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Adopt TDD for a smooth Scrum experience for your teams

As you might already be aware, TDD stands for Test Driven Development. Adoption of TDD is a key factor for the success of your Scrum teams and in turn for your success as a Scrum Master. I will explain the why and how of TDD and how it helps smoothen Scrum experience in this article. As you might be already doing, with Scrum approach, there are no grandiose design sessions/detailed designs done up-front but the focus is getting working pieces of code out and fail fast if there are any issues. The key reason being – designs change as you progress with the development of code and your code should be flexible enough to absorb major or minor changes until towards end of the development. If complete designs are done up-front to the detailed level, code is written assuming the designs are concrete and becomes rigid. This type of code can’t accept changes easily and as every developer is aware, changes to requirements are very common during implementation cycle.  A framework that can help the Scrum teams accept the changes easily, make the changes and quickly assess the effects of these changes can help alleviate these issues. Once the impacts are clear, it doesn’t take too long to get the implementation back to stable state. TDD provides one such framework for Agile development.  TDD (Test Driven Development) Following is the broad outline of adopting TDD during development. I will take developing APIs for a product as an example, which can be easily extended to other use cases. Do a high-level design of the components and APIs you are going to have. Prepare the interfaces against which you can write tests. Adopt a framework like JUnits for writing your test cases. Get the developers up-to-speed on writing these unit tests. For whatever components you are developing APIs, create a skeleton of tests and test cases. Normally, you would write a set of positive and negative test cases. This is the first step even before you write a single piece of implantation code. Make sure majority of the unit test cases are covered in this round of skeletal test cases. Implement the APIs with no code, i.e. now they can be called but will not yet return proper values. For example, they may return nulls where an object is expected. Since implementation of APIs is not yet ready, all of your tests will fail. That’s ok to start with. Now as development of APIs progresses, test cases will start to succeed. At the end of, say, sprint #1, you may have 20% of your test cases working. In parallel, add more or update your test cases to handle more complex usages of the APIs. The goal is to get 100% success rate of test cases, which should happen as the development is completed and more code is added. For example, this is how your tests may look to begin with:     @Test     public void testSingleObjectCreate() throws Exception     {       Object a = createObject(...);         Assert.assertNotNull(a);     }     @Test     public void testMultipleObjectsCreate() throws Exception     {       Object [] objs = createObjects(...);         Assert.assertNotNull(objs);     }     @Test     public void testSingleObjectReplace() throws Exception     {       Object replacedA = replaceObject(a);         Assert.assertNotNull(replacedA);     }     @Test     public void testMultipleObjectsReplace() throws Exception     {       Object[] updatedObjs = replaceObject(objs);         Assert.assertNotNull(updatedObjs);     }          @Test     public void testSingleObjectDelete() throws Exception     {       boolean deleted = deleteObject(a);         Assert.assertTrue(deleted);     }     Note that all of these tests will fail to begin since APIs are not yet implemented. Your goal is to get all of the tests passing incrementally, by implementing the underlying functionality. Once this set of test suites are built, they can become part of a continuous integration setup and are run as soon as changes are submitted to the source code system, giving an immediate feedback on whether there are test cases failing because of new code that is delivered. Following diagram summarizes this approach:   How does this help your Scrum team? TDD can augment Scrum processes in 3 ways: Ability to absorb changes to code on a continuous basis. Fail fast: Failures happen sooner than later. Reduce technical debt Let me cover details of each of these points. Ability to absorb changes to code on a continuous basis: As a Scrum Master, your job is to make sure that the working code gets produced at the end of each sprint and minimize the technical debt for going forward. At the same time, you want the code to be flexible so that changes can be accepted on a continual basis to improve the existing code or be