Thursday, February 01, 2018

Birth of LeSS

Many people ask me, how long have you been practicing Large-Scale Scrum(LeSS)? I invariably end up telling this story. 
LeSS framework is not something that is conceived overnight. The experiments that lead to the birth of LeSS started back in 2004-2005. I used to work with Valtech India, and we used to apply mostly iterative and incremental development practices.
I distinctly remember the news about the arrival of Craig Larman, the Chief Scientist of Valtech to our newly built office and coach us. We had moved into this new building of Valtech which had the traditional cubicle structure with distinct separation of cabins for the managers. 
One of the earliest experiments that were initiated was to change the physical structure from cubicles to open space with teams sitting together. Also, managers were encouraged to sit with the teams to participate in process improvement (Gemba Kaizen).
To bring visibility, transparency and improve technical excellence we had setup the red-green screen, a centralized continuous integration server using Cruise control. I had captured some of the experiments and published as an article back in 2006. You can check it out here.
An open space session gathering ideas to improve agility was conducted with more than 200 people, and it is as fresh in my mind as though it happened last week. Other experiments to encourage learning and education included: setting up a library, book reading clubs, the introduction of Causal loop modeling as part of the retrospective.
Nearly 600 experiments were conducted as Craig truly follows the empirical process control through inspection, adaptation cycles. These experiments have been well articulated in the two books mentioned below:

It is also important for me to mention that Craig and Bas were working and trying out various ideas at Nokia Siemens network with large teams. 
In summary, we could say that ideas that lead to the birth of LeSS started decades ago. Probably LeSS could be the only scaling framework that has been built on top of 100s of "published" experiments and in a truly empirical fashion.

If you are keen to learn more and in-depth about the experiments and Large-Scale Framework, please register for upcoming Certified LeSS Practitioner courses.

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