Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS – A Book Review
Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS is about scaling Agile and the Scrum framework for larger organizations. Agile methods and processes have been proven effective in small teams, but questions and problems arise when applied in enterprises. The book explains and provide guidance on how to apply the agile and effective simple structure of Scrum with large teams and large software development projects. Through the adoption of the LeSS framework, complex organizations and enterprises can also achieve agility and flexibility.
Large-Scale Scrum paperback edition is about 6.9 in. wide, 1 in. thick, and 9.1 in. tall. It ships about 1.3 pounds. It has 368 pages divided in 15 chapters. The book is available in paperback and Kindle formats. It was published in August 2016 by Addison-Wesley Professional Publishing, belonging to the Mike Cohn Signature Book series. This is the first edition and published in English. ISBN-10: 0321985710; ISBN-13: 978-0321985712
Large-Scale Scrum is for anyone involved in large-scale software development. It is valuable to senior executives, IT managers, project managers, development team leaders and members. It is also a resource material for Agile and Scrum coaches and consultants. Appreciation of the book depends on a prerequisite of basic Scrum knowledge.
What Customers Say
David K. (Amazon) stated that he recommends Large-Scale Scrum to company leadership before they attempt to transition to Agile/Scrum. He saw in the details of the pages the patterns and behaviors that led to successful transitions. He also saw written in the book the important basics that some organizations failed to grasp, which led to unsuccessful transitions.
Sebastian G. (Goodreads) described it as a starter handbook for those interested in understanding what LeSS is about. He described the initial chapters as full of scaling considerations and scenarios. The most interesting parts were those that discuss the role of management, the boundaries of product, and the approach to refinement. He also stated that compared to the previous books of the authors, this is more brief.
Lorenzo (Goodreads) stated that it is a good book where he found many answers to questions he had about scaling Scrum. Although the book had great ideas, he said that one has to dig in to find them. It was confusing because early chapters were referencing to later ones. But all in all, he was happy to have read it.
Content, Approach, Style
Content: Large-Scale Scrum’s 15 chapters are divided into 5 parts: the introduction about what LeSS is, the LeSS structure, product, sprint, and conclusion. The structure discusses about how large organizations can adopt it, how to organize by customer value, the role of management, and Scrum Masters. The product and sprint goes into details of how these should be scaled. The book covers the entire project lifecycle, and also addresses multisite/offshore environments, adoption strategies and organizational design.
Approach/Tone: The authors provide explanation as if talking directly to the reader. They use ‘You’ mostly, addressing the reader and providing explanations they discovered over years of experience experimenting and implementing Agile and Scrum. They share discoveries and realizations, repeat the important concepts, and show how they can be applied at a larger scale.
Style: Specialized technical and organizational terms are usually defined in their first use, as they appear all throughout the book. Important concepts and principles are placed in special headings. Discussions follow in short paragraphs and lists. Illustrations are used as visual aid. The ideas of scaling are shown by referencing the principles when applied to one team, and then applied to many teams.
Why Buy the Book
Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS is a great book to start understanding the LeSS framework and how it can be adopted by larger or more complex development teams. It reminds the reader of important principles and guiding rules as they apply to larger teams. It is a handy reference to ensure smooth transition and the benefit of being agile regardless of how teams grow in the future.
Craig Larman is an independent coach and consultant who specializes in iterative and incremental development, Agile software development, Scrum, Lean, and organizational design, among others. Craig received his Bachelor’s in Science degree and Master’s degree both in computer science at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is the co-creator of Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework with his colleague, Bas Vodde. He has worked as lead coach and/or consultant for Xerox, Ericsson, JP Morgan, Cisco-Tandberg, Alacatel-Lucent, Nokia, and many more. Craig has also authored/co-authored other software development and Scrum text books.
Bas Vodde is the Director of the LeSS Company, a consulting company with the purpose of promoting LeSS through training and coaching. Bas is also a Scrum Trainer and Agile Coach for Odd-e, a Singapore-based company providing professional training and coaching. He received his Bachelor’s in Science degree in computer science at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He is an expert in Agile and Lean software development. He actively contributes to the Open Source community in C++ and Ruby languages. He has worked in different countries, including at Nokia in Helsinki, where he worked together with Craig. They have co-written books about scaling Lean and Agile development.