able to absorb new changes, based on product owner or stakeholder feedback. This is especially important since you don’t get into detailed designs up-front and absorb changes as you progress to make implementation better. Having the suite of unit tests is one of your weapons in the war chest to make this happen – after all, code which is delivered at the end of release but doesn’t address the key requirements is of not of much use. Take this case – in the midst of development, one of the developers changes the inner workings of one of the APIs and now it fails for a given set of inputs (which used to work before the change). Now your unit test which depended on the success status of API starts to fail, giving you an immediate indication of the change. However, developer can take the risk of the change, knowing that the test framework will catch any side effects of such a change. As a second case, say half-way through the development cycle, there is a need for major change that impacts majority of the components. Unless you have a suite of test cases backing you, you just don’t know the impact and how much additional work is possibly required. (Knowing your developers, you know how hard it is to get a proper estimate of additional work!). Instead, now you can depend on your test suites and see how many are failing when the changes are put in place – if there are a large set of test cases failing, you are most likely looking at a larger impact change to the whole sprint and need to re-access the scope and priorities. Additionally, it makes everybody in the team aware of the impacts.  Fail fast - Failures happen sooner than later: Adopting TDD facilitates one of the key principles of Scrum – fail fast. With TDD, you start with failing tests, make them work as you progress and make sure they won’t fail again due to some unexpected changes. If there are such failures, your TDD set of tests alert you immediately. Knowing there is such a framework, developers will be more open to changes – since failures are caught immediately. Overall, this becomes a mechanism which gives a quick feedback on the impacts of a change and makes developers open for adopting the changes rather than shying away from taking the risk of late changes to the system. Reduce creation of Technical Debt: If developers can’t absorb changes fast enough, you will run out of time during sprint to do further changes. Pushing required changes out of sprint and eventually out of a release leads to the technical debt of future changes and re-work, which is not a desired outcome for any Scrum Master. Having a framework to facilitate quick changes avoids creation of technical debt. Key is to start with TDD from day one One of the key factors is to start with TDD from day 1 – it must not be an afterthought to be added after the code implementation. For any new code, tests should be written first, let them fail and implement code to make the tests work. For a Scrum Master, it is a key that developers are creating tasks to add unit tests for a given user story and have mechanisms in-place to continuously validate the code using build frameworks. Combining TDD with Code coverage can be very powerful TDD approach when used along with code coverage tools provides a very powerful combination to make sure your code base is stable all the time and all parts of the code are being tested. Greater the code coverage, better confidence you have to do drastic changes to your implementation code. For example, the following screenshot of code coverage shows which parts of the code are being exercised (green) versus which are not (in red). More unit tests need to get added to provide coverage for the code paths not being tested. Adopting TDD for existing products TDD can be adopted for existing product code as well, which lacks unit test coverage. It is not usually productive to add tests for existing code unless major changes are planned. Tests can be added to the incremental functionality that is being added, being aware that you may impact the existing code and may not know if you have caused failures in the already existing code. TDD Tools There are several tools that are available in the market, which help in TDD adoption. For unit testing of Java code, JUnit framework is the best choice. For continuous build and test, frameworks like Cruise Control or tools like Jenkins can be used. Code Coverage can be analyzed using tools like Emma and Clover. These have Eclipse plugins available as well. In conclusion, adopting TDD goes a long way in ensuring code quality is maintained in the long run and changes can be done to the codebase ensuring continuously working software. This essentially gives control for your Scrum teams to manage the software better and address the end user needs quickly.

