Scaling Scrum in a Large Globally Distributed Organization: A Case Study

We present a case study on scaling Scrum in a large globally distributed software development project at Nokia, a global telecommunications company. We discuss how the case project scaled Scrum while growing from two collocated Scrum teams to 20 teams located in four countries and employing a total of 170 persons. Moreover, we report scaling challenges the case project faced during this 2,5 year journey. We gathered data by 19 semi-structured interviews of project personnel from two sites, interviewees comprising different roles including managers, architects, product owners, developers and testers. The project was highly successful from the business point of view, as agile enabled fast response to customer requirements. However, the project faced significant challenges in scaling Scrum despite attempts at applying the Large-scale Scrum (LeSS) framework. The organization experimented with different ways of implementing scaling practices like implementing common sprint planning meetings, Scrum-of-Scrums meetings, common demos and common retrospectives, as well as scaling the Product Owner role. We conclude the paper by reflecting on the scaling approach used in the case organization in contrast to the LeSS framework.

Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius (Aalto University): Scaling Scrum in a Large Globally Distributed Organization: A Case Study