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A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions

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:Essential SAFe® and ConfigurabilityInnovation with Lean Startup and Lean UXScalable DevOps and Continuous DeliveryImplementation roadmapBenefits 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 ConfigurabilityFour configurations of SAFe® that provide a more configurable and scalable approach:Essential SAFe®. The most basic level that teams can use. It contains just the essentials that a team needs to get the benefits of SAFe®.Portfolio SAFe®. For enterprises that implement multiple solutions that have portfolio responsibilities such as governance, strategy, and portfolio funding.Large Solution. Complex solutions that involve multiple Agile Release Trains. These initiatives don’t require Portfolio concerns, but only include the Large Solution and Essential SAFe® elements.  SAFe® Full SAFe®. The most comprehensive level that can be applied to huge enterprise initiatives requiring hundreds of people to complete.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 UXRather 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 DeliveryThe 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 RoadmapSAFe® 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 ConsultantSAFe® 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:Two new lessons for Leading SAFe®Student workbookTrainer GuideNew look and feelUpdated LPM contentSmoother lesson flowNEW Course Delivery Enablement (CDE) Changes were made to improve alignment between SAFe® and Scrum:Iteration Review. Increments previously known as Sprints now have reviews added. This allows more opportunities for teams to incorporate improvements. Additionally, a Team Demo has been added in each iteration review. This provides more opportunity for transparency, sharing, and feedback.Development Team. The Development team was specifically identified at the team level in SAFe® 4.5. The development team is made up of three to nine people who can move an element of work from development through the test. This development team contains software developers, testers, and engineers, and does not include the Product Owner and Scrum Master. Each of those roles is shown separately at the team level in SAFe® 4.5.Scrum events. The list of scrum events are shown next to the ScrumXP icon and include Plan, Execute, Review, and Retro (for a retrospective.)Combined SAFe® Foundation ElementsSAFe® 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:Communities of Practice. This was moved to the spanning palette to show support at all levels: team, program, large solution, and portfolio.Lean-Agile Leaders. This role is now included in the foundational level. Supportive leadership is critical to a successful SAFe® adoption.SAFe® Program Consultant. This role was added to the Foundational Layer. The SPC can play a key leadership role in a successful transition to Scaled Agile.Implementation Roadmap. The implementation roadmap replaces the basic implementation information in SAFe® 4.0. It provides more in-depth information on the elements to a successful enterprise transition to SAFe®.Benefits of upgrading to SAFe® 4.5With 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 Enterprises who’ve been using SAFe® 4.0 will find greater flexibility with the added levels in SAFe® 4.5. Smaller groups in the enterprise can use the team level, while groups working on more complex initiatives can create Agile Release Trains with many teams.Your teams can innovate faster by using the Lean Startup Approach. Work with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), then iterate as you get fast feedback and adjust. This also makes your customer more of a partner in development, resulting in better collaboration and a better end product.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® 4.6Because 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.Lean Portfolio Management. The information needed for how to use a Lean-Agile approach to portfolio strategy, funding, and governance. Business Solutions and Lean Systems. Optimizing activities to Implement large, complex initiatives using a Scaled Agile approach while still addressing the necessary activities such as designing, testing, deployment, and even retiring old solutions.DevOps and Release on Demand. The skills needed to release value as needed through a continuous delivery pipeline.Team and Technical Agility. The skills needed to establish successful teams who consistently deliver value and quality to meet customer needs.Lean-Agile Leadership. How leadership enables a successful agile transformation by supporting empowered teams in implementing agile practices. Leaders carry out the Agile principles and practices and ensure teams have the support they need to succeedSAFe® Agilist (SA) Certification exam: The SAFe® Agilist certification is for the change leaders in an organization to learn about the SAFe® practices to support change at all levels: team, program, and portfolio levels. These change agents can play a positive role in an enterprise transition to SAFe®.In order to become certified as a SAFe® Agilist (SA), you must first take the Leading SAFe® class and pass the SAFe® certification exam. To learn more about this, see this article on How To Pass Leading SAFe® 4.5 Exam.SAFe® Certification Exam. KnowledgeHut provides Leading SAFe® training in multiple locations. Check the site for locations and dates.SAFe® Agile Certification Cost. Check KnowledgeHut’s scheduled training offerings to see the course cost. Each course includes the opportunity to sit for the exam included in the cost.Scaled Agile Framework Certification Cost. There are multiple levels of SAFe® certification, including Scrum Master, Release Train Engineer, and Product Owner. Courses range in cost, but each includes the chance to sit for the corresponding SAFe® certification.SAFe® Classes. SAFe® classes are offered by various organizations. To see if KnowledgeHut is offering SAFe® Training near you, check the SAFe® training schedule on our website.TrainingKnowledgeHut 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.SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM Certification TrainingLearn the core competencies of implementing Agile across the enterprise, along with how to lead high-performing teams to deliver successful solutions. You’ll also learn how to implement DevOps practices. Completion of this course will prepare you for obtaining your SAFe®® 4 Scrum Master certificate.SAFe® 4 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)This two-day course teaches you to how to apply Scrum at the enterprise level and prepares you to lead high-performing teams in a Scaled Agile environment. At course completion, you’ll be prepared to manage interactions not only on your team but also across teams and with stakeholders. You’ll also be prepared to take the SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master exam.Leading SAFe®4.5 Training Course (SA)  This two-day Leading SAFe® class prepares you to become a Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist, ready to lead the agile transformation in your enterprise.  By the end of this course, you’ll be able to take the SAFe® Agilist (SA) certification exam.SAFe® 4.5 for Teams (SP) This two-day course teaches Scrum fundamentals, principles tools, and processes. You’ll learn about software engineering practices needed to scale agile and deliver quality solutions in a Scaled Agile environment. Teams new to Scaled Agile will find value in going through this course. Attending the class prepares you for the certification exam to become a certified SAFe® 4 Practitioner (SP). DevOps Foundation Certification training  This course teaches you the DevOps framework, along with the practices to prepare you to apply the principles in your work environment. Completion of this course will prepare you also to take the DevOps Foundation exam for certification.
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A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions 4603
  • by Leigh Espy
  • 31st Oct, 2018
  • Last updated on 19th Feb, 2019
  • 12 mins read
A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions

