SAFe, LeSS, DAD, and ScrumPLOP
First, I want to say that I feel each ‘large scale agile’ situation is different. The key problems are different. Therefore, the solution(s) should be different.
And I like the idea of patterns. This is the pattern idea: “Here are some things (patterns) that others have found useful, and maybe I can steal from them, and maybe even these things (patterns) will be useful for me.”
One of the nice things about patterns is that they start modestly. They do not boast “oh, I am sure you MUST have this tool.” They simply suggest: “Oh, you might find this tool useful.”
Here are some places where you can steal. Because I like patterns, perhaps I like ScrumPLOP best.
SAFe. Scaled Agile Framework, associated with Dean Leffingwell. See here. Notice the lengthy glossary. And you will notice a whole bunch of Scrum words that have been redefined. Or slightly redefined. There is quite a lot there.
LeSS. Large Scale Scrum. See Scaling Lean and Agile Development by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. I really like that book. Here is some info on the web. You will notice both similarities and important differences with what “Scaled Agile Framework” is suggesting.
DAD. Disciplined Agile Delivery, associated with Scott Ambler. In some sense Scott has been talking about these issues for years. Now he and others have this site. Again, some similarities and some important differences as compared to SAFe and LeSS. [Note: Recently renamed to “Disciplined Agile.”]
Jeff Sutherland. He has recently done some excellent work in this area. Go here and also search for scaling. You will find videos and slide decks. Great stuff.
ScrumPLOP. The Scrum Pattern Language group. The two key people behind this (in my opinion) are Jeff Sutherland and Jim Coplien. I have already said I like the patterns idea. I have worked with Jeff Sutherland fairly extensively, and I have only the highest regard for him. This repository covers many things, and is not just addressing the issue of ‘scaling’, however one might define scaling. It has a number of ‘scaling’ patterns. Some of the scaling patterns include: Chief Product Owner, Product Owner Group, Scrum of Scrums, Impediment Removal Team, Organizational Sprint Pulse, etc. You will notice that some of the groups mentioned above use these same patterns, although they may call them something different.
I hope these resources are useful to you.
Again, I wish to remind you and caution you: Do not forget the individual team(s). It is rather easy to start talking about scaling and lose focus. Humans do that.
If you have great scaling and bad teams, you have almost nothing. If you have great teams, and fairly weak scaling, you still have something quite powerful. Don’t lose focus on what is important.