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State of scaled agile in 2019



Last month the 13th state of agile report came out. As an Agile Coach and trainer focused on scaling agile I was particularly interested in the scaled bit. What frameworks are people scaling with now and which frame works are getting more popular over time. 



Let’s take a look at the stats. 30% have gone with SAFe. This is not surprising SAFe has been established for a long time and been evolving and growing for many years. But that is not the interesting bit. It’s the next few entrees on the list that interest me more. I would have liked to have seen some heathy competition and fresh thinking from Kanban, Scrum at Scale or even LeSS. You know, well thought out frameworks for scaling agile. 


What we have as the second most popular scaling approach in 2018 is “don’t know”. Turns out 19% of people don’t know how their organisations approach or method to scaling agile. I think it is safe to say that if your teams don’t know what the approach to scaling agile is then there are probably problems in your scaling approach. 


Down at number 3 plummeting from a huge 72% 4 years ago is Scrum of Scrums. Is Scrum of Scrums a full on scaling approach or just a meeting? In my personal experience it's a meeting. It’s a very useful meeting but if all your scaling approach consists of gathering a representative from each team together on a weekly basis then there are probably problems in the scaling approach.


And number 4 is internally created methods. Falling from nearly a quarter of people a few years ago to less than 10% now. I would love to see a breakdown of that 10%. Are there some awesome homegrown frameworks out there? Or are most teams in that 10% in some sort of waterfall hybrid territory? We can't make assumptions here and I would love to hear from people in the comments. I hope its the former and I can learn something. 


Finally number 5 and 6. Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) - the dark horse seems to be gaining in popularity each year. Is this the framework for people who don’t like SAFe? And finally the Spotify model: Is this a repeatable approach for scaling agile? Or an article about a company that scaled agile better than most in 2014? No matter what Spotify themselves say on the matter 5% of people say they are using it as scaling approach.


To conclude I think that the trends towards more and more people adopting established well thought out frameworks is a good thing. While there is still a long way to go the 2018 survey certainly paints a better picture than the state of agile in 2014. 


By Philip Cutcliffe, Enterprise Agile Coach, Release Train Engineer and SAFe trainer with addagility.com

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