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Missing Some Pieces?

GROWS Skill Stages

Perhaps there’s a lot more to modern software development and digital transformation than you think. Scrum, Lean, DevOps and agile approaches are each only one small part of the picture. To be successful in the new economy, you need more. You need to fill in the missing pieces.

You need the GROWS Method™.

Because “agile” and “DevOps” isn’t enough

Benefits of using the GROWS Method™

The GROWS Method™ helps you grow software and grow skills using fast-feedback experiments, Tracer Bullet Development, and organizational learning practices.

  • Predictable: enjoy the consistency of regular, continuous delivery of software that your business needs using the right rhythm.
  • Repeatable: relax in the comfort of stable, reliable and proven technical and engineering practices that reduce risk and unpleasant surprises in production using the right way.
  • Traceable: know you’re supporting executive and organizational goals by building what’s needed to meet today’s reality by building the right thing.

What is the GROWS Method™?

The GROWS Method™ is a set of practices and approaches to integrate effective software development and learning within an organization. It’s based on several key concepts:

  • Continuous Development using Tracer Bullet Development to grow software in a steady, robust and responsive manner

  • Fast Experiments that provide feedback loops to answer technical questions and drive practice adoption and process pruning

  • Continuous Learning using a skill stages model and practices to guide personal and organizational growth and development

  • Inclusiveness to ensure that all parts of the organization work together, effectively


From Seeds to Success

A seed is a generative principle that can advise and inform you in many different contexts. Once you understand the nature of a seed, you can apply that idea in multiple situations. This will help you answer questions and solve problems depending on your unique situations. There are four seeds in the GROWS Method™:

  1. Loops, not Lines A naive approach often follows very linear, predictive thinking. Unfortunately the real world does not work that way. Read more…
  2. Organic, not Robotic Systems are not built, they evolve. The evolving, non-linear and learning nature of software and digital work is closer to an organic process… Read more…
  3. Intentional, not Accidental Many critical activities are often neglected and left to chance, where they might happen poorly or not at all. Instead, you want to be very intentional. Read more…
  4. Actuals, not Proxies Humans naturally filter raw sensory input. You don’t really see everything in front of you, your brain reduces the vast amount of visual information to simplified forms… Read more…

Is GROWS for You?

The Cynefin model describes five different decision-making domains:

  • Obvious: “Known knowns,” the situation is stable, and the relationship between cause and effect is clear: if you do X, expect Y.
  • Complicated: “Known unknowns,” the relationship between cause and effect requires analysis or expertise; there are a range of right answers.
  • Complex: “Unknown unknowns.” Cause and effect can only be deduced in retrospect, and there are no right answers. These systems are impervious to a reductionist approach, because your very actions change the situation in unpredictable ways.
  • Chaotic: “Emergency.” Things are actively on fire. Cause and effect are unclear, this is an emergency situation, first priority is to “staunch the bleeding.”
  • Disorder: “Clueless.” You don’t know which of the domains you are operating in. This is the murky area in the middle of the figure. Very dangerous, as any decision here is likely the wrong one.

    CC BY-SA 3.0, Dave Snowden

Scrum and even waterfall can work well in the Obvious domain. More agile approaches are required for Complicated domains. A high level of skill and ability is needed for Complex domains. The GROWS Method™ will help you and your teams navigate the treacherous waters of Complex domains, and help you avoid slipping into Chaos. (Figure by Dave Snowden, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Next Steps →

Ready to get started? Here are some tips and initial steps to get you headed in the right direction.

Get Started 

Ready to dive in with an overview of the GROWS Method™ and in-depth descriptions of the processes and seeds? Dig deeper and learn what the GROWS Method™ is all about.

Dig Deeper 

Ready to make it real and start growing your organization? We offer workshops that will jump-start everyone’s understanding and get you off on the right foot.

Workshop Info 

"I especially like the GROWS Method™ fixed-rate understanding of team velocity. I've used that idea on a project where I was able to show that given our task list and our current velocity (reported daily on a wall calendar), we needed help. We got it, and I was then able to show we were on track."
—Mike Bonar, Victoria, BC

"The themes that hit closest to home for me were aligning my work with Executive Vision/Initiatives, permitting Experimentation and tracking my growth through a Learning Journal. I recommend learning how the GROWS Method™ can help your team grow through the application of Agile and Lean methodologies and beyond."
—Harold Meder, RTP, NC

"Best presentation of the conference. Best articulation of the usefulness, right use, and limitations of agile."
—An Introduction to The GROWS Method™, Agile Development Conference East

"Spread this information to masses—this is what the real world needs"
—Zemira L, The GROWS Method™ Tutorial

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See our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to common questions.

Read our Articles on GROWS for more in-depth discussion on popular topics.

Check out the Overview of GROWS, or our short Getting Started Guide.