I really like filet mignon.
I also really like chicken cordon bleu. However, if you have ever been at a wedding or in a mass dining experience, you know that most of the time these dishes are best served in as small a quantity as possible. There are other dishes that are suited for the masses. Or, are there?
There is no such thing as “Agile at scale”.
It’s like saying “How do I scale ‘Big Picture Thinking’?” or more simply, “How do I scale thinking?”
That’s really what Agile is about, when you think about it. Most people who want “Agile at scale” are really looking for a formula or a recipe, not thinking. They want a prescription that will help them feel better when what they really need is a lifestyle change.
Organizations benefit from slowing down, looking at what’s not working, what’s working, and what they should or could be doing differently. Organizations also typically know what they should be doing differently but they can’t overcome what centuries of conditioning has ingrained in their minds.
Don’t assume that what works for one team will work for 50 or 100 or 5,000 teams. Most importantly, don’t copy-paste!! Instead, look for what will work with EACH team and how these things play into the overall vision and mission of the organization. How does a small change over here affect ALL teams or ability to deliver 2-3 years from now?
A company is a complex, adaptive system with an “intelligence” of its own. It needs to be understood, reasoned with, etc. Any practice that fits EVERY team across the entire company is probably harmful. Instead, there should be guiding values and principles that encapsulate what the company cares about.
This is the spirt of Agile. Not wholesale innovation.