How to understand when SCRUM is no longer enough?

How to understand when SCRUM is no longer enough?

The Author:
Alyona Lubchak
Alyona Lubchak,
SAFe program consultant

In which cases is SCRUM sufficient for companies, and in which cases should they pay attention to other development models? Agile transformation expert, Helen Lubchak will talk about optimizing software development processes.

Symptoms that indicate the need to scale up

Sometimes situations arise that demonstrate that Scrum is not enough to organize teamwork. These situations manifest themselves in communication problems, difficulty in setting up the work process and organizing task control. All of this leads to negative consequences such as product release delays, accompanying errors in code or modules, and a decrease in overall work quality. To prevent such situations, it is important to carefully monitor the work process and make timely changes to the development process. So what are the symptoms? Let’s consider 5 cases from our expert’s practice.

1. A large number of participants in the work process

If more than 30-35 performers (designers, testers, developers, managers) are involved in the project, it is necessary to switch to a more complex development model than just Scrum. Then you already have 4-5 teams working on one product, and they need more than regular Scrum to organize development.

2. Duplication of tasks in different teams

Sometimes a situation arises where two teams in the same company are working on the same task at the same time. The most common reason for this is poor communication, lack of synchronization between teams and product owners. To prevent this, it is important to establish systematic communication with the recording of agreements from the early stages of the project. This will help to mitigate the risks of duplication and allow Scrum masters of all teams to synchronize their actions.

3. Dependencies

On a larger scale, there are often dependencies between tasks that different teams are working on. These dependencies quickly become a tangled mess if they are not tracked and managed. Teams can lose track of them, and releases are constantly delayed due to the unpreparedness of one or another part of the product.

4. Lack of systematic improvements at the cross-team level

Teams may be capable of making improvements at the team level, but not at the cross-team level. It’s important to add other ways of organizing development that include tools for improving at the cross-team level.

5. Company culture

When a company scales, the internal culture often becomes diluted. Typically, product IT companies grow from small technical startups founded by a group of like-minded individuals. As the company scales, the cultural elements that helped in the early stages of the company’s life cycle begin to hinder its growth. For example, rigid decision-making centralization and closing all communication channels to one person. When everyone was in the same room, everyone knew everything. But as the company grows, staying up to date on important changes requires the use of formal processes.


The Scrum framework is suitable for small teams (up to 10 participants). If you already have 4-5 such teams, there may be problems with communication and synchronization of work tasks and processes. When scaling a company, attention should be paid to special frameworks (SAFe, DAD, Nexus, Scrum@Scale, LeSS), which allow organizing, controlling, and editing the actions of many teams without reducing the quality of work or the digital product.

You are facing the task of scaling and implementing SAFe, SoS, or another scaling framework in Agile? E5 consultants will not only provide recommendations but also help you implement them in your company, taking into account your business processes and constraints. Book a free consultation: