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Nexus™ Guide Update, January 2018

January 17, 2018

In August 2015, Ken Schwaber and introduced the Nexus framework to the public via the Nexus Guide, the definitive guide to scaling Scrum. Today, on January 17, 2018, we release the first update to the Nexus Guide.

NEXUS (n): a relationship or connection between people or things 

Nexus Framework

“Nexus is a framework consisting of roles, events, artifacts, and rules that bind and weave together the work of approximately three to nine Scrum Teams working on a single Product Backlog to build an Integrated Increment that meets a goal.”  It is built on the Scrum framework, its values, and the pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.  It contains no frills.  In 2015, we coined the hashtag #scaledScrumisstillScrum to describe Nexus.  Although long, it is accurate.  The Nexus Guide presumes an understanding of Scrum.


Since its release, Nexus has been implemented by organizations around the world.  These organizations have benefited from the existing Scrum knowledge and experience of their teams. For some, adopting Nexus has been easier, because the teams had already been using Scrum well.  They organically scaled meaningful conversations amongst them in order to focus on continuous integration.  Some organizations launched Nexus in conjunction with strong technical practices giving them a stronger foundation to scale.  For others, adopting Nexus was extremely challenging.  Common constraints have been around an organization’s definition of a product, product ownership, leadership, architecture, and of course, their existing usage of Scrum.


As has worked with clients implementing Nexus and learned from the wider Scrum community, here are some key concepts that we wanted to address in the most recent release.


The Role of the Nexus Integration Team

The Nexus Integration Team exists to ensure that a “Done” Integrated Increment is produced at least once a Sprint.  It provides accountability and representation from the different Scrum Teams in the Nexus. 

It is not a new management team.  The Nexus Integration Team is often members of the individual Scrum Teams of the Nexus. This composition supports the necessity of bottom-up intelligence from the individual Scrum Teams within the Nexus.


It is not actually doing the integration.  The individual Scrum Teams perform the integration work.  If anything, the Nexus Integration Team integrates the people and the teams in the Nexus.  It provides a focal point of integration for the Nexus. 


Transparency at Scale

Transparency can be difficult between two people; never mind, in scaled delivery.  The ability and opportunity to communicate and trust help.  In this update, we stress the need for transparency. Teams might consider the transparency that exists in their Nexus around integration, the integrated increment, and what their definition of “Done” means at scale.


In this new release, we have further defined the Nexus Daily Scrum event as “an opportunity for teams to look at cross-team impacts in addition to cross-team dependencies.” It is the minimum time when the teams can come together to adjust the Nexus Sprint Backlog and reflect on their understanding of the work and dependencies between the teams, raising transparency.


Consistency with Scrum

Nexus extends Scrum minimally to bring together and guide multiple Scrum Teams to deliver working product in every Sprint.  Based off the recent Scrum Guide update in November 2017 around continuous improvement, the Nexus Guide describes the Nexus Sprint Retrospective event as a formal opportunity for the Nexus to inspect and adapt itself, and create a plan for improvement to be enacted the next Sprint.


Also, to remain consistent with the Scrum framework, the Nexus Sprint Goal is no longer listed as a separate artifact.


Do the Right Thing

Ken Schwaber sometimes reminds me to, “do the right thing.” is founded on that desire and our mission to, “Improve the Profession of Software Delivery.” To further that cause, a significant change to the Nexus Guide is the addition of a Creative Commons license.  Like Scrum, it is offered free for teams and organizations globally to share and reuse its content.


You can find the Nexus Guide and additional resources here to help you scale Scrum with Nexus.  I’ll be introducing the Nexus framework and going over the Nexus Guide updates in an upcoming webinar on February 14, 2018.  


Do the right thing.


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