Adopt TDD for a smooth Scrum experience for your teams

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Adopt TDD for a smooth Scrum experience for your teams

As you might already be aware, TDD stands for Test Driven Development. Adoption of TDD is a key factor for the success of your Scrum teams and in turn for your success as a Scrum Master. I will explain the why and how of TDD and how it helps smoothen Scrum experience in this article.

As you might be already doing, with Scrum approach, there are no grandiose design sessions/detailed designs done up-front but the focus is getting working pieces of code out and fail fast if there are any issues. The key reason being – designs change as you progress with the development of code and your code should be flexible enough to absorb major or minor changes until towards end of the development. If complete designs are done up-front to the detailed level, code is written assuming the designs are concrete and becomes rigid. This type of code can’t accept changes easily and as every developer is aware, changes to requirements are very common during implementation cycle. 

A framework that can help the Scrum teams accept the changes easily, make the changes and quickly assess the effects of these changes can help alleviate these issues. Once the impacts are clear, it doesn’t take too long to get the implementation back to stable state. TDD provides one such framework for Agile development. 

TDD (Test Driven Development)

Following is the broad outline of adopting TDD during development. I will take developing APIs for a product as an example, which can be easily extended to other use cases.

  • Do a high-level design of the components and APIs you are going to have. Prepare the interfaces against which you can write tests.
  • Adopt a framework like JUnits for writing your test cases. Get the developers up-to-speed on writing these unit tests.
  • For whatever components you are developing APIs, create a skeleton of tests and test cases. Normally, you would write a set of positive and negative test cases. This is the first step even before you write a single piece of implantation code. Make sure majority of the unit test cases are covered in this round of skeletal test cases.
  • Implement the APIs with no code, i.e. now they can be called but will not yet return proper values. For example, they may return nulls where an object is expected.
  • Since implementation of APIs is not yet ready, all of your tests will fail. That’s ok to start with.
  • Now as development of APIs progresses, test cases will start to succeed. At the end of, say, sprint #1, you may have 20% of your test cases working. In parallel, add more or update your test cases to handle more complex usages of the APIs.
  • The goal is to get 100% success rate of test cases, which should happen as the development is completed and more code is added.

For example, this is how your tests may look to begin with:

    @Test
    public void testSingleObjectCreate() throws Exception
    {
      Object a = createObject(...);
        Assert.assertNotNull(a);
    }

    @Test
    public void testMultipleObjectsCreate() throws Exception
    {
      Object [] objs = createObjects(...);
        Assert.assertNotNull(objs);
    }

    @Test
    public void testSingleObjectReplace() throws Exception
    {
      Object replacedA = replaceObject(a);
        Assert.assertNotNull(replacedA);
    }

    @Test
    public void testMultipleObjectsReplace() throws Exception
    {
      Object[] updatedObjs = replaceObject(objs);
        Assert.assertNotNull(updatedObjs);
    }
    
    @Test
    public void testSingleObjectDelete() throws Exception
    {
      boolean deleted = deleteObject(a);
        Assert.assertTrue(deleted);
    }    

Note that all of these tests will fail to begin since APIs are not yet implemented. Your goal is to get all of the tests passing incrementally, by implementing the underlying functionality.

Once this set of test suites are built, they can become part of a continuous integration setup and are run as soon as changes are submitted to the source code system, giving an immediate feedback on whether there are test cases failing because of new code that is delivered.

Following diagram summarizes this approach:


 

How does this help your Scrum team?
TDD can augment Scrum processes in 3 ways:

  • Ability to absorb changes to code on a continuous basis.
  • Fail fast: Failures happen sooner than later.
  • Reduce technical debt

Let me cover details of each of these points.

Ability to absorb changes to code on a continuous basis: As a Scrum Master, your job is to make sure that the working code gets produced at the end of each sprint and minimize the technical debt for going forward. At the same time, you want the code to be flexible so that changes can be accepted on a continual basis to improve the existing code or be able to absorb new changes, based on product owner or stakeholder feedback. This is especially important since you don’t get into detailed designs up-front and absorb changes as you progress to make implementation better. Having the suite of unit tests is one of your weapons in the war chest to make this happen – after all, code which is delivered at the end of release but doesn’t address the key requirements is of not of much use.

Take this case – in the midst of development, one of the developers changes the inner workings of one of the APIs and now it fails for a given set of inputs (which used to work before the change). Now your unit test which depended on the success status of API starts to fail, giving you an immediate indication of the change. However, developer can take the risk of the change, knowing that the test framework will catch any side effects of such a change.

