February 10, 2016

How to start a Nexus in practice?

Nexus and SPS have been online for a while. There are organisations around the world giving it a try and, of course, there are questions about how to set up and begin using Nexus in an organisation. These are some practical tips that helped me and my clients on our journey.

Start with Scrum


Scrum needs to work before you can start scaling. That means, applying Scrum with its roles, artefacts and ceremonies, feel that the principles of empiricism are there and delivering a done Increment at the end of every Sprint. Nexus works when built up incrementally, because trying to make it work without having the foundations (Scrum and empiricism) first will be a very complex journey to professionally scale Scrum.

Build the Nexus iterative and Incrementally


Once you have two teams working with Scrum and decide to add a third, then you can begin with the Nexus. Make sure everybody understands what the Nexus is about and give enough training and time to solve questions. Don't ask people to just blind follow the change because that will create a lot of unnecessary anxiety.

Have a Nexus Increment before you add more teams


A big difference that this framework portrays with other scaling frameworks is that it focuses on producing value at the end of every sprint. The more teams you add, the more you'll face integration, dependencies and relationships issues. Achieve a steady pace before adding more teams.

A good Nexus implementation is one that flows


Things should flow as you build up, if they don't, or if there are too many impediments, just stop, inspect, adapt and should be necessary, descale back. Remember, no matter how much people is unoccupied, having just the right amount as you build up will mean more value in the future.

Promote techniques that encourage knowledge sharing


As you build up, promote pair programming and communities of practice. Albeit the Nexus does not tell you how to deal with the culture, your organisation will have to face them. Make sure you account for them as you go. Should the change means an organisational change, take a look at Evidence Based Management.

Let self-organisation arise within the Nexus


The same a Scrum Team must be self-organised to really benefit from Scrum, the Nexus must be too. It'll be a different kind of self-organisation that adds up the different personalities from Teams. Self-organisation within the Nexus has to allow differences and create a context where diversity among teams is not only allowed but encouraged.

Last, but not least, consider attending an SPS Workshop to learn about 50+ practices to put the Nexus to work.

You can read more about how to start with Scrum in Spanish in my personal blog