A Quick view of SAFe®
Agile has gained popularity in recent years, and with good reason. Teams love this approach that allows them to get a value to the customer faster while learning and adjusting to change as needed.
But teams often don’t work in isolation. Many teams work in the context of larger organizations. Often Agile doesn’t fit their needs.
Some teams need an Agile approach that scales to larger projects that involve multiple teams.
It’s possible to do this. That’s where the Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe®, can help.
Why SAFe® is the best scalable framework?
The Scaled Agile Framework is a structured Agile approach for large enterprises. It’s prescriptive and provides a path for interdependent teams to gain the benefits of using an Agile approach.
Scaled Agile provides guidance not only at the team level but also at the Program and Portfolio levels.
It also has built-in coordinated planning across related teams who are working in Release Trains.
These planning increments allow teams to plan together to work with customers and release value frequently in a way that’s sustainable to teams.
And it supports continuous improvement.
It’s a great way for large companies to maintain structure and roll out Agile at a large scale.
What is SAFe® 4.5?
Scaled Agile, otherwise known as SAFe®, was initially released in 2011 by Dean Leffingwell as a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile. Over the years it has grown and evolved. SAFe® 4.5 was released on June 22, 2017, to accommodate improvements to the framework.
Following are some of the key improvements in SAFe® 4.5:
Benefits of SAFe® 4.5 to companies:
Organizations who adopt SAFe® 4.5 will be able to gain the following benefits:
1) Test ideas more quickly. SAFe® 4.5 has a build-in iterative development and testing. This lets teams get faster feedback to learn and adjust more quickly.
2) Deliver much faster. The changes to SAFe® 4.5 allow teams to move complex work through the pipeline and deliver value to the customer faster.
3) Simplify governance and improve portfolio performance. Guidance and support have been added at the Portfolio level to guide organizations in addressing Portfolio-level concerns in a scaled agile context.
SAFe® 4.5 - Key areas of improvements:
A. Essential SAFe® and Configurability
Four configurations of SAFe® that provide a more configurable and scalable approach:
Because SAFe® is a framework, that provides the flexibility to choose the level of SAFe® that best fits your organization’s needs.
B. Innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UX
Rather than creating an entire project plan up-front, SAFe® teams focus on features. They create a hypothesis about what a new feature will deliver and then use an iterative approach to develop and test their hypothesis along the way.
As teams move forward through development, they perform this development and test approach repeatedly and adjust as needed, based on feedback.
Teams also work closely with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to focus on first. They identify what will be most valuable to the customer most immediately.
Then they rely on feedback and learning as they develop the solution incrementally. They adjust as needed to incorporate what they’ve learned into the features. This collaboration and fast feedback and adjustment cycle result in a more successful product.
C. Scalable DevOps & Continuous Delivery
The addition of a greater focus on DevOps allows teams to innovate faster. Like Agile, DevOps is a mindset. And like Agile, it allows teams to learn, adjust, and deliver value to users incrementally.
The continuous delivery pipeline allows teams to move value through the pipeline faster through continuous exploration, continuous integration, continuous deployment, and released on demand.
DevOps breaks down silos and supports Agile teams to work together more seamlessly. This results in more efficient delivery of value to the end users faster.
It’s a perfect complement to Scaled Agile.
D. Implementation Roadmap
SAFe® now offers a suggested roadmap to SAFe® adoption. While change can be challenging, the implementation roadmap provides guidance that can help with that organizational change.
Critical Role of the SAFe® Program Consultant
SAFe® Program Consultants, or SPCs, are critical change agents in the transition to Scaled Agile.
Because of the depth of knowledge required to gain SPC certification, they’re perfectly positioned to help the organization move through challenges of change.
They can train and coach all levels of SAFe® participants, from team members to executive leaders. They can also train the Scrum Master, Product Owners, and Agile Release Train Engineers, which are critical roles in SAFe®.
The SPC can also train teams and help them launch their Agile Release Trains (ARTs).
And they can support teams on the path to continued improvement as they continue to learn and grow.
The SPC can also help identify value streams in the organization that may be ready to launch Agile Release Trains.
The can also help develop rollout plans for SAFe® in the enterprise.
Along with this, they can provide important communications that help the enterprise understand the drivers and value behind the SAFe® transition.
How SAFe® 4.5 is backward compatible with SAFe® 4.0?
Even if your organization has already adopted SAFe® 4.0, SAFe® 4.5 has been developed in a way that can be easily adopted without disruption. Your organization can adopt the changes at the pace that works best.
Few Updates in the new courseware
The courseware for SAFe® 4.5 has incorporated changes to support the changes in SAFe® 4.5.
They include Implementing SAFe®, Leading SAFe®, and SAFe® for Teams.
Some of the changes you’ll see are as follows:
Changes were made to improve alignment between SAFe® and Scrum:
Combined SAFe® Foundation Elements
SAFe® 4.0 had the foundational elements of Core Values, Lean-Agile Mindset, SAFe® Principles, and Implementing SAFe® at a basic level.
SAFe® 4.5 adds to the foundation elements by also including Lean-Agile Leaders, the Implementation Roadmap, and the support of the SPC in the successful implementation of SAFe®.
Additional changes include:
Benefits of upgrading to SAFe® 4.5
With the addition of Lean Startup approaches, along with a deeper focus on DevOps and Continuous Delivery, teams will be situated to deliver quality and value to users more quickly.
With improvements at the Portfolio level, teams get more guidance on Portfolio governance and other portfolio levels concerns, such as budgeting and compliance.
Reasons to Upgrade to SAFe® 4.5
Get features and value to your user community faster with DevOps and the Continuous Delivery pipeline. Your teams can continuously hypothesize, build, measure, and learn to continuously release value. This also allows large organizations to innovate more quickly.
Most Recent Changes in SAFe® series - SAFe® 4.6
Because Scaled Agile continues to improve, new changes have been incorporated with SAFe® 4.6. with the addition of five core competencies that enable enterprises to respond to technology and market changes.
KnowledgeHut provides multiple Scaled Agile courses to give both leaders and team members in your organization the information they need to for a successful transition to Scaled Agile. Check the site for the list of classes to find those that are right for your organization as you make the journey.
All course fees cover examination costs for certification.