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I was always wondering how people can manage 30-50 people projects. Working for software company, you can have 1-2 small projects, 7-8 people each. This can be managed using Agile.

Now what if the scope if so big that you really need so many people. How do PMs approach that ?

Do they create project management team, PM - responsible for the whole project and project coordinators who are responsible for smaller deliverables ?

Or PM and technical team leads ? (Is this ok, according to PMO strategy)

I don't believe it's possible to manage 30-50 people directly. One-to-one meetings will fill all your time.

Could you please describe your experience ?

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There are two major methods of scaling Agile, being:

  1. Scrum of scrums
  2. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Scrum of scrums is much less structured (and complex) in it's approach than SAFe and is essentially adding that next layer to your Agile process (combining and coordinating at a level above the Scrum teams).

SAFe takes this complexity and structure a few steps further and defines things like Release Trains and Portfolio views which will allow you to fully integrate Agile practices into a large enterprise.

http://www.scaledagileframework.com/

Depending on the size and complexity of the products and requirements you're dealing with there's no "right" answer as to which is better, it's a "horses for courses" approach. If you only need a small amount of scale, Scrum of Scrums should work very well. If you are looking to scale much larger (hundreds or even thousands of people) then the Scaled Agile Framework has provided the blueprint for this to work successfully.

I've used both (in different scenarios and levels of scale) and they're both valid, but SoS is definitely much "lighter touch" and simpler to implement at the smaller scale (SAFe may have too much overhead unless you're really planning on scaling large).

  • Scrum of Scrums works well in situations with few technical dependencies between teams, SAFe (or DaD) is better if teams have many dependencies, or shared resources to manage. – Andrew Clear Oct 21 '15 at 19:57
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In the military there is a leadership concept called "Delegate and Disappear". The key thing is that you provide your direct reports with sufficient guidance to understand what they need to do, how it fits into the overall plan, who their hand offs are, etc. and then get out of their way so that they can lead their own teams in getting it done. This has several advantages:

  • It limits the number of team members you have to chase after
  • It empowers your team to achieve your objective their way within the boundaries of your plan
  • It allows you to focus on key issues rather than minutiae

Note that this whole approach is alien to a lot of managers, which makes sense because managing a team is different from leading one. The main challenge managers seem to have is that it requires you to trust your subordinates. But this should be easy if the manager has done their job and given the team adequate guidance and training.

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A typical approach (and one that I've used) is the Scrum of Scrums along with highly-visibly artifacts for dependencies, risks, etc. owned by individuals on each team. There are also more formal frameworks around scaling agile, such as SAFe.

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