Scaling Agile: A Guide for the Perplexed: An Interview with Sanjiv Augustine


In this interview, Sanjiv Augustine, the president of LitheSpeed, sheds light on a handful of scaling frameworks, including the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), and the simple scrum of scrums meeting.

Josiah Renaudin: Today, I'm joined by Sanjiv Augustine, the president of LitheSpeed and speaker at out upcoming Agile Development, Better Software & DevOps Conferences East. He will be delivering the presentation “Scaling Agile: A Guide for the Perplexed.” Thank you very much for doing this today, Sanjiv.

Sanjiv Augustine: Thank you very much, Josiah. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. I appreciate your time today.

Josiah Renaudin: I appreciate your time, too. First, could you tell us just a bit about your experience in the industry?

Sanjiv Augustine: Sure thing. Hard to believe, but I'm actually over the twenty-five year mark. (laughter)

Josiah Renaudin: Congratulations.

Sanjiv Augustine: Thank you. Hopefully, I'm learning as I go. I've at various points been everything from an advertising production person, to an engineer, to a computer programmer, to architect project manager, program manager, and now entrepreneur and agile and lean consultant.

Josiah Renaudin: Why has agility—and this is a pretty basic question for your overall keynote—why has agility become such a massively important aspect of organizational success?

Sanjiv Augustine: I'm so glad you're asking that question right up front because it helps set the context of what we are about to talk about. If you look at our business environment, especially this has really accelerated after the 2008 recession and such, it has become completely imperative for all organizations. This does not matter whether you're in the public sector, or private sector, or anywhere in-between. It's become imperative for all of us to be able to better respond to change, and to do it quickly, and with a reasonable cost or low cost. Right?

Josiah Renaudin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sanjiv Augustine: There's an amazing statistic that I saw a couple of years ago. This is that the average life of a company on the S&P 500 Index has dropped and is trending downwards. It used to be forty-five to fifty years on the index, and that is about fifty years ago. Now, it's trending towards fifteen years.

Josiah Renaudin: Wow.

Sanjiv Augustine: Think about this turn. Companies are being created, compete for a little while, and become unable to compete because these are changing so rapidly. We live in an age of extreme flux. It's really up to all of us to be able to respond to change much more quickly.

Josiah Renaudin: It makes it seem like an uphill battle in order to maintain a company like that. We're becoming faster. We need to adapt more to change. What is the process of scaling early agile adoptions beyond individual teams and all the way to programs, portfolios, and the enterprise as a whole? How intensive is that?

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