Scaled Professional Scrum – The Nexus Framework


Today I did some research about Scaled Professional Scrum and the Nexus Framework, the exoskeleton of scaled Scrum. Via this blog post I’ll share the material I’ve studied. If this topic appeals you and you’re interested in some more in depth information, this post might be a good starting point. I’ll only share some the highlights, please check the original articles for the full context.

This blog post contains highlights of:

  • Introducing Professional Scrum – Nexus by Gunther Verheyen
  • A description of the Nexus framework and the new roles, artifacts and events
  • The benefits of the Nexus framework
  • The whitepaper “Scaled Professional Scrum – Rationale of the framework”
  • The presentation Gunther Verheyen gave at Scrum Day Europe

Scaled Scrum and Scaled Professional Scrum

Re-blog of the post Introducing Professional Scrum – Nexus by Gunther Verheyen

Scrum is a framework for complex systems development.

  • Scaled Scrum is any instance of Scrum involving more than one team creating and sustaining a product or system.
  • Scaled Professional Scrum is any instance of scaled Scrum that thrives on Scrum’s formal rules and roles, complemented by software development professionalism, and Scrum’s values and principles.

The Scaled Professional Scrum framework of provides guidance to organisations engaging in efforts to scale their product development done through Scrum. The framework cohesively integrates practices, experience and insights gained from efforts to scale Scrum worldwide, including the substantial efforts that involved Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, co-creators of Scrum.

The Nexus Framework

At the heart of Scaled Professional Scrum is a Nexus, an ‘exo-skeleton’ for Scrum. A Nexus employs the Scrum process to inter-connect 3-9 Scrum Teams building one product. It drives to the heart of the scaling issue – continually identifying and removing dependencies created by increased complexity. It builds on the existing Scrum framework and values. The result is an effective development group of up to 100 people using best industry practices. For larger initiatives, creating product families or interoperating functional units, created Nexus +, a unification of more than one Nexus.



Nexus Roles, Events, and Artifacts

Description fetched from the website

  • Product Backlog; an ordered list of the single source of requirements for a Nexus. The work of all individual Scrum Teams is contained in this single Product Backlog.
  • Nexus Integration Team; a Scrum Team whose primary work is to coordinate and guide the work of the Nexus Scrum Teams. The Integration Team consists of a Scrum Master, Product Owner, and people with other necessary skills.
  • Nexus Sprint Planning; an event that creates a plan for an upcoming Sprint work for all Scrum Teams within a Nexus. This meeting is structured to wring out dependencies, enable coordinated work, and deliver an integrated Increment.
  • Nexus Daily Scrum; a daily planning meeting where the representatives from the Scrum Teams of a Nexus evaluate and re-plan work in the Sprint Backlog.
  • Nexus Sprint Review; an event that coordinates overall progress by inspecting the integrated Increment and making appropriate adaptations to future planned work.
  • Nexus Sprint Retrospective; an event where the Integration Team and representatives from the Scrum Teams of the Nexus evaluate and improve how the Nexus operates.
  • Nexus Sprint Backlog; a high-level plan that coordinates work for all Scrum Teams within a Nexus, highlighting dependencies between teams.

Nexus Benefits

Description fetched from the website

  • Organises teams to maximise their productivity
  • Organises people into right teams so efforts are optimised
  • Shows managers how to organise and manage large number of teams to rapidly build software
  • Helps managers detect anomalies in productivity
  • Provides practices for addressing them
  • Presents patterns that enable self-organisation of larger number of developers

Whitepaper – Scaled Professional Scrum

The whitepaper “Scaled Professional Scrum – Rationale of the framework” (PDF) is available through the website. One of the parts I found striking is the distinguish between Scaled Scrum, Scaled Professional Scrum and Mechanical Scrum. Check the whitepaper for the full description of the Scaled Professional Scrum framework.

When more than one Scrum Team uses Scrum to develop the same software, that is referred to as “Scaled Scrum”. When empiricism and bottom-up knowledge creation are employed at scale, transparency and technical excellence are embraced, and Scrum’s underlying values and principles are enacted, it is “Scaled Professional Scrum”. Only professional Scrum scales the benefits of Scrum. Mechanical or amateur Scrum (some say ‘zombie Scrum’), characterised by a lack of proper engineering standards and missing integration, does not scale, as excessive dependencies remain unresolved, permanently.

Presentation “Scaled Professional Scrum”

At the “Scrum Day Europe” event of July 2 in Amsterdam Gunther Verheyen introduced the Scaled Professional Scrum framework of and the Nexus in the opening keynote. I’ve added some highlights of the presentation, check Slideshare for the complete version.

  • Professional Scrum: any instance that implements Scrum’s mechanics, its values and principles, and technical excellence.
  • The ability to scale depends on your ability to continuously
    • Identify and remove dependencies
    • Integrate work at all levels
    • Create and inspect reified increments
  • The Nexus augments Scrum, builds on Scrum values, principles, and foundations
    • Creates communication pathways
    • Widens and deepens inspect and adapt mechanisms
    • Fosters continuous transparency
    • Relies on bottom-up intelligence
  • The Nexus interconnects 3 – 9 Scrum Teams
    • Exhibiting Scrum’s principles and DNA
    • Creating one reified Increment or product
    • Minimal overhead, maximised outcome
  • “The future state of Scrum will no longer be called “Scrum”. What we no call Scrum will have become the norm, and organisations have re-invented themselves around it.”

As mentioned before, these are only some highlights of the material I’ve studied today. If the topic is appealing to you, I hope the related articles, whitepaper and presentation offer you some more in depth information.