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ION Trading

LeSS Adoption at ION Trading

(by Grant Stead)

I am Scrum Master for teams for three different products, all of the products new, all of the teams new to Scrum, LeSS, and Agile frameworks. These are small product groups, with just a few teams in each.

For the TA product, there are two co-located teams. Both teams consist of half the team having worked with related products within our organization for ten plus years, and the other half new to the industry and company (less than 2 years). Both teams refined the PBIs together in multi-team PBR so that either team can pick any feature from the Product Backlog. When our first client went live, we needed to provide more support. Having two teams that are interchangeable helped balance support work vs. new feature development work. We noticed however that the biggest issue was not between having two teams working collaboratively, but rather on the interaction between seniors and juniors within the same teams. Having juniors work with seniors from the other team did however help alleviate this concern.

For the DC and CM products, each product has two teams, located in separate countries. Separating the team into two countries allowed for higher scalability (given that at times hiring new resources is tougher in one of these locations). The teams were composed of people mainly from existing teams working on legacy products.

Originally, the DC teams worked on separate parts of the product (which naturally splits into two parts). When the need arose to focus on one of these parts (after one and a half years of development), we joined the two teams, by adopting LeSS. Knowing that we had to catch up on the knowledge debt, we held a one week initial PBR where we flew one team to the other. The week focused on covering the more detailed requirements of the coming release (a 3 month period), the longer-term goals of the part we were to focus on and explaining the current design. By the end of the initial PBR we had also refined various features together and were able to start working on them. From then on the teams refined together in a multi-site multi-team PBR (using communication tools such as Google Hangouts) and within just a few Sprints either team could pick any feature from the Product Backlog. This allowed us to progress faster where we needed to.

Some of the factors that influenced our adoption of LeSS were:

  • The maturity of the team within their Scrum journey.
  • The maturity of the team members themselves. The DC team members were typically more mature within our organization and industry.
  • The balance between paying down our knowledge debts vs. making short-term progress towards known delivery.
  • The percentage of time spent in pure green-field development vs. time spent supporting clients.