key people behind this (in my opinion) are Jeff Sutherland and Jim Coplien.  I have already said I like the patterns idea.  This repository covers many things, and is not just addressed to the issue of ‘scaling’, however one might define scaling.  But, it has a number of ‘scaling’ patterns.  Some of the scaling patterns include: Chief Product Owner, Product Owner Group, Scrum of Scrums, Impediment Removal Team, Organizational Sprint Pulse, etc.  You will notice that some of the groups mentioned above use these same patterns, although they may call them something different.

Note: See Jim Coplien’s note below.

I hope these resources are useful to you.

Again, I wish to remind you and caution you: Do not forget the individual team(s).

If you have great scaling and bad teams, you have almost nothing. If you have great teams, and fairly weak scaling, you still have something quite powerful.  Don’t lose focus on what is important.


Leave a Reply

What is 4 + 6 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
Please do this simple sum so I know you are human:)

There are 101 ways to approach anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”


“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”


“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”


“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”


“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”


“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”


“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”


“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”


“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”


“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”


“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”