In a small single-team product, organizing the team around customer value and being centered on the customer is pretty simple and obvious. But the more teams, the more they become like cogs in the large development machine. Like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times, their jobs are to turn screws but have no idea how the customer will use the product… or who that customer actually is. In large-scale groups, we see people creating code without really knowing why with respect to the paying customer.
So in LeSS the challenge is how scale and still keep a customer focus? A theme in LeSS is elements that are reminding—through structure and practice—to be connected to paying customers. You don’t have a business without satisfied customers, and the more that everyone is connected to real customers and cares about them, the better. LeSS focuses on that vision. How?
- A focus on feature teams that are aligned with creating end-to-end customer-centric features, rather than component teams.
- In very large groups that need to subdivide to be manageable, the LeSS Huge framework divides teams into Requirement Areas focused on major areas of customer requirements, rather than on architectural subsystems.
- The LeSS Product Owner is a connector of customers/users and teams, rather than an intermediary.
- Teams do the detailed refinement/analysis with customers/users (rather than the Product Owner).
- Since teams do most refinement of items, the Product Owner has more free time to focus outward on customers.
- There is a single Product Backlog shared by all teams on the product, that is being continuously reprioritized, to optimize the overall system for customer delivery