Scale Frameworks (part 2)


In order to keep Large-scale Scrum as Scrum, we’ll need to find a similar balance, so that we will be able to say:

For large groups, LeSS hits the sweet spot between defined concrete elements and empirical process control.

Of course, the concepts and principles behind Scrum, such as Transparency, Empirical Process Control, Iterative development, and Self-managing teams are critical.

LeSS is more than a set of principles and experiments. It also provides a framework with rules.

The Product Owner role in LeSS is conceptually the same as in one-team Scrum. However, at scale the focus changes slightly toward keeping an overview and ensuring the maximum return on investment (ROI) in the product.

Multiple teams building a single product work from a single Product Backlog that defines all of the work to be done on the product.

A Team in LeSS is the same as a Team in one-team Scrum. The goal of the team in LeSS is to add a couple of Product Backlog Items into the Product during the Sprint. They work closely with customers/users on clarifying the definition of the items and with the Product Owner on the prioritization.

A LeSS Scrum Master will encounter complex large-scale problems and she’ll need to resist resolving them with complex large-scale solutions. Instead, she’ll need to leverage the spirit of Scrum and find simple ways to empower people to resolve their impediments. This approach leads to large-scale, yet simple, solutions.

In LeSS the Scrum Master is a dedicated, full-time role in the same way that being a Scrum Team member is a dedicated, full-time role. Having said that, it is possible for one full-time Scrum Master fill the role for up to three teams, depending on any number of factors.

Conceptually there is one product-level Sprint leading to one integrated Potentially Shippable Product Increment.

This practically means:

  • Sprint Planning for all teams is at the same time.
  • Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective is at the same time.
  • The team-level Product Backlog Refinement doesn’t need to be at the same time!

Sprint Planning consists of two parts that boil down to what and how.
Sprint Planning One focuses on selection of ready items from those offered by the Product Owner, wrapping up lingering questions, and definition of the Sprint Goal.
Sprint Planning Two focuses on creating a plan of work to get to ‘done’ for each item. The items and plan of action or tasks comprise the Sprint Backlog.

Daily Scrum

The Daily Scrum in LeSS is done per team and is no different than in single-team Scrum.

In LeSS, the Daily Scrum can be used for coordination between teams by having people from other teams join in to observe.
Another coordination technique related to the Daily Scrum is the Scrum of Scrums, which tends to happen 3 times a week.

Sprint Review & Retrospective

The Sprint Review is the occasion for all of the teams to review the one potentially shippable Product Increment together. The focus is on the whole product.

The Overall Retrospective is a new meeting in LeSS. Its purpose is to discuss cross-team, organizational and systemic problems within the organization.

Definition of Done :

Define the activities needed to ship to end customers

The teams write post-it notes with required activities. These include activities such as coding and testing but may also include
setting up customer support, creating hardware, or even marketing activities. We refer to this list as the required activities for having a Potentially Shippable Product.


Not much diff with single Scrum Team

In LeSS PBR is an expected formal event (workshop meeting) rather than just an unspecified “activity”, and is done in:

  • Multi-team PBR
  • Overall PBR
  • Single-team PBR

LeSS is not Scrum

Although LeSS is strongly influenced by Scrum, it is definitively not the same.

Some key differences between LeSS and Scrum 2017 are:

  • The concept of Scrum Team does not exist in LeSS.
  • What is called Development Team in Scrum is simply called Team in LeSS.
  • Self-organizing teams are called Self-managing Team.
  • Sprint Planning is split in Sprint Planning 1 and Sprint Planning 2.
  • Backlog Refinement is not an activity but an event.
  • Sprint Goal is not a part of LeSS but considered to be a useful practice to use with LeSS.
  • Scrum Master is a fulltime role, not a member of a Team.
  • Product Owner is not an expected participant in Team Daily Scrum or in Team Retrospective.

For now, LeSS are ignoring the Scrum 2020 version.

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