As a second case, say half-way through the development cycle, there is a need for major change that impacts majority of the components. Unless you have a suite of test cases backing you, you just don’t know the impact and how much additional work is possibly required. (Knowing your developers, you know how hard it is to get a proper estimate of additional work!). Instead, now you can depend on your test suites and see how many are failing when the changes are put in place – if there are a large set of test cases failing, you are most likely looking at a larger impact change to the whole sprint and need to re-access the scope and priorities. Additionally, it makes everybody in the team aware of the impacts. 

Fail fast - Failures happen sooner than later: Adopting TDD facilitates one of the key principles of Scrum – fail fast. With TDD, you start with failing tests, make them work as you progress and make sure they won’t fail again due to some unexpected changes. If there are such failures, your TDD set of tests alert you immediately. Knowing there is such a framework, developers will be more open to changes – since failures are caught immediately. Overall, this becomes a mechanism which gives a quick feedback on the impacts of a change and makes developers open for adopting the changes rather than shying away from taking the risk of late changes to the system.

Reduce creation of Technical Debt: If developers can’t absorb changes fast enough, you will run out of time during sprint to do further changes. Pushing required changes out of sprint and eventually out of a release leads to the technical debt of future changes and re-work, which is not a desired outcome for any Scrum Master. Having a framework to facilitate quick changes avoids creation of technical debt.

Key is to start with TDD from day one
One of the key factors is to start with TDD from day 1 – it must not be an afterthought to be added after the code implementation. For any new code, tests should be written first, let them fail and implement code to make the tests work. For a Scrum Master, it is a key that developers are creating tasks to add unit tests for a given user story and have mechanisms in-place to continuously validate the code using build frameworks.

Combining TDD with Code coverage can be very powerful
TDD approach when used along with code coverage tools provides a very powerful combination to make sure your code base is stable all the time and all parts of the code are being tested. Greater the code coverage, better confidence you have to do drastic changes to your implementation code.
For example, the following screenshot of code coverage shows which parts of the code are being exercised (green) versus which are not (in red). More unit tests need to get added to provide coverage for the code paths not being tested.



Adopting TDD for existing products
TDD can be adopted for existing product code as well, which lacks unit test coverage. It is not usually productive to add tests for existing code unless major changes are planned. Tests can be added to the incremental functionality that is being added, being aware that you may impact the existing code and may not know if you have caused failures in the already existing code.

TDD Tools

  • There are several tools that are available in the market, which help in TDD adoption.
  • For unit testing of Java code, JUnit framework is the best choice.
  • For continuous build and test, frameworks like Cruise Control or tools like Jenkins can be used.
  • Code Coverage can be analyzed using tools like Emma and Clover. These have Eclipse plugins available as well.

In conclusion, adopting TDD goes a long way in ensuring code quality is maintained in the long run and changes can be done to the codebase ensuring continuously working software. This essentially gives control for your Scrum teams to manage the software better and address the end user needs quickly.

Mohana

Mohana Kera

Blog Author

Mohana Kera is Senior technical leader with strong hands-on technology experience and in-depth experience in building Scrum teams and doing multiple product releases using Scrum. He has more than 10 years of experience in Agile methodologies and has worked with large cross-geo teams for product deliveries. He has effectively employed Agile(Scrum) method to build cohesive development teams, address efficiency issues and deliver projects on time and effectively, from a startup to multinational corporation, working with small to large teams.
 

