Friday, April 29, 2016

Scaling Agile at LEGO

Scaling Agile
I have written articles before about scaling Agile because this is a challenge I am confronted with a lot. One way of approaching scaling Agile is the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). To put it mildly, SAFe is controversial in the Agile community. At first glance SAFe looks a bit like a big scary heavy-weight top-down RUP-zombie. But what about in real life?

Based on what I know about SAFe so far, I am not convinced it is something I would advise in most situations. Personally, I am more of a LeSS guy myself. But that does not prevent me from learning more about it. So I decided to spend some time reviewing use cases of SAFe. One of the best-documented use cases of SAFe is the use of it at LEGO. Henrik Kniberg is working as a coach at LEGO and he and the LEGO team are presenting about their learnings frequently.

In 2014, LEGO Digital Solutions turned to SAFe to improve their collaboration model. Much like creating something from LEGO bricks, they built their transformation one piece at a time, starting with inviting 20 managers to a 2-day Leading SAFe class. From there, they began training the teams; first one, then another until they had 20 teams trained in SAFe.

They approached every step as a learning journey, allowing for creativity along the way. When something didn’t seem like a good fit, they weren’t afraid to experiment. Taking results from Inspect and Adapt, they tweaked SAFe to their needs with a simple guiding principle, “Keep the stuff that generates energy.” Currently, they work with 150 people in 20 teams using Scrum, Kanban and XP to deliver.

It is a fascinating use case, and no matter what you think about SAFe, you can learn from it. Below you will find the material I have reviewed.

Learnings from SAFe @ LEGO – Mattias Skarin & Eik Thyrsted Brandsgård at LKCE15

Is SAFe Evil? - Lars Roost & Henrik Kniberg at GOTO Copenhagen 2015

The slides for the talk Agile @ LEGO at Passion for Projects in Uppsala.
Posted on Friday, April 29, 2016 by Henrico Dolfing