Something ELSE for Scaling Agility

It’s becoming increasingly clear that a Copy & Paste of the “Spotify model” or rolling out SAFe has a vanishingly small chance of realising the untapped agility of your organisation.

Scaling agility requires fundamental changes to an organisation as it is so much more than bolting in a new process and set of “best” practices. Badly applied scale frameworks often make the situation worse, rarely resulting in sustained and positive change, with more roles and processes dragging progress and old habits reasserting themselves.

It’s not that the contents of scaling frameworks are necessarily bad, but we need to recognise that practices are context-specific, and that meaningful and sustaining change requires an emergent journey rather than a transactional switch from old to new ways of working.

It’s time for another approach, it’s time for something ELSE!

ELSE (Emergent Large-Scale Evolution) – is a continuous improvement approach that fosters emergent practices, guided by actionable principles, to enhance organisational agility at scale.

A free resource that aims to increase the probability and level of success for organisational agility and large-scale products. Although it offers an alternative approach to those offered by Scaling frameworks, ELSE is not incompatible with many of the patterns and ideas contained within them.

It acts as a guide to help analyse and understand the current context and set your organisation on a journey of continuous improvement and fostering of emergent practices.

  • Engaging and empowering people in a generative change process that emerges context-specific and appropriate practices.
  • Supporting your organisation with the challenge of enacting and sustaining change.
  • Providing a set of Scaling Principles at an “actionable” level of detail to support a critical inspection process to understand improvement opportunities.
  • Acting as a guide for the direction of improvement.
Emergent Large-Scale Evolution

Want to know more?

The ELSE MVP was made publicly available at OOP 2024 in Munich and will be in a state of continuous evolution helped by your feedback!
The Perspective sections describe the underlying concepts and approaches in some detail. So, for example, if you want to understand:

  • the change approach at the heart of ELSE, have a read through the Change Perspective
  • how leaders catalyse and support the evolution of an environment that engages, empowers and unleashes the human potential of an organisation then absorb the Leadership Perspective
  • how to shape product and product ownership at scale, check out the Product Perspective
  • how to structure and support highly effective autonomous Agile teams then review the Teams’ Perspective

The Principles provide a direction of travel and a way to view and understand your current context. The principles are more abstract than practices and should therefore be more universally applicable. However, they are pitched at what we term, an “Actionable” level of detail with the intention that they should be concrete enough to be practical. For a deeper discussion of why we focused on Actionable Principles as opposed to practices that we find in frameworks go here.

The current form of ELSE has been created through a collaboration of five diverse Agile coaches and trainers with plenty of battle scars: Pierluigi Pugliese, Colin Bird, Matt Roadnight, Simon Roberts and Jan B. Olsen.