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LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)

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What is LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)?


Definition of LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)

LeSS (also known as Large Scale Scrum) is an agile approach that shares many similarities with the traditional Scrum framework but is ultimately different. LeSS is a way to scale Scrum for a number of teams working in unison on one product.

While traditional Scrum was conceived as a way for individual teams comprising a small number of people to work together in Sprints, LeSS can apply to cross-functional teams consisting of thousands of workers. 

How does LeSS work?

While the Scrum ways of working were designed for small individual teams, LeSS aims to apply Scrum principles to companies operating on a larger scale, implementing cross-functional teams that vary in size. There may be just eight workers in one team, or there may be 800… or 8,000! 

LeSS has 10 principles, enabling teams to apply the general Scrum philosophy throughout entire organizations. The principles include: 

  • Transparency 

  • More with less

  • Customer-centric

  • Systems thinking

  • Lean thinking

You may also hear of LeSS in two formats: Basic and Huge.

Basic LeSS is suitable for two to eight teams consisting of 10 to 50 individuals. LeSS Huge can be used by more than eight teams, encompassing potentially thousands of people. 

What are the differences between LeSS and traditional scrum?

The main differences between traditional Scrum and LeSS include:

  • Groups work from shared backlogs for the whole product being developed, rather than team-specific backlogs

  • All teams share one “definition of done”

  • Teams operate in a common Sprint, instead of a team-specific Sprint

General FAQ

What does LeSS stand for?
LeSS stands for Large Scale Scrum, which is a scaled-up version of traditional Scrum. There are two LeSS configurations available (‘Basic’ and ‘Huge’), to suit companies of different sizes. LeSS enables potentially thousands of people to work on a single product.
What is the difference between SAFe and LeSS?
SAFe — previously known as the Agile Enterprise Big Picture — is another scaled agile framework. The main difference between SAFe and LeSS is the nature of team meetings. In SAFe, the emphasis is on every team member attending big team planning and review meetings every 2-3 months. LeSS is a more streamlined approach, involving more frequent meetings, with fewer team members attending.
What are some key features of the LeSS Framework?
In the LeSS framework, teams should be self-managing and cross-functional. Scrum Masters focus on multiple teams (as many as three) and practices, rather than a single team. Managers are not always essential in LeSS, and their responsibilities may vary.

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