Scaling Scrum for Startups

Last post 04:53 am July 10, 2015
by Dennis Mansell
4 replies
03:50 pm July 3, 2015

Yesterday I went to Scrum Day Europe where the topic was 'Scaling Scrum'. Yet, I was hard-pressed to find topics covering 'natural growth'. I work at a Startup and we are looking at which Scaling framework (if any) to use. Scrum Day Europe seemed more focused on enterprise-size scaling - where scaling is introduced to cope with lots of people working on one product.

I wrote a blog post about it here:

Does anyone have experience with scaling scrum at a startup? What method/framework did you use and what did you run in to?

04:26 pm July 3, 2015

I've applied Scrum in a Lean Startup context, as have many others. Key challenges include establishing the organizational assurance of agile practice, and also maintaining & further improving entrepreneurialism in Product Ownership.

04:43 pm July 6, 2015

Hi Ian,

The challenges are very diverse, every startup is unique and so its challenges seem to be too. I have also done this for a number of years. The thing that I am running in to at the moment is:

* how to choose between the (rather absurd) number of frameworks for scaling.
* deciding how much scaling we actually need, when.

We have grown to three software teams and a 'business team'. Because we build apps, our product backlog has relatively few dependencies, which means the teams can operate without too much need for integration.

But we do on occasion have to work on the same piece of product at the same time and as we grow, that will be happening more often. Ideally I would like to find some way of switching between Scaled Scrum and Big Scrum according to the thing being worked on. That way we can avoid the extra overhead of scaling when we don't need it. Is that a situation you have come accross?

12:31 am July 7, 2015

At an intermediate stage of enterprise scaling it can be advantageous to establish a Scrum Studio model. Refer to the book "Software in 30 Days" by Schwaber & Sutherland.

Also, consider setting up an innovation lab where ideas can be tested before they are accelerated into production. The lab should be staffed jointly by Business & IT and should exhibit a high level of autonomy.

04:53 am July 10, 2015

I like that idea a lot. Coincidentally the autonomy and alignment discussion is very actual at the moment - getting a group of people to solve scaling would both increase involvement and help to solve the problem. We do similar studio's for designing apps and even did a design studio to rebrand the company. Thanks for the suggestion.