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Some of these benefits include:They help teams, organizations and the product being createdThey ensure better quality by providing the right framework, support mechanism and the right processesAllow for continual improvement by putting in place a feedback loop and sprint reviews by stakeholdersHelp solve impediments and daily issues by incorporating daily testing and product owner feedback into the development processEnsure upfront documentation and help prioritise high value items in the product backlog, thus decreasing time to market.  Quick feedback also helps improve the product and thus helps in continuous improvement.The faster marketing of products increases return on investment, helps tap the market demand and ensures long term benefits for the customer and thus earns their trust for the organizationThe primary tenet of Agile is team collaboration. Scrum software tools help in high level collaboration between the Scrum Master, Product Owner and the development team. Teams can organise, review, plan and discuss everyday tasks, meetings, impediments and more.How to Pick the Best Tool for Your Team?With so many options available, choosing the right Scrum tool for your team can be a tricky task. What you need to do is go through the features of the best tools and see which one best fits your requirements. While the number of features you get will be directly proportional to the money you are ready to pay for the tool, there are some basic requirements your tool must satisfy.Backlog creation:  The very basic format of a Scrum project lies in the creation of a product backlog which sets the pace for the entire project. The backlog is primarily created by the Product Owner with assistance from the Scrum Master and the development team. The tool you choose should help you create the product backlog so that you can prioritise items, define the sprints and identify sprint goals.Implement feedback:  Scrum projects are based on the Agile values of continuous feedback. Your scrum tool should have features which will make your customer’s feedback and requirements easily accessible to you. This will help you implement these changes at the earliest. This continuous feedback loop will help keep customers happy.Sprint creation:  Scrum is iterative and adaptive and works by breaking down projects into small sized sprints. Your tool must aid you in the creation of sprints and burndown charts. These help you keep track of your progress on the project and are essential components of a Scrum project.The other things your tool should be able to do include:Plan and trackCustomise process templatesCustomise dashboards and reportsHelp in time managementHelp create epics and storiesProvide collab and reporting toolsProvide review toolsAnd just like you will create a product that is user friendly, the tool you use also needs to be user friendly for the team. If your team is happy using it, and it makes your life easier and your projects better, then you have the right tool!
Scrum Software for the Ultimate Project Management

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Safe Agile Ceremonies - Expert Guide

