12 Scaling Agile to an Enterprise Level

AS A RESULT OF THE widespread adoption of agile practices, large corporations are beginning to apply agile at an enterprise level. This has introduced some new challenges of how to scale agile principles and practices to an enterprise level and what to do about many of the existing project management office (PMO) practices and other higher-level business management practices that are typical in large enterprises for managing portfolios of projects and products.

Our experience is that ‘core’ Agile methods such as Scrum work wonderfully for small project teams addressing straightforward problems in which there is little risk or consequence of failure. However, ‘out of the box,’ these methods do not give adequate consideration to the risks associated with delivering solutions on larger enterprise projects, and as a result we're seeing organizations investing a lot of effort creating hybrid methodologies combining techniques from many sources.1

Dean Leffingwell identifies two primary challenges involved with scaling agile to the enterprise level in his book, Scaling Software Agility—Best Practices for Large Enterprises:2

  1. The first challenge is overcoming the challenges inherent in the methodology. Scaling an agile methodology to an enterprise level requires reinterpreting the values and principles behind the methodology in a much larger context, and typically also requires some adjustments in agile practices to adjust to that context.
  2. The ...

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