Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Seeing The Big Picture With Scrum

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
WhatsApp

A common phenomenon happening in organizations implementing scrum is that something is missing – the big picture. People are saying “We used to have High-Level Designs – where are they?”, “We used to have an architecture before developing – where is it?”. The answer will usually be that as we are working with small batches we need to focus on what’s immediately coming up and so other things are getting neglected.

But this is a confusion. Nothing should be neglected. For sure we cannot neglect long-term thinking and planning.

Why are we losing the big picture?

The reason for this confusion is that scrum focuses on the iteration, on the short term. As depicted below.

In the above illustration (taken from Wikipedia) you can see that most of the action is on the right-hand side of the picture. There’s a big circle denoting the iteration (originally it said 30 days, I took the liberty of changing it to 2 weeks) and above it the 24 hours cycle.

Most of the attention is on the cycle of iteration. The scrum events/ceremonies (depending on your school) are all around the iteration.

What doesn’t get attention in most implementations is the arrow on the left, connecting the backlog and the sprint backlog. A lot of stuff is happening on that arrow, depending on the organization, for example:

  •       High-level design
  •       User Experience Design
  •       Reviews

What should happen before the sprint?

The thing that escapes many organizations is that this arrow is not directly related to the iterations but rather is an ongoing process. Something like this:

In addition to the process of the scrum team, there is an ongoing process of high-level designs, architecture, and more – things that usually take more time.

This process – backlog grooming – is where we are cooking the scope on low heat, preparing it for the boil of the iteration. This is where you have time to think, process, to look at the big picture. We shouldn’t overdo this or the scope will get spoiled, of course. We need to do just enough so it will be ready for the teams.

The people involved in this process will be product managers, architects, team leads, experts, and others, some of them from the scrum teams. During planning, some capacity of the teams should be reserved for this.

How should we manage this?

We usually recommend using the Kanban method to manage this process, from end to end. This will help you understand what’s going on around you and control it.

Here is an example flow used by many:

On the left, you can see what’s happening before development. As you see, what’s happening in the iteration is just one column – DEV, one stage in the lifecycle of items.

The idea is that we manage two streams: the iteration stream and the end-to-end stream.

Once you set this board, there’s no going back. Until that moment management was all the time concerned with the various teams’ progress. Once they see the big picture two good things happen: first, management raises their heads, looking ahead, handling big obstacles, and making strategic decisions. The second thing is that teams can finally work quietly without being bothered all the time by questions from management 🙂

Subscribe for Email Updates:

Categories:

Tags:

Agile and DevOps Journey
RTE Role
Agile Games and Exercises
SPC
Scrum Master Role
Self-organization
speed @ scale
Agile
Agile Mindset
Webinar
Jira admin
The Agile Coach
Story Slicing
predictability
Agile Release Planning
Code
TDD
Lean Startup
Spotify
Reading List
Agile Basics
Risk Management on Agile Projects
Slides
Agile Exercises
Coaching Agile Teams
Releases Using Lean
Product Management
Agile Israel Events
Kanban Basics
AI Artificial Intelligence
Continuous Delivery
Portfolio for Jira
Applying Agile Methodology
Achieve Business Agility
NIT
chatgpt
ScrumMaster Tales
Jira
Kanban Kickstart Example
RSA
Scrum Primer
Legacy Code
ROI
Sprint Planning
Agile Product Development
ALM Tools
Kanban 101
Lean Agile Leadership
An Appreciative Retrospective
LPM
Systems Thinking
Artificial Intelligence
Accelerate Value Delivery At Scale
Kanban Game
Lean Budgeting
Scrum and XP
Lean and Agile Principles and Practices
Engineering Practices
Agile Testing Practices
Test Driven Development
Implementing SAFe
LeSS
Agile in the Enterprise
Nexus vs SAFe
GanttBan
Product Ownership
Rapid RTC
Nexus Integration Team
Daily Scrum
Entrepreneurial Operating System®
Amdocs
WIP
Elastic Leadership
Effective Agile Retrospectives
Lean Agile Management
Continuous Deployment
Lean Agile Organization
System Team
Agile Project Management
Value Streams
PI Objectives
Managing Projects
Iterative Incremental Development
DevOps
Agile India
Release Train Engineer
System Archetypes
Tips
Agility
Scrum With Kanban
Agile Assembly Architecture
agileisrael
Nexus and SAFe
Agile for Embedded Systems
SAFe DevOps
Lean Software Development
Risk-aware Product Development
Lean Agile Basics
Perfection Game
Lean Risk Management
Lean-Agile Software Development
Managing Risk on Agile Projects
Acceptance Test-Driven Development
Advanced Roadmaps
Introduction to ATDD
RTE
Jira Plans
Certified SAFe
Limiting Work in Progress
System Integration Environments
Scrum.org
SA
ARTs
LAB
POPM
Hybrid Work
IT Operations
Enterprise DevOps
A Kanban System for Software Engineering
Certification
Agile Product Ownership
ATDD vs. BDD
Process Improvement
What Is Kanban
Kanban
ART Success
Continuous Planning
Professional Scrum Product Owner
Continuous Improvement
Lean-Agile Budgeting
Jira Cloud
Kaizen Workshop
Agile Marketing
Legacy Enterprise
Built-In Quality
Frameworks
Lean and Agile Techniques
speed at scale
Change Management
Agile Contracts Best Practices
User stories
AgileSparks
Agile Israel
Operational Value Stream
lean agile change management
ATDD
Agile Techniques
Manage Budget Creation
Professional Scrum Master
AI
SAFe Release Planning
Scrum Values
EOS®
Video
Agile Release Management
Program Increment
Presentation
Agile Development
Scrum Master
Professional Scrum with Kanban
Large Scale Scrum
Quality Assurance
Implementation of Lean and Agile
QA
Agile Games
Software Development Estimation
Kaizen
The Kanban Method
Nexus and Kanban
Lean Agile
Scrum
PI Planning
Agile Community
Atlassian
Atlaassian
SAFe
Development Value Streams
Tools
Continuous Integration
Scrum Guide
Risk Management in Kanban
Planning
Games and Exercises
Introduction to Test Driven Development
Covid19
Keith Sawyer
BDD
Software Development
Agile Program
Agile Delivery
Team Flow
Business Agility
Sprint Iteration
Agile Project
Agile Risk Management
Scaled Agile Framework
Agile Outsourcing
Sprint Retrospectives
Principles of Lean-Agile Leadership
Pomodoro Technique
AgileSparks
Logo
Enable registration in settings - general

Contact Us

Request for additional information and prices

AgileSparks Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter, and stay updated on the latest Agile news and events

This website uses Cookies to provide a better experience
Shopping cart