During the registration of a recent Agile conference, browsing the program chock full of Scaled Agile presentations, a friend of mine looked at me and asked, “Is scaling Agile the most important problem for us to help solve in today’s business climate?”

By “scaling Agile”, I mean solving a problem involving lots of people, say 10 cross-functional, multi-disciplined teams, with a focus to be able to deliver incrementally, reliably, predictably, across these teams, living the values underlying the Agile Manifesto.

Being able to deliver in shorter iterations, adaptively, along with a set of values based on trust and respect, was a problem that the 17 Agile Manifesto signatories tried to tackle 13 years ago at a Utah ski resort. Being able to deliver in shorter iterations, adaptively, across 10 teams was not something they discussed.  (Dr. Alistair Cockburn is the exception to this, where his Crystal family of methodologies includes team size and business criticality concerns.)

Today, the marketed methods of scaling Agile are numerous now, SAFe, DAD, Less, ScrumPlop, with patterns of Scrum with Scrum of Scrums involving Chief Product Owners, and lets not forget LAFABLE…(and I know as soon as this is posted there will be a method surely missed.) The debate on pros-cons of scaling methods, how scaling can fail, how to do it right and win, etc. is a trending topic at Agile conferences these days.

What do you think? Is scaling Agile our biggest problem to help solve? If not, what do you think is the most important problem for us to help solve in today’s business climate?