Navigating the Ocean of Scaling Frameworks

Evelyn Tian
Confused about so many frameworks about agile at scale? I am sure that you know each organization is different - there isn't such a concept of one-size-fit-all.

How do we work with agility at scale in our own context?

Check out this blog to see why skills in scaling can help advance your current unique situation.
Recently, we have launched a new program, Certified Agile Skills – Scaling, which has triggered a lot of interests and also some confusions.

This is a typical email inquiry from one of our aspired students who have followed me on their entire growth path on product, agile and leadership.

“I have four SAFe certifications, took Scrum@Scale, studied Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), and just registered to DAD. I have loved my learning journey with you, and want to take more programs with you. For this scaling program, I have trouble seeing why I need to take another scaling program. What’s the difference between your new scaling program and all the programs I took already?”

Sad but true – the popularity of agile has created many commodities around agile. Every consultancy company started to offer agile consulting, and many certification programs showed up. Among all of these, one big and expensive commodity is around scaling. I never manually counted the number of scaling frameworks out there myself but one of my mentees counted back in 2019. There were already 13 back then. So there are a lot of them, which has created a lot of confusions unfortunately. There are so many certifications, including some role based certifications. We have to learn how to navigate ourselves in the oceans of scaled and/or scaling frameworks.

Confusion and frustration – I worked with multiple corporate clients that implemented a certain framework which generated a lot of frustrations and confusions. Some started to adopt a blueprint and changed all their teams to squads (I love Spotify as a product, but I fear to hear words such as squads, or tribes as an enterprise coach). Some has been working with a certain prescriptive framework for years but also has been living with years of confusions. A simple example is one of the product managers I worked with had to have meetings with over 50 people to work on a sprint release. He felt frustrated, confused and overloaded with coordinations. And he is definitely not alone…..

What is YOUR current situation?

  • Are you puzzled about how to work with agile at organization level, although you may have taken many different courses on scaling and have a range of certification?
  • Are you frustrated about role confusions and conflicts since your company may have begun to adopt a scaled framework, but ended up with new roles and terminologies based on the specific prescription from the framework.
  • Are you challenged with product delivery after your company started to set up these squads, tribes?
  • Are you buried into dependency and coordination after your group started to work with certain prescriptions?

All my mentees and students know that I love to bring in positive energy and new perspectives.

So let’s explore some positivities –
  • Are you curious about how to best work with agile at scale?
  • Are you passionate about advancing your current organization situation to the next level?
  • Are you determined to support your teams and colleagues working with clarity and energy?
  • Are you interested in growing your skills in scaling that are independent of frameworks?
  • ….

If one of the above applies to you, please continue reading.

Each organization is different, and each organization is unique.

Let’s imagine we are in this super hypothetical situation…

Assume you copy a successful product’s product idea, business model, and even their product architecture, even software line by line, plus their organization structure, roles and responsibilities definition, and even processes and tools. Then we still have differences between your organization and this role model organization you just copied.

Surprisingly:-) there is a list of things you can’t copy. Just to name a few:

If one of the above applies to you, please continue reading.

  • You can’t copy people (at least not yet at this moment when this blog is written:-)
  • You can’t copy an organization’s culture;
  • You can’t copy the same customer bases;
  • You don’t have the same product situation and challenges;
  • And your organization and product will not evolve in the very same way;

So you cannot simply copy. What can we do then?

We grow skills in scaling so that we can work with all different contexts, and we can adapt when our situations evolve. In short, skills in scaling will help us approach the topic of agility at scale with an agile approach.

Skills in scaling are NOT about learning another prescriptive framework – there are too many of them already and we definitely don’t need another one. We learn instead the philosophy of agility at scale, we learn to use a principles inspired and patterns-based approach. Using this approach, we learn to work with your current challenges and contexts. You might have adopted partially a scaled/scaling framework, or have entirely adopted a scaled/scaling framework but with various challenges and negative emotions.

With the correct philosophy, we build the right mindset and practice with established and proven patterns during the workshop. We learn about scaffolds we can use during the journey. Patterns and scaffolds will go through possible life cycle while our organisation and product evolve and situations emerge.

In short, we will grow our skills in scaling to use an agile approach to approach the serious topic of agility at scale.

  • If you are curious about agility at scale,
  • If you agree that every organization is different and unique,
  • If you understand that the organizational level cannot directly implement those prescribed frameworks – there is no one-size-fit-all when it comes to organization,
  • If you are confused about the prescriptive framework currently implemented in your organization,
  • If you are eager to advance beyond so many prescriptive scaled/scaling frameworks,
  • If you cry for real agility,
  • If you want to grow your own skills while supporting your own organization to advance,

Check out the details about our scaling program – learn about scaling philosophy, mindset for agility at scale, and grow skills in scaling beyond existing frameworks.

Also, don’t forget to join our global community of agile practitioners – we have practitioners from 81 countries in our community, across different industrials and a lot of diversities.
Write your awesome label here.

Join our community

Thank you!
We have supported practitioners from 80 countries, and have monthly free activities for our community members.

You can bring any topics to our activities, or just get ready to network.
Created with