Abstract/Description

Agile Scaling question – how do you divide work across multiple teams? We found ourselves asking ourselves this time old question at a Health Insurance company when our product lines required more than a two-pizza team. We could have started doing a lot of up-front planning (what most scaling methods do), or we had a hunch that there might be a simpler approach. This is a pioneering story of our experimentation with using Open Space Technology as a way of (self) organizing people around work. Every two days, teams would self-form around a marketplace of things that needed doing. This Open Space like event resulted in the right people working on the right things at the right time (one of the Open Space principals) and essentially created a complex adaptive human system. Not only did we manage to scale successfully, but it also unleashed creativity and – the human spirit.
People said things like:
– I feel like I’m being treated like an adult at last
– This is the only way I ever want to work again
So what’s in it for management? A lower cost of ownership (we had one agile coach for a tribe of 100 people with no scrum masters), higher morale (lower staff turnover), fewer meetings (more time for productive work) and it didn’t require an army of agile coaches to come in and transform us.

If you like stories such as: Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet or Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal, you will love this session. If you are asking the question of how to scale for the first time, or have already started down the path and have hit challenges, there will be something here for you. Come with an open mind and spirit of curiosity to be inspired by a very different model of agile scaling.

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