Agile - managing lots of agile teams in a large organization

Last post 03:11 pm July 22, 2020
by Monir Khan
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02:54 pm April 18, 2017

I work at a fairly large company (we're a bank) and we are in the early phases of converting our IT department to Agile. We have a few Agile teams now and things are working out fine.  They have sprints, backlogs, retrospectives, user stories, etc.

My question is about the future.  Let's assume for a minute that all of our teams have converted to Agile.  At this point we'll have over 100 Agile teams of about 5-10 people each.  Let's say that they are all working pretty well, they have good line of business Product Owners. strong Scrum Masters and all of the Agile teams have a nice backlog full of great projects for them to work on in upcoming sprints.

Now, let's say that our credit card line of business gets a project approved to create a new product and they have $2 million available for IT.  We already know from experience that adding a new credit card product involves around 20 teams since we need to make updates to our card infrastructure, our rewards platform, our website, our customer service portal, etc.  In today's waterfall environment, we'd divide the money up between all of the teams so that they can add new resources and then we'd do the project.  None of the existing projects in the pipeline would be affected.  

But how would this work in an Agile world?  Would we do the same thing and divide the money between 20 Agile teams and tell them to ramp up new team members so that they can add this new project to their backlog without affecting the existing backlog?  

In other words, today in our waterfall world we use offshore resources and onsite consultants to flex our teams up and down in response to the never ending flow of projects coming and going.  Does that model really work with Agile?

- Gary 

 

 

03:09 pm April 18, 2017

Hi Gary,

Do you mean your Agile teams are currently not capable of performing the work necessary and you must recruit further resources?

If so, why would dividing the 'resource funds' among the teams as necessary not work in an Agile model?

07:11 pm April 18, 2017

$2 million would allow a certain number of Sprints to be funded. Over the course of those Sprints, how would stakeholders expect value to be evidenced?

If the Product Owner can articulate that value and maximize it using a Product Backlog, Development Teams ought to be able to self-organize accordingly.

08:29 pm July 21, 2020

This is an old thread.  

Not sure Gary, you had your answers sorted out but I do have similar questions surrounding large organizations where there are multiple departments across the IT  and Business organizations doing different things and some are those are shared resources.  For example -Shared DBAs, Security, Architecture folks.

 

As am writing, my thinking is that there must be a product owner for that credit card (or any product or service really) you mentioned, who will be driving this initiative and maintain the Product Backlog for the initiative. Now the tricky part is how's that Scrum team gets created as Scrum Guide says there should not be more than 9 people in the Development Team for it to be effective.  There could be more than one Scrum Teams but one Product Backlog. So we create multiple Scrum Teams as-needed basis as existing Agile teams that you mentioned may not be effective in this scenario, I think as not sure how they're formulated.   This is why I am scratching my heads to find out the recommended ways to handle this.  Also, Scrum says Scrum Team members are dedicated fo the Scrum Team. This gets tricky... ( Well Scrum Guide says - It's difficult to master :-)