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:

  • Essential SAFe® and Configurability
  • Innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UX
  • Scalable DevOps and Continuous Delivery
  • Implementation roadmap




Benefits of SAFe® 4.5 to companies
:
 Benefits of SAFe® 4.5

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:


 SAFe® 4.5 - Key areas of improvements
A. Essential SAFe® and Configurability


Four configurations of SAFe® that provide a more configurable and scalable approach:

  • Essential SAFe®. The most basic level that teams can use. It contains just the essentials that a team needs to get the benefits of SAFe®.
  • Portfolio SAFe®. For enterprises that implement multiple solutions that have portfolio responsibilities such as governance, strategy, and portfolio funding.
  • Large Solution. Complex solutions that involve multiple Agile Release Trains. These initiatives don’t require Portfolio concerns, but only include the Large Solution and Essential SAFe® elements.  
  • SAFe® Full SAFe®. The most comprehensive level that can be applied to huge enterprise initiatives requiring hundreds of people to complete.

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.

SAFe 4.5 Implementation Roadmap
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.

 SAFe® 4.5 vs SAFe 4.0
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:

  • Two new lessons for Leading SAFe®
  • Student workbook
  • Trainer Guide
  • New look and feel
  • Updated LPM content
  • Smoother lesson flow
  • NEW Course Delivery Enablement (CDE)


 
Changes were made to improve alignment between SAFe® and Scrum:

  • Iteration Review. Increments previously known as Sprints now have reviews added. This allows more opportunities for teams to incorporate improvements. Additionally, a Team Demo has been added in each iteration review. This provides more opportunity for transparency, sharing, and feedback.
  • Development Team. The Development team was specifically identified at the team level in SAFe® 4.5. The development team is made up of three to nine people who can move an element of work from development through the test. This development team contains software developers, testers, and engineers, and does not include the Product Owner and Scrum Master. Each of those roles is shown separately at the team level in SAFe® 4.5.
  • Scrum events. The list of scrum events are shown next to the ScrumXP icon and include Plan, Execute, Review, and Retro (for a retrospective.)

