Amplio Scrum

Amplio Scrum is Scrum based on the theories of Flow, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints. This enables it to be as easy to start as Scrum while usuallly being more fit-for-purpose than Scrum’s pre-ordained practices. This makes it simple to start but not being difficult to master. 

You can start with Scrum and shift into Amplio Scrum when you run into challenges. Alternatively, you can use provided collaboration boards to make a couple of modifications that make it more applicable to your teams.

When you have challenges, instead of leaving you to figure out what to do, as Scrum does, Amplio Scrum provides you with guidance on how to select an appropriate practice to help solve any challenge you are facing. Amplio Scrum is purposefully sufficient instead of being purposefully incomplete.

The flexibility of Amplio Scrum enables you to adjust your work methods to your team, taking less effort and motivation to get better results. The focus shifts from staying within the immutable confines of Scrum to how to create more value for your customers.

How do I get more information on this approach that’s as easy to Scrum to start, but doesn’t leave me hanging? Contact us here.

How Does Amplio Scrum Accomplish This?

Amplio Scrum takes Scrum from being based on the theory of complex adaptive systems to being based on the principles of Flow, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints. This enables Amplio Scrum to work in situations that Scrum does not work well. Because it takes a holistic perspective, it enables teams across an organization to do a Scrum-like process that fits each team.

Scrum also provides guidance on how to select practices appropriate to them. This enables multiple teams in an organization use a common approach without being restricted to inappropriate methods. All have the same objectives, but are left implement these according to their context and the type of work they do.

This enables teams  to work effectively when autonomous cross-functional teams aren’t possible, appropriate, or immediately available. This increases speed of adoption, lowers resistance, enables a team coach to work with more than one team and requires less follow up coaching.

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Three Assumptions Scrum Makes That Are No Longer Valid

Scrum was created in 1995. At the time, Flow, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints had yet to be moved to knowledge work. Being based on the theory that knowledge was a complex adaptive system, it was natural to think that no one set of practices would work. At the time, Agile was being formulated, and was mostly considered to be a team doing incremental, iterative development. It was therefore natural to build a system on values and two cornerstone practices – cross-functional teams and the sprint. The assumption was that in order for a framework to be simple to use, it had to be simple in construction.

The second assumption was that within this framework, people would figure out what to do. Evidence shows otherwise.

Flow, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints, however, have demonstrated that we know enough of the causes and effects of knowledge work to integrate theory with empiricism and take a more scientific approach.

The third assumption was that you could take teams doing Scrum and get them to work together through a Scrum or Scrum approach. This assumption contradicts Christopher Alexander’s insights on creating systems from a holistic view. In knowledge work, this involves building around the value streams.

Amplio Scrum Adds a few missing, but essential practices.

One reason that many teams have the same challenge is that Scrum is “purposefully incomplete.” This makes it simple, but leaves teams to re-create well know methods. Some of these include:

  • How to manage work in process by creating a focus on finishing.
  • The concept of Minimum Business Increments which represents the quickest value we can deliver.
  • Double-loop learning to challenge our assumptions of how we are working and not fall into dogma.
  • Definitions of Ready that speed things up.
  • How to use shared services teams. 

Clarity on the why of each of the roles, events, artifacts, and rules being suggested.

Amplio Scrum provides the “why” of every Scrum role, event, artifact, and rule. Without the “why” it is not possible to come up with better solutions to the challenges we face. With the “why” we can often create better ways of solving our problems than Scrum provides. Combining the why of each practices with the factors for effective value streams enables teams to choose (instead of re-creating) what practices will work best for them. 

The differences between Amplio Scrum and Scrum Guide Scrum

Scrum is attractive because it’s a simple framework. Using it as a starting point is often good. When more is needed Amplio Scrum can provide that. The first principles identified in Amplio both explain why Scrum works when it does, and how to modify it when appropriate.

Amplio ScrumScrum Guide Scrum
Based on Flow, Lean-thinking, and Theory of Constraints and practices consistent with them. These principles provide guidance to verify if the team is working properly.Based on empirical process control and complex adaptive systems. No first principles are provided. Provides no guidance on whether what the team is doing is consistent with first principles.
Uses the factors for effective value stream to provide guidance on whether a change to practice will be an improvementScrum suggests trying “safe to fail experiments” to see if something will be an improvement.
Can use flow or timeboxing.Uses timeboxing.
Several techniques for managing work in process.Uses timeboxing to manage WIP at a high level.
Provides alternatives value creation structures than cross-functional teams that are often required for the reality of the situation.Mandates cross-functional teams which are ideal when the situation allows.
Is a set of patterns so teams can decide how to implement what needs to happenIs a framework with the core practices being immutable
Intelligently incomplete. Allows for a tailored quick start and continued learning. Provides for new practices to be introduced as needed.Intentionally incomplete so can get an easy, quick start.
Includes advanced product management artifacts such as MVPs and MBIsPurposefully incomplete and does not provide these virtually universally useful concepts.
Works within the context the team finds themselves in.Designed for autonomous, cross-functional teams creating a new product.
Provides methods to help manage work in process.Requires practitioners to figure out how to manage work in process.
Includes coaching tips to help convey core principles to management. Alignment achieved through mutual understanding of principles.Does not include any coaching tips to convey any concepts. Alignment achieved by following Scrum.
Provides core concepts at the start and provides references to more as needed.A small set of concepts to start with. Practitioners are expected to figure out the rest.
Includes almost 2 dozen virtual collaboration boards to facilitate team and asynchronous communication.Doesn’t provide any virtual collaboration boards.
Provides insights in how to do development work efficiently.Leaves how to be efficient to the developers.
Prepares multiple teams to work together at small to medium scale.Is team-centric and provides little insights to expand to multiple teams.
Uses PDSA or OODA lops to “inspect and adopt” and improve model of understanding.Limited to “inspect and adapt”
Double-loop learning on both the way the team is working and on Amplio Scrum itself.Double-loop learning on how the team is working (Scrum itself is immutable).
Uses a continuous learning model.Uses an iterative learning model.