What is Nexus?

What is Nexus?

In practice, some companies work with parts from the Nexus framework without really realizing it. Why? A Scrum team is no longer the norm. Many companies have now implemented several Scrum teams and are looking for their own solutions at the beginning, how teams should communicate or plan with each other. Nexus is a framework like Scrum and comes from scrum.org. Unlike what many think, Nexus focuses purely on product development and not business development. But what is Nexus? How does the framework work? Are there alternatives? These are the questions I'm exploring today.

What is Nexus?

A nexus is described as a joint development unit working on a complex product. Development units form our Scrum teams, which consist of Scrum Master, Product Owner and a team of developers. In the Nexus we try to give answers to how we manage to create an integrated increment with 3 to 9 teams in an organized and structured way. Many who work with Scrum have already heard of Nexus.

Since we are talking about scaled product development with 3 to 9 teams, many think that there is some new content here in comparison. I claim that most companies that have worked with Scrum will transition to Nexus if necessary. This means that some content and roles are already clear. Nexus is strongly about understanding and willingness to let multiple resources develop together. A lot of "new" content (roles, artifacts, events) is not added because of this.

Contents of Nexus: Roles and Events

So can I "just" get started with Nexus if I already have some Scrum experience? No. While we will find familiar content, there is still new stuff that we need to know and, most importantly, understand. In addition to our familiar roles, there is the Nexus Integration Team (NIT). This consists of the product owner, scrum master and other team members (such as representatives from the development teams). Responsible for the integrated increment, the NIT makes sure that the individual teams work on the right tasks and that their output can be integrated into a "complete" increment at the end of a Sprint. For this purpose, the NIT already tries to prepare the product backlog in the familiar refinement so that prioritization, dependencies, allocation and content are clear.

In my opinion, the most important activities for Nexus can be found in the events. If we have several teams working on a product, they have to plan together and also clarify together with the stakeholders at the end of the sprint what was created in the sprint. All team members come together and pick the tasks from the product backlog to be able to deliver a joint increment with the other teams at the end of the sprint as just described. The teams work in equal sprint lengths, so that synchronization is possible at any time. It is precisely in these joint events that the challenge usually lies. Some organizations do not allow the entire nexus to be given time for the same event. But that's what's important in scaling approaches: Collaborative planning, review, and adaptation. Here, once again, we need a clear understanding of what is needed to deliver high quality output on a regular basis.

Alternatives to Nexus: Other scaling models

Besides Nexus, there are other frameworks and methods that focus on scaled solution development. There is, for example, LESS (Large Scale Scrum) or the well-known SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework). Both approaches are more comprehensive than Nexus, since they also want to provide answers to a company's development.

LESS seems to me personally to be the most agile framework. We stay in our Scrum roles and try to regulate a lot through self-organized teams. Responsibility is clearly delegated downwards in order to be able to make decisions more quickly. At the same time, the framework clearly states: In order to work with LESS, we need a lot of experience in the agile area.

SAFe, on the other hand, requires a few more roles and in its complete view maps a total of three levels: Essential, Large, and Portfolio SAFe. We can use it in agile development of solutions (services, systems or products) and/or for enterprise development - depending on how we adapt the framework and which level we use. It is important to know that we can only completely change an enterprise at Portfolio level if we include our Portfolio level of SAFe.

However, many approaches of the frameworks are similar. The mindset and understanding of agile working must be present in order to be able to recognize successes sooner. With Nexus, we got to know the joint execution of events. We find it similar with SAFe. So-called PI (Program Increment) Planning involves all teams and roles involved in delivering the solution. The only difference is that here not only one sprint is planned, but several are planned directly. Please have a look at our YouTube Channel for more information on this topic. There you will find some interesting videos about SAFe and Nexus.

Conclusion: Nexus as the ideal entry into scaling

On the market there are the most different models and answers to scaling possibilities in the agile world. For me, Nexus is the simplest entry point if we already have experience in Scrum. At the same time, we need to know exactly that we are looking at pure product development with Nexus and do not want to directly restructure an entire company. With Nexus, we have several Scrum teams working together on a solution. In doing so, we can already test what the acceptance and understanding of a scaling form looks like.

If we realize that it works and we want to continue towards business development, SAFe is a good choice. Teams already know how to collaborate and plan sprints together, so they can transition more smoothly into the SAFe framework. To do this, we need to give them time as a company. It takes time to have experienced Scrum teams and it takes time to work with Nexus and deliver complex products. It also takes time for a whole company development.

Are you particularly interested in one of the above solutions? Then contact us or visit one of our training courses. We will advise you on the right way to the scaling framework!


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