Agility at scale is one of the crucial issues for large organizations, so we interviewed four experts in order to put together an ebook, allowing us to understand the contributions of agility at scale and SAFe. The following article is an extract from this ebook and allows us to know if a software application is needeed in order to take a scaled agile approach.

Laurent Charles
Laurent CHARLES, CEO and co-founder of Enalean (Tuleap)

The software tool becomes essential when members are in the same frame of mind

As we’ve already noted above, for 36% of people, the implementation of a tool shared by all teams is a key factor in the success of a scaled agile approach.

A tool without a process is ineffective. A process without a tool is inefficient.”

For me, the answer to this question is the same as for agile on a smaller
scale. It’s the same as “do we need a tool to do Scrum or Kanban?”
I always respond to our clients: “Not at the start. But yes, very soon, you will.” A tool without a process is ineffective, while a process without a tool is inefficient.

No, because agility, whether on a small or large scale, first and foremost involves a culture, a set of values, which can be transmitted through games, simulations, failures, and attempts of varying degrees of conclusiveness.

Then, when the people involved all share the same mindset, the software tool becomes indispensable: in order to work and manage projects remotely, aggregate information, have better traceability and history of the project lifecycle, automatically have charts that are helpful in monitoring the project, and so on. And because the Post-its are falling off the board and are put back at random by the person who comes to do the cleaning! We ourselves have witnessed this 🙂

Laurence Hanot coach agile
Laurence HANOT, agile coach at Zenika

The tool is essential but must remain above all a support

I very much like the point made by Enalean: “Not at the start. But yes, very soon, you will”. That’s exactly right. I’m not talking about tools to facilitate the developments that seem essential to me (source manager, code reviews, continuous integration, etc.), but about tools to manage backlogs, spreadsheets, indicators, and so on.

Visual management is awesome but has its limitations in a scaled context,
while remote working has, I’m afraid, buried this practice for a while.

Tools are therefore essential in a scaled agile context but should support practices and principles rather than constraining or limiting them.

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