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Agile Aus – Failing at Scaling

This was the final talk we attended at Agile Australia. I was curious to hear from Em Campbell-Pretty and Mark Richards who are apparently Australia’s scaling and SAFe experts. I’m skeptical about scaling because I think it creates more complexity than is necessary and to be honest I’ve never seen it done well, but the fact that the talk was going to openly address failure appealed to me. Mark and Em shared their top tips of what to avoid when scaling.

Tip 1 was avoiding large teams, which I wholehearted agree with. The tips kept coming and I was surprised to find I agreed with most of them.

Chatting to Mark later at the drinks Karen shared her concerns that SAFe seemed like a lot of overhead. He agreed that companies with no more that 3 or 4 cross-functional teams working on a product have no need for a framework as complex as SAFe, but that for programs with large numbers of non cross functional teams, SAFe would work remarkably well.

Here are my sketchnotes from the talk.