Achieving large scale Agility is perceived difficult by many organizations. Agility gets impeded when Agile teams needs to collaborate. As strategic As Agile consultant I regularly receive the question what needs to be done to achieve Agility at scale. The new scientific Agile 5+1 method guides the road to large scale Agility.

Question from practice
Large corporates need to increase their Agility to cope with changing market demand. A recent example is Vroom & Dreesman in the Netherlands. V&D was not able to compete anymore with faster, more innovative competitors.

The Agile manifesto for software development
The need for Agility was recognized by a group of leading software development experts. In 2001 they came together to rethink the way how software was developed. In that time many IT providers tried to develop software in a tightly controlled way. The failure rate of these initiatives was high. Software needed to be developed in a different way. The result of the meeting was the Agile manifesto with four values that were fundamentally different:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

Nowadays many software development initiates are managed with Agile methods. Even though some people are still skeptic about the Agile values, the success rate of software development initiatives has increased. The success of Agile values have now also intrigued experts in non-software development fields to deploy Agility beyond software development.

Large scale Agility remains difficult
Despite the success of Agile, achieving Agility in large settings remains difficult. Agility is achieved with small teams that operate nearly autonomously. When multiple Agile teams are interdependent and need to collaborate Agility gets impeded. More guidance is needed to achieve Agility in large settings.

The Agile 5+1 method
The Agile 5+1 method offers that guidance. In collaboration with the VU University and TU Delft we developed Agile 5+1, based on the recognized need in the market and my PhD research. Agile 5+1 consists of a model and a framework. The framework contains 20 intervention actions to achieve large scale Agility in software development and non-software development settings. The model summarizes the framework, as shown below.

Agile 51 model

Two instances of Agile 5+1 has been already successfully applied in a number of my consultancy assignments at multi-nationals.

Publication and next steps
Agile 5+1 also completes my PhD, with the main research question: "How to improve the Agility of a network of IT service providers". The paper with Agile 5+1 has been sent to a scientific community for acceptance. Hopefully the results will interest the group of leading experts. When the paper gets accepted I will present the results at the upcoming conference. Since the paper has been submitted for acceptance I cannot share the method via the net yet. However feel free to contact me for more details.


Agile as the Promised Land

Last week our article about the five Agile organizational change themes was published in the Dutch IT Management magazine (TITM). A must read for each executive accountable for successful Agile...

Read more

My doctorate Thesis about Improving the Agility of service networks now availabl…

Many people ask me whether they can get an online copy of my doctorate thesis. The thesis is available via the press article about my defense at the Vrije Universiteit...

Read more

Introduction to the Responsive Enterprise

Almost daily I receive questions about The Responsive Enterprises, such as Google. My latest blog links to more information the topic.

Read more

Digital Transformation requires flexible IT

Last week our article about the Digital Revolution and Agle 5+1 was published in the Dutch magazine 'Information'. Herewith the link to the electronic version of the article.

Read more

Talk at Agile Consortium 25 March 2015

The Agile Consortium is the Agile knowledge platform for organizations and professionals, with international linkages such as England and Switzerland. On the event of 25 of March I joined the Agile...

Read more

Agile 5+1 method: implement Agility at scale

Achieving large scale Agility is perceived difficult by many organizations. Agility gets impeded when Agile teams needs to collaborate. As strategic As Agile consultant I regularly receive the question what...

Read more

How Agile/Kanban helped us getting closer as a family

Sometime ago I watched a movie about Agile programming for families at That talk inspired me. Since we embrace new ideas as family, we decided to introduce a Kanban in...

Read more

How to manage a set of codependent Agile teams?

We recently performed an experiment at a large multinational bank to reduce the delivery time of new features that are delivered by a set of codependent Scrum teams that supports. We...

Read more

Presentation in Cyprus about collaborating Agile teams

In June 2014 I I presented the results of our latest case study to our colleagues at the Fifth International Conference of Software Business, in Cyprus.

Read more

What are six collaboration related issues in scaled Agile settings?

Do you want to know how to solve collaboration issues between Scrum teams? Studying collaboration issues at a numbe of large IT service providers revealed six blocking issues. Alleviating these...

Read more

Reducing the feature delivery time of a set of codependent Agile teams (evidence…

In 2013 we performed an experiment at a large multinational institute to reduce the feature delivery time of a set of codependent Agile teams. We achieved a significant reduction by...

Read more

How to get less IT failures at large IT providers (evidence)

Blog article summarizing an experiment in the banking industry showing that Agile principles in a group of interdependent teams drastically improves IT incident handling.

Read more

Information sharing to minimize the negative impact of IT failures

A few weeks ago we went grocery shopping at the Albert Heijn. When entering the Albert Heijn we witnessed empty shelves due to a computer failure. Great!

Read more

Presenting my vision about information sharing at Mensura conference

In October 2013 I presented my research about information sharing within an IT service network to a group of leading scientists. The paper was presented at the 23nd International Workshop on...

Read more