Nexus Scrum4

How to start a Nexus in practice?

Nexus and SPS have been online for a while. There are organisations around the world giving it a try and, of course, there are questions about how to set up and begin using Nexus in an organisation. These are some practical tips that helped me and my clients on our journey.

Start with Scrum

Scrum needs to work before you can start scaling. That means, applying Scrum with its roles, artefacts and ceremonies, feel that the principles of empiricism are there and delivering a done Increment at the end of every Sprint. Nexus works when built up incrementally, because trying to make it work without having the foundations (Scrum and empiricism) first will be a very complex journey to professionally scale Scrum.

Build the Nexus iterative and Incrementally

Once you have two teams working with Scrum and decide to add a third, then you can begin with the Nexus. Make sure everybody understands what the Nexus is about and give enough training and time to solve questions. Don’t ask people to just blind follow the change because that will create a lot of unnecessary anxiety.

Have a Nexus Increment before you add more teams

A big difference that this framework portrays with other scaling frameworks is that it focuses on producing value at the end of every sprint. The more teams you add, the more you’ll face integration, dependencies and relationships issues. Achieve a steady pace before adding more teams.

A good Nexus implementation is one that flows

Things should flow as you build up, if they don’t, or if there are too many impediments, just stop, inspect, adapt and should be necessary, descale back. Remember, no matter how much people is unoccupied, having just the right amount as you build up will mean more value in the future.

Promote techniques that encourage knowledge sharing

As you build up, promote pair programming and communities of practice. Albeit the Nexus does not tell you how to deal with the culture, your organisation will have to face them. Make sure you account for them as you go. Should the change means an organisational change, take a look at Evidence Based Management.

Let self-organisation arise within the Nexus

The same a Scrum Team must be self-organised to really benefit from Scrum, the Nexus must be too. It’ll be a different kind of self-organisation that adds up the different personalities from Teams. Self-organisation within the Nexus has to allow differences and create a context where diversity among teams is not only allowed but encouraged.

Last, but not least, consider attending an SPS Workshop to learn about 50+ practices to put the Nexus to work.

You can read more about how to start with Scrum in Spanish in my personal blog

Jerónimo is a Scrum.org's Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) and an Agile Coach. He supports small & large organisations transition from process-centric to value-centric systems, working at strategic level with top management and C-execs as well as functional teams to make transformations happen using frameworks like Nexus and Scrum.

  • Pradip Ghosh

    Hi Jeronimo good practical tips provided for Nexus implementation. I wanted to understand the statement “Things should flow as you build up, if they don’t, or if there are too many impediments, just stop, inspect, adapt and should be necessary, descale back.” Does that mean if things are not working fine we should go back to previous state. That means if we are working as a Nexus of 3 Scrum Team we should descale that Nexus & work like three different Scrum Teams. If my understanding is right then how long we should work in that descale status & how we should plan to reform Nexus?

    • Jerónimo Palacios

      Hi Pradip, thanks for your comment.

      My experience so far is that when two scrum teams work well and follow the principles of empiricism and the Scrum Framework, they already have most of the impediments to form a Nexus solved, i.e.: A single Product Owner, a Single Product Backlog, they deliver an integrated increment at the end of the sprint, they deliver on the same cadence. Adding a third team and the additional Nexus Artefacts, Ceremonies and Role won’t change much the situation.

      So, in short, the answer is Yes. If you’re working as a Nexus of three teams and can’t deliver, the best option is try to solve the issues and if needed, descale and work with two Scrum Teams again, inspect and adapt the Nexus and when things are working again, try again.

  • Pingback: Issue 48 - Agilean Weekly()

  • Edward Newton

    We currently have two teams that are scrumming quite well from a single product backlog. We don’t haven any integration issues between these two teams. Our product does, however, share a lot of common code with two other products in our company. I know that Nexus is designed for more than three teams on the same product, but should it be used across inter-dependent products? Is there a Nexus for cross product integration?

  • http://common-tech.com Theron James

    Any tools you would recommend for visualizing cross team refinement within a Nexus Scrum? Looking at this example in slide 15 here http://www.thepathtoagility.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Scaled-Professional-Scrum-for-COHAA.compressed.pdf but looking for tools to accomplish this.