Product management glosary

LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)

What is LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)?

LeSS, or Large Scale Scrum, is a framework for scaling agile development and Scrum practices to larger organizations and multiple teams. It is designed to enable the efficient and effective delivery of high-quality products by providing a set of principles, guidelines, and practices that help organizations adopt Scrum at scale. LeSS was developed by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde, who have extensive experience in applying Scrum and agile principles to large-scale projects and organizations.

Why is LeSS important?

As organizations grow and their product development efforts become more complex, it can be challenging to maintain the agility, collaboration, and focus on delivering value that is characteristic of Scrum and other agile methodologies. LeSS provides a way for organizations to scale their Scrum practices while maintaining the core principles and values that make Scrum effective. By adopting LeSS, organizations can achieve better alignment between teams, improve communication and collaboration, and ultimately deliver higher-quality products more quickly.

Key principles of LeSS

LeSS is based on a set of principles that guide its implementation and practices. These principles include:

  • Empirical process control: LeSS emphasizes the importance of transparency, inspection, and adaptation in managing complex product development efforts. This means that teams should regularly review their progress, make adjustments as needed, and continuously improve their processes.
  • Whole-product focus: In LeSS, teams work together to deliver a complete, integrated product, rather than focusing on individual components or features. This helps to ensure that the product is cohesive and provides the desired value to customers.
  • Customer-centric: LeSS encourages teams to prioritize the needs and desires of their customers, and to make decisions based on delivering the highest value to those customers.
  • Continuous improvement: LeSS promotes a culture of continuous learning and improvement, where teams are encouraged to regularly reflect on their practices and make adjustments as needed to improve their performance.
  • Lean thinking: LeSS incorporates principles from Lean manufacturing, such as minimizing waste, focusing on value-added activities, and optimizing the flow of work through the system.

LeSS framework and practices

The LeSS framework consists of a set of practices and guidelines that help organizations implement the principles of LeSS. Some of the key practices include:

  • Feature teams: In LeSS, teams are organized around features or customer-centric capabilities, rather than components or subsystems. This helps to ensure that teams have a clear focus on delivering value to customers and can work together more effectively.
  • Product backlog: LeSS uses a single product backlog for the entire organization, which helps to ensure that all teams are working towards the same goals and priorities.
  • Sprint planning: In LeSS, sprint planning is a two-part process, with an overall product-level planning session followed by team-specific planning sessions. This helps to ensure that teams are aligned on their goals and can effectively coordinate their efforts.
  • Coordination and integration: LeSS encourages teams to coordinate and integrate their work regularly, both within and across teams. This can include practices such as daily stand-ups, cross-team meetings, and regular integration of code and other work products.
  • Retrospectives: LeSS promotes regular retrospectives at both the team and organizational level, to help identify opportunities for improvement and drive continuous learning and growth.

In addition to these practices, LeSS provides guidelines for areas such as organizational structure, management, and leadership, to help organizations create an environment that supports effective large-scale Scrum implementation.

LeSS vs. other scaling frameworks

There are several other frameworks and approaches for scaling agile and Scrum practices, such as SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), Nexus, and Scrum@Scale. While each of these frameworks has its own unique features and focus, they all share the goal of helping organizations scale their agile practices while maintaining the core principles and values of Scrum.

LeSS is often considered a more lightweight and flexible approach compared to some of the other scaling frameworks, as it focuses on providing a minimal set of principles and practices that can be adapted to the specific needs of each organization. This can make it a good fit for organizations that are looking for a more adaptable and less prescriptive approach to scaling their Scrum practices.


LeSS is a powerful framework for scaling Scrum and agile practices to large organizations and complex product development efforts. By providing a set of principles and practices that help organizations maintain the core values of Scrum while scaling their efforts, LeSS can enable organizations to achieve better alignment, collaboration, and ultimately deliver higher-quality products more quickly. If your organization is looking to scale its agile practices, LeSS may be a valuable approach to consider.