Scaling Agile: The Importance of Batch Size, Using Backfilling to Clarify Direction, and the Key to Collaboration

SEASON 1 EPISODE 8

Teams succeeding with Agile approaches on smaller projects often encounter difficulties when attempting to scale those methods. In this episode, Construx Senior Fellow Earl Beede and Mark Griffin discuss specific strategies for successfully scaling Agile. First, they cover the importance of batch sizing. Overly large batches easily lead to waste, and many scaling issues can be solved by manipulating batch size. The next strategy—backfilling—addresses two challenges: The tendency for teams to focus on invention rather than on problems that need solving, and lack of clarity regarding product or feature direction. Backfilling also serves as a prompt for identifying the decision makers for the product. The final strategy relates to collaboration: How is collaboration ensured in scaled Agile environments (and even in single Scrum team instances)?

The trick is to encourage collaboration on actual work—doing work together on some specific deliverable, not just sharing information. Otherwise, collaboration ends when work kicks in and information sharing is displaced.