Big Companies that Scaled Scrum with Nexus Framework | Part 2

Part I of this series can be found here.


We would like to extend our gratitude to Scrum.org, for giving their valuable feedback on our previous article about transforming to Nexus. In this blog, we describe the transformation of notable companies, that have been requested and suggested by Scrum.org, to the Nexus framework.

The companies that have been included in this article are KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Net Health, and Terminales Portuarios Peruanos. These issues majorly ranged from having no clarity on integrating their product into one, coordinating multiple teams, and scaling difficulties. These companies understood and realized where they were lacking. With Nexus, they found the ideal solution to their problems that eventually led them to the path of success.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is one of the oldest airlines in the world. Founded in 1916, the airline company employs 32000 employees generating € 10 billion yearly.

In 2014, new programs were launched under the newly appointed CEO, Pieter Elbers which were focused on making the company extremely customer-centric. These programs included Customer Experience, High-Performance Organization, Operational Excellence, and Digital Transformation.

They were already using Scrum. But problems started to arise when:

  • The backlog was not being prioritized
  • They were not quick to resolve impediments
  • The people were resistant to the idea of changing their current culture
  • They were having difficulties scaling to multiple teams

In 2016, Nana Abban, an agile coach from the South African Company Akaditi and a member of the Engagement Manager community of Scrum.org, was selected by KLM to help them with their persisting problems.

A workshop was held in which teams were taught how to prioritize their tasks. But seeing how the requirements and the set up of the company was, they needed Digital Studio. Digital Studio evolved from both Scrum and the Nexus Framework. This is useful for coordinating across a large organization with ease. Scrum Studio focuses on creating highly functional teams that are focused on their tasks and openly communicate with each other.

With Scrum Studio, the Digital Transformation program was a home run. Their performance boosted in operational performance, ability to innovate, time to market, and customer experience. They also formed new partnerships with Apple and IBM in creating new applications that were used at the airports.

With the Scrum Studio, the company continues to grow and expands into new ventures like Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain.

Cathay Pacific Airlines

Cathay Pacific is a highly-reputed Hong Kong-based airline that flies to over 200 destinations around the world. It is also a member of the Swire Group and is listed as a public company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In 2015, the IT Team at Cathay Pacific had to launch their new Internet Booking Engine. They needed a framework that would help them deliver in the shortest time possible with the highest quality. The company was using waterfall with some elements of scrum which was creating challenges for them. These are listed as follows:

  • Failing to make an integrated increment.
  • Not delivering the product on time
  • There was a lot of rework being done
  • The teams were not coordinated and did not have a solid vision

In February 2017, with the help of Scrum co-creator Ken Schwaber, the company was bound to transform to Nexus. But to get there, they needed to strengthen themselves by building a strong understanding and foundation of Scrum.

Three cross-functional Scrum teams were made. These teams had a mix of UI, UX, and front-end developers and a separate team for back-end development.

After two months of having implemented Nexus, Cathay Pacific was on the verge of coming on top of their game. Previously, they were releasing their product increment once a month. But with Nexus, they started to release two to three times in a single month thus increasing their frequency of releasing increments increased by 200%.

The Nexus Integration Team ensured that an integrated increment was delivered which helped in maintaining the focus of the teams on to their vision thus improving their quality. DevOps was gradually introduced to boost the development and delivery of their processes. The Product Owner also started to attain visibility into the teams’ work.

Ken Kwan, the IT lead at Cathay Pacific, says that Nexus is an extremely lightweight and minimalistic framework that was easily implemented.

Net Health

Net Health specializes in software solutions for outpatient care and dutifully serves 98% of the largest hospital chains in the USA. It has its head office in Pittsburgh and three regional offices present in Altoona, Jacksonville, and Brentwood with a workforce of 300 employees. They have four departments of Software Development, Quality Assurance, Program Management, and Product Management.

In 2014, the company first adopted Scrum. But with time and taking up huge projects, the company was having difficulties working with scrum as they were struggling with:

  • Breaking out of silos
  • Integrating work of multiple teams into one
  • Ineffective communication amongst teams
  • Failing to scale to multiple teams
  • Failing to manage dependencies
  • The absence of a single product owner

The Nexus Framework was discovered by one of the Scrum Masters at Net Health and it promised the solution to all of their problems. They chose Nexus because the teams were familiar with scrum already and liked the fact that Nexus focused a lot on self-organization.

After having implemented Nexus, there were five scrum teams that delivered three integrated increments at the end of every sprint. The teams started to communicate more frequently with each other as a way to break out of their silos to reach out and help their team members.

With Nexus, they found a way of how to deliver quicker and with optimum quality. They had regular inspect and adapt sessions that were necessary for relentless improvement.

Terminales Portuarios Peruanos

Terminales Portuarios Peruanos is a company in Lima, Peru that provides services for maritime, port, and warehousing activities.

It was struggling to align its business objectives with development and to improve time to market. They were presently stuck in using a mix of Waterfall, Rational Unified Process, and traditional Project Management. The problems that they had were:

  • The teams were not properly coordinated
  • The teams could not prioritize their work
  • Unnecessary waiting time that slowed down delivery and reduced their value.

They realized that it was time to change, and instead of having a mix of frameworks, they wanted to adopt one framework and scale that effectively.

They started off with Scrum. When scrum was understood, they naturally moved to Nexus and it did wonders for them. They found it extremely easy to adapt and simple to understand. The Product Owner played a key role in working with the business stakeholders to align the business objectives with what the users need. A single product backlog was made that had all the tasks prioritized into one.

With Nexus, sprints were timeboxed to two weeks and delivered at the end of every sprint. After one month of Nexus, the teams had their first release. There was a 300 percent in velocity with an increase in business.

The resources have been obtained from Scrum.org

If you’re interested in having a comparative review of different scaling agile frameworks, click here.


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