“Winners take time to relish their work, knowing that scaling the mountain is what makes the view from the top so exhilarating.” ― Denis WaitleyWhat are SAFe agile events (or) ceremonies? – a brief overview:Before we jump into the topic, could I just take you a step back and remind you what SAFe is all about? SAFe is a way of taking any iterative Agile way of working (normally restricted to a team or few teams) and scaling it up at various levels of the organization, whilst applying a mindset of Lean manufacturing. It also deals with scalability at various levels. Beginning from Essential SAFe right up to Full SAFe, the framework caters to all organizational levels of scaling agility. As part of this, it broadens the core idea of agility mindset beyond just projects/development teams right up to executives/CXOs, who must prepare for enterprise level uncertainties. In a sense, it provides valuable enterprise level scaling insights helpful for the executives to tackle any uncertainties/risks associated with a project.As you start applying SAFe in your organisation, it is important for you to understand how each level works in conjunction with the other, depending on how mature your SAFe enterprise is. The key link between these levels is the SAFe specific events which help with smooth value delivery facilitation. The events help with alignment across teams, ARTs etc thus helping in managing risk by providing a level based cadence and synchronization.Essential SAFe - Your First Level of Scaling Using an Agile Release Train (ART). Courtesy © Scaled Agile, Inc. Source: Scaled AgileWhy do we need level-based ceremonies?While it is important to go through your team level events (like the 4 sprint events if you are doing scrum etc.) it is important to have the scaling events that help with bridging gaps and unblocking dependency between teams. The most important part of these SAFe specific events is for ‘Business Stakeholders’ to get a look (demo) at a proper incremental product and thus the value arising out of it. Makes sense? It did for me and let me tell you why.I was once associated with 3 feature teams, who were working towards a common product goal. They all had the same business stakeholders but were working on individual features. Team A was working on developing a Login page, Team B was working on a landing dashboard while Team C was hopping along, trying to provide a search functionality for the user. All of them were applying the Scrum framework and were running their own events. Sprint demos were happening individually and were being represented by the Product owner separately along with his business analysts. All seemed fine but there was a nagging problem. The product owner was worried, because he couldn’t bring any business stakeholder to view the demos, as they were being run in silos and there was no visibility on the incremental product. Well technically there was, but they would have to sit through three or four-hour events individually to get bits and pieces of the product demo. In the real world, it's not a possibility simply because your business stakeholders will not have that much time to spend on multiple demos. It is not a good use of their time either. So, what’s the solution? Simple, it’s SAFe to the rescue! Let’s try and understand how the SAFe specific events help with this.Prescribed PI Cadence for Various Levels of Scaling. Courtesy © Scaled Agile, Inc. Source: Scaled AgileHow do the events (or) ceremonies help to scale up according to the levels in SAFe:SAFe is very relevant and designed to thrive in situations where there are significant cross functional dependencies between agile teams and support / functional teams (infrastructure teams, architect community etc).  Essential Level:   As you start to scale up one level up, you will be working with anywhere between 5-12 agile teams who will all be collectively working towards a common goal which is the program increment or PI. The anchoring catalyst that brings them all together is your ART (Agile release train). Before getting into the events, lets understand the various roles involved at this level because this is the common denominator across all levels of SAFe and across organizations. This is where you need to get it right without which there is not much use in scaling higher. Key Roles involved: Release Train Engineer (RTE) System Architect/Engineer Product Management   Business OwnersPrescribed events on a typical Agile release train (ART). Courtesy © Scaled Agile, Inc. Source: Scaled AgilePI PlanningAccording to me, PI planning (hands down) is THE most significant aspect of executing this framework. This is where all the magic happens. It is sometimes referred to as the heart of the framework as it offers a clear vision of what the program increment needs to be, what the cross-team dependencies are and how they bring together the cultural sustainability much needed within the release trains. It is so important, that if carried out incorrectly it could lead to several ambiguities, development challenges and mostly a disastrous product increment. However, when it works well, the iterative cycle serves to flesh out the crucial elements of the plan and the processes ensure buy in from the stakeholders.Duration: A normal PI planning is a 2-day activity, which is a face to face cultural get together of the various ART teams. However, a new 3-day distributed PI planning has been introduced to help with geographically distributed teams (across various time zones), very apt for the current pandemic situation.“There is no magic in SAFe® except maybe for PI Planning”. – The authors of the SAFe framework.In big organizations with multiple distributed teams across multiple vendors, work streams etc. it is almost impossible to run these teams independently, whilst still having to deliver an incremental program. SAFe via the PI planning exercise mentioned above, helps with sorting out these issues by recognising cross team dependencies upfront, constantly negotiating & visualising them. This doesn’t just stop with the PI planning but the framework also proposes a cadenced way of continuing this via the scrum of scrums. The Program Board is an ideal way to showcase the cross-team dependencies.A sample SAFe Program board. Courtesy © Scaled Agile, Inc. Source: Scaled Agile1. Inspect and Adapt (I&A)An inspect and adapt event is scheduled after every PI. This event is dedicated to aligning to the principles of Kaizen, which simply means to change for the better. The events contain self induced thought processes to revalidate your assumptions that everything is working OK. The I&A event consists of three sub-parts as below:  PI System DemoQuantitative and qualitative measurementRetrospective and problem-solving workshop2. ART Sync Agile release trains tend to apply a cadenced synchronization process to help manage the ability to focus on continuous value delivery. An ART sync will typically comprise of the below sub-events.  