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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Feb 21, 2020

This week on the podcast, Dan Neumann is joined by his co-host and colleague, Sam Falco. They are joined by special guest, Gene Gendel, an Agile Coach, Trainer, and Organizational Design Agent. He is a proud member of the Scrum Alliance Certified Enterprise Coaches (CEC) and is Certified in Agile Leadership (CAL), Large Scale Scrum (CLP-LeSS), and Scrum @ Scale (S@S). Gene’s focus is on helping organizations and teams with improving system design and organizational structure and overall efficiency which he engages in at all organizational levels (senior leadership, mid-level management, teams, and individuals.)


Today, Dan, Sam, and Gene will be exploring the Large Scale Scrum Framework also known as LeSS! They’ll be giving an overview of the framework, going over some of the lesser-known aspects, debunking some of the misconceptions around it, and highlighting the types of organizations and organizational challenges it is best suited to address. Gene also provides many key insights and tips for the framework!


Key Takeaways

What is Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)?

It was initially called LSS (with the ‘e’ added later because “less is more!”)

It is Scrum

It is not multiple teams doing their own, independent Scrum; It is multiple teams working in the same Scrum, for the same Product Owner, on the same wider defined product, on the same cadence

An organizational design framework

It is not a way to scale up or make things more complex

It is often referred to as a de-scaling framework as it requires the removal of organizational overhead in order to scale up Agility

Highlights organizational problems and asks you to solve them

How to address fear and resistance when it comes to implementing LeSS:

Mid- and first-level management can be resistant to anything that is bringing about change or uncertainty — but not to worry: LeSS will not change your organization in a broad and shallow way; it is meant for deep and narrow organizational changes that take months to years to succeed

The type of organizational challenges LeSS is best-suited to addressing:

When the organization needs to get many teams working in the same direction to deliver on a project, product, or significant capability

How does LeSS help teams coordinate across their boundaries in order to pull together in the same direction?

Since there is so much transparency and visibility between the various teams in various channels with LeSS, there is almost no additional need to coordinate outside of those events

Every team in a LeSS product group is almost a clone of another team

Other important aspects of the LeSS framework:

It is highly encouraged to communicate in-person with one another

The Scrum Master is a full-time role (if a company implements LeSS they should be prepared to go to HR and makes sure that a Scrum Master is entered into the database as a role on par with any other role)

LeSS managers are capacity builders, not task managers

LeSS introduces a concept called ‘undone work’ which is a necessary evil at the beginning steps of LeSS reduction (the goal of LeSS is to shrink the undoneness to null over time)

The LeSS framework wasn’t created reactively to meet market demand; it was very proactive and has almost a decade of experiments and experiences documented behind it

In order for a LeSS product group to be formed you need to properly define the product


Mentioned in this Episode:

Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)

Larman’s Laws of Organizational Behavior

The Scrum Guide

The Green Book: Collection of Independent Essays About Agility, by Gene Gendel


Gene Gendel’s Book Picks:

Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management, by Taiichi Ohno

Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS 


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