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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 14, 2020

This week on the podcast, Dan Neumann is joined by his collaborator Sam Falco and special guest, Michael McGreevy! Michael is an Enterprise Agile Coach at Grow Financial and is a Certified Scrum Professional, Agile Leader, and Scrum@Scale Practitioner.


A couple of episodes back, Christy Erbeck shared some of her beliefs and understanding around the scaled Agile framework, SAFe. That fascinating conversation led hosts Dan and Sam along a journey to discovering other scaling frameworks. So, in today’s episode, they’re continuing their conversation around scaling and taking a look at Scrum@Scale! Michael explains some of the basics of Scrum@Scale and shares his own experiences with the framework, Agility, and scaling in general within his professional work at Grow Financial.


Key Takeaways

Challenges Around Scaling:

It is unique to every organization

Too prescriptive of a framework can become its own impediment

How these challenges can be addressed:

You don’t have to use all of a framework; just what is necessary

Benefits to Scrum@Scale/Why Grow Financial is using elements of the Scrum@Scale framework:

It brings their teams together to get things done more effectively

Helps to create transparency throughout the organization

It is more simple than other frameworks

It introduces concepts for people who might not know how to start scaling

Creates complete alignment between all teams

Supports information flowing both ways (from the “lowest” teams under the development scale all the way up to the enterprise team)

It also supports information flow laterally (i.e. between the software teams and marketing teams)

There’s ambiguity with the framework so success can be determined by the teams and enterprise

More visibility into what all teams are doing and how it impacts other teams

Creates more transparency (which is key in transformation as it helps to not let any teams lag behind)

Possible challenges with Scrum@Scale:

Because the framework is so simple it is somewhat vague and difficult to get right; there isn’t a clear path to success

You need to make sure that everyone in the organization is on board and understands it

Michael’s advice on scaling:

Don’t get too prescriptive with any one framework — give it a try but be willing to adjust aspects of it or be okay with moving on to trying something else


NEW SEGMENT! Listener Q&A:

Q: Janis, a Scrum Master at Fidel (a growing fintech startup from the UK), describes how their company is currently in a fast-growth and global expansion phase where they’re expanding from a single agile team to multiple teams. They ask Dan and Sam to talk about the dilemma of letting the devs do code reviews for other teams vs. keeping code reviews inside the team.


A: It’s good that Janis is interested in making sure that the knowledge of the codebase remains strong across the team and that the knowledge does not get fragmented and siloed. However, there are more than two options to explore. Here are some other ways for Janis to have a richer conversation with their team about how they might foster shared knowledge amongst team members as their teams grow: Pairing, Promiscuous Pairing, Mob Programming, Team Reviews/Inspection/Walkthroughs, and Unit Test Automation.


If you have a question you would like to send in, email or tweet using the hashtag #AgileThoughtPodcast!


Mentioned in this Episode:

Michael McGreevy

Grow Financial

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 61: “Christy Erbeck Busts Myths About the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)”


Scrum of Scrums
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson,
Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 45: “The Benefits of Mob Programming with Chris Lucian”


Michael McGreevy’s Book Pick:

The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies Are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done,
by Stephen Denning


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