Scrum of Scrums: This event is for representatives from all the teams on a release train to come together in a regular cadenced manner, especially on large ARTs. This is normally facilitated by the release train engineer (RTE) and will involve scrum masters of the individual teams and a few selected team members (authorised by the team). The sole purpose of the SoS calls are to understand progress towards the common goal, validate cross team dependencies and unblock impediments that may arise out of them. Duration: The length and frequency of the meeting will depend on a few factors like the size of the ART, the release frequency, type of features being worked on, ability to decouple releases etc. For e.g an ART which releases features into production every 4 weeks might want to have an SoS call every 2 weeks for about an hour. Again, if this doesn’t work for you, just inspect and adapt to what works well for your organizational needs. Just make sure that the SoS is utilised for its sole purpose and not just status updates as depicted in the below comic representation.Scrum of Scrums PO SyncThis event is represented by the Product Owner, business analysts and the product management group. This is used mainly to level up the product backlog refinement and for clarifying PI (Program Increment) scope, reviewing roadmaps and grooming for the upcoming PIs.Duration: Very similar in concept to the SoS, so just follow what works for the group. 3. System DemoAs part of a common understanding towards delivering incremental software, shortly after each iteration in the PI, there is a system demo scheduled. Work completed across all teams from the release train are compiled in a stable environment before it is reviewed by the business stakeholders and other important sponsors who may have a keen interest in the product. This is on top of the individual team level demos that happen after each iteration.Duration: Anywhere between 2-3 hours that will allow time for a demonstration of the program increment in a collative manner, on top of what has been delivered from the previous PIs as well.In case your ART is pretty small, then you may want to have just have some of the events combined into a more generic ART sync, where all roles come together to collaborate towards the program increment. This can sometimes occur if the ART is focusing on a particular value stream, confined to limited business functionality, rather than elaborate features.Solution/Portfolio LevelsAs you scale higher, the processes and events become much less prescriptive. There is a good reason for this because the focus at this level is not just on having repetitive demos that have already happened before but on building thought leadership around business outcomes and enhancing business agility. Which is why we will not be diving deep into that in this blog. But let us look at the events that occur at the macro level.Lean Budget Review  Idea Sharing via Communities of Practice (not a formal event but a collaborative group)Solution DemoPortfolio SyncRoadshowWhat are the benefits of SAFe Agile ceremonies?:The Magic of PI planningWell, the more I talk about this, the more excited I am. A PI planning event when carried out to its truest purpose, gets half the job done. Here is where most of the brainstorming occurs and business value gets determined and, in some cases, gets assigned in a quantifiable manner to user stories and helps with the prioritisation.PI Planning Synchronisation towards a common goalThe events are a constant reminder that all teams are working towards delivering incremental value either on a particular value stream, or feature or program. An RTE and Product Management will help reiterating the need to focus on the larger goal whilst helping sorting out inter team dependencies.Less prescriptiveAs is the framework itself, SAFe events/ceremonies are less prescriptive. An SPC would recommend, apply the principles but inspect and adapt as to what works for your organization. As per the example I provided earlier w.r.t to the duration of the SAFe events, start with something reasonable and then validate its effectiveness. Then leave Kaizen to do the rest.Visualization of incremental value deliveryOpportunity for Business stakeholders and sponsors to have a look at the overall program increment every iteration, thus helping them evaluate the progress and provide timely feedback on market trends. What are the common mistakes?Lack of a shared product visionThings can go wrong if there is not enough representation in the product management group, say for e.g at the PO Sync event. This can lead to a blurred product vision with each team working out of sync. This may ultimately get detected too late, probably at the time of the system demo, and lead to a whole lot of unwanted rework.SoS as a status updateThe Scrum Of Scrum event should be used as an event to unblock cross team impediments or dependencies and not to just update what each team has been doing or is doing in its current sprint. TimeboxingGiven the scale at which these events will be conducted, it is critical that the associated events are facilitated in a timeboxed manner or else the participants could end up sitting and talking for hours. Roles like RTE, SPC Coaches etc will be critical in addressing this issue.Remote facilitationLack of effective collaboration tools could lead to some disastrous situations whilst facilitating the SAFe events. Given that most teams are running virtual ceremonies/events at the moment, its crucial to establish a working distributed model. This will then ensure that the platform is set up for the most effective collaboration and cross-functional work to take place.While you try to scale, as per the implementation roadmap, its essential that you solidify the process around which your ARTs will be functioning. It’s like setting the railway tracks with the correct track gauge matching the configurations of the wheelsets of the trains that will run on them. If not, they will just derail. As your ARTs pass through your set process, they will only benefit by sustaining focus and pace while moving towards a successful incremental product delivery.Thanks for your patience and wish you all the very best in your Agile journey. In case you want me to write about any specific topic, please feel free to comment below and I’ll be more than happy to add them to my ‘Blog Backlog’. If you liked the article, please do share it among your agile community to help spread the word.  Hope to see you soon, with more such interesting topics.
Safe Agile Ceremonies - Expert Guide

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