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Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) Framework Explained

Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) is a scaled agile framework and software development approach that is similar to Scrum but with fewer procedures and processes.

LeSS as the name implies helps Scrum teams in ensuring that the way they work and scale is as simple as possible while maintaining the main purposes of Scrum.

LeSS is considered as a Scrum multi-team framework that can be applied to agile development teams of tens, hundreds, and thousands of people that are working together to build specific shared products.

With Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), large and small products can be created. It is a simple and minimal approach in which execution rules, roles or artifacts, and processes are much less.

Regular Scrum roles are available in LeSS, such as Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the team.

LeSS is highly customer-centric because teams interact directly with the customers while the product owner focuses on setting the priorities, long-term vision, and product roadmap.

Structure of Large Scale Scrum

This begins with an agile team that is cross-functional. The LeSS team consists of 8-12 people that are experienced in design, testing, coding, architecture as well as business domain knowledge.

Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework has two main framework levels, and those are Basic LeSS and LeSS Huge

Basic LeSS

Is designed for up to 8 product development teams. These groups are committed to implementing and collaborating with other groups in order to develop a robust working software product.

A Scrum master may decide to facilitate groups of 1-3 while guiding and teaching the team on how to work using a Large Scale Scrum approach.

Additionally, the Product Owner manages the product backlog that contains the feature list.

An Undone department is also present, which is a list of tasks not completed during a sprint.

Finally, there is a group of product owners that report to the product owner heads.

LeSS Huge

LeSS Huge as it’s named provides more scaling features for development teams of up to a hundred developers. And is applied if more than 8 teams are involved in product development.

With LeSS Huge, there are several LeSS basics implemented simultaneously. This is suitable for organizations with more than 8 teams.

Area Product owner in Less Huge is responsible for their individual product backlog. Up to three teams work under the direction of a product owner.

A primary product owner focuses totally on the product and leading of the area product owners.

Principles of Large Scale Scrum

Similar to SAFe, LeSS has 10 defined set of principles guiding its implementation.

  1. Large Scale Scrum (LeSS is Scrum: Despite its name, LeSS is not a new, better or improved Scrum. LeSS only appli)es the principles, values and purpose of Scrum for large scale context and adoption. When considering Scrum, it is important to note that it is a multiple-team Scrum rather than multiple Scrum teams. LeSS combines the guidelines for implementing Scrum in a multiple-team context that is scalable for the multiple-team.
  2. Empirical Process Control: Products are inspected and adapted along with processes, organizational design, and core practices to build and scale an organization that uses a Scrum-like approach rather than follow its’ detailed outlined principles. In this empirical product control, neither the scope of product or processes are fixed with LeSS. Instead, small pieces of the product are created. The product and the manner in which it is built and mechanisms built-in for transparency to enable better inspection are adopted.
  1. Lean thinking: LeSS employs a lean thinking approach which is a system that helps the scaling of large and complex developments.
  1. Transparency: Scrum is a process that provides short feedback loops that hugely increase transparency. This helps expose problems present in the team and organization.
  2. More with LeSS: This process is carried out in different steps:
  • Learn more with less strict procedures through empirical process control.
  • Providing more value without the overhead and waste through lean thinking.
  • To scale more, there is code ownership, purpose and satisfaction without roles, artifacts and special groups.
  1. Customer-Centric: Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) focuses on improving services to customers by identifying product value and waste for paying customers. Also, LeSS ensures cycle time is reduced and feedback loops increased. Each developer genuinely understand the work they do and how it relates to customers.
  1. Whole Product Focus: Less focuses on the entire product by building a single product backlog, single product owner, and one sprint with one potential product that is shippable.
  2. Continuous Improvement towards Perfection: With LeSS, products are to be created and delivered all the time without any errors or defects that completely satisfy the customer. Improvement can be implemented during each sprint after that.
  1. Systems thinking: The entire system and not just parts of it must be viewed and understood. Local and sub-optimization should be avoided for the productivity and efficiency of individuals and individual teams. Customers care about the entire lifecycle and process from idea to implementation to cash flow, and not just single individual steps.
  1. Queuing Theory: In Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), it is important to understand the way the systems behave with queues in R&D. The insights gleaned from this are then applied to the management of queue sizes, continuous constraints, multitasking, variability, and work packages.

Conclusion

LeSS helps to scale scrum. This begins with the understanding of standard one-team Scrum that can be adopted.

The importance of LeSS is to help organizations descale and dissolve complex solutions that are unnecessary, then provide simpler ways of solving them through lesser roles, lesser organization structures, lesser management.

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