Jurgen Appelo’s article is stimulating. His main observation is really helpful: agile was meant for small teams, yet has issues when it should be scaled to larger organizations. He continues to offer a rethinking or broadening of the Agile Manifesto’s principles to fit for scaling:
– individuals and interactions over processes and tools becomes bottom-up rules over top-down constraints
– working software over comprehensive documentation becomes holistic development over schismatic thinking
– customer collaboration over contract negotiation becomes positive communication over negative assumptions
– responding to change over following a plan becomes scaling out over scaling up
This sound for the most part sensible to me. There is one thing I would add: in companies emergent patterns should be guided by direction from the leadership. A good metaphor for organizations is that they are human living systems. Human means that organizations have a purpose, that is creating value for customers based on their organizational DNA. The leadership has to identify and articulate this purpose. This is done by listening to everybody and everything and than making choices at the appropriate point in time.
By the way, the same applies to product management: you have to listen to users, observe, and then take the responsibility to define a product that solves problems identified, but maybe not articulatd by the user.
Link: No. Agile Does Not Scale