Combined SAFe® Foundation Elements

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:

  • Communities of Practice. This was moved to the spanning palette to show support at all levels: team, program, large solution, and portfolio.
  • Lean-Agile Leaders. This role is now included in the foundational level. Supportive leadership is critical to a successful SAFe® adoption.
  • SAFe® Program Consultant. This role was added to the Foundational Layer. The SPC can play a key leadership role in a successful transition to Scaled Agile.
  • Implementation Roadmap. The implementation roadmap replaces the basic implementation information in SAFe® 4.0. It provides more in-depth information on the elements to a successful enterprise transition to SAFe®.

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 

  • Enterprises who’ve been using SAFe® 4.0 will find greater flexibility with the added levels in SAFe® 4.5. Smaller groups in the enterprise can use the team level, while groups working on more complex initiatives can create Agile Release Trains with many teams.

  • Your teams can innovate faster by using the Lean Startup Approach. Work with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), then iterate as you get fast feedback and adjust. This also makes your customer more of a partner in development, resulting in better collaboration and a better end product.

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.

 Recent Changes in SAFe® series - SAFe® 4.6


  • Lean Portfolio Management. The information needed for how to use a Lean-Agile approach to portfolio strategy, funding, and governance.
  •  Business Solutions and Lean Systems. Optimizing activities to Implement large, complex initiatives using a Scaled Agile approach while still addressing the necessary activities such as designing, testing, deployment, and even retiring old solutions.
  • DevOps and Release on Demand. The skills needed to release value as needed through a continuous delivery pipeline.
  • Team and Technical Agility. The skills needed to establish successful teams who consistently deliver value and quality to meet customer needs.
  • Lean-Agile Leadership. How leadership enables a successful agile transformation by supporting empowered teams in implementing agile practices. Leaders carry out the Agile principles and practices and ensure teams have the support they need to succeed

  1. SAFe® Agilist (SA) Certification exam: The SAFe® Agilist certification is for the change leaders in an organization to learn about the SAFe® practices to support change at all levels: team, program, and portfolio levels. These change agents can play a positive role in an enterprise transition to SAFe®.
    In order to become certified as a SAFe® Agilist (SA), you must first take the Leading SAFe® class and pass the SAFe® certification exam. To learn more about this, see this article on How To Pass Leading SAFe® 4.5 Exam.

  2. SAFe® Certification Exam. KnowledgeHut provides Leading SAFe® training in multiple locations. Check the site for locations and dates.

  3. SAFe® Agile Certification Cost. Check KnowledgeHut’s scheduled training offerings to see the course cost. Each course includes the opportunity to sit for the exam included in the cost.

  4. Scaled Agile Framework Certification Cost. There are multiple levels of SAFe® certification, including Scrum Master, Release Train Engineer, and Product Owner. Courses range in cost, but each includes the chance to sit for the corresponding SAFe® certification.

SAFe® Classes. SAFe® classes are offered by various organizations. To see if KnowledgeHut is offering SAFe® Training near you, check the SAFe® training schedule on our website.

Training

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.

  1. SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM Certification Training

    Learn the core competencies of implementing Agile across the enterprise, along with how to lead high-performing teams to deliver successful solutions. You’ll also learn how to implement DevOps practices. Completion of this course will prepare you for obtaining your SAFe®® 4 Scrum Master certificate.

  2. SAFe® 4 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)

    This two-day course teaches you to how to apply Scrum at the enterprise level and prepares you to lead high-performing teams in a Scaled Agile environment. At course completion, you’ll be prepared to manage interactions not only on your team but also across teams and with stakeholders. You’ll also be prepared to take the SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master exam.

  3. Leading SAFe®4.5 Training Course (SA)
     
    This two-day Leading SAFe® class prepares you to become a Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist, ready to lead the agile transformation in your enterprise.  By the end of this course, you’ll be able to take the SAFe® Agilist (SA) certification exam.

  4. SAFe® 4.5 for Teams (SP) 

    This two-day course teaches Scrum fundamentals, principles tools, and processes. You’ll learn about software engineering practices needed to scale agile and deliver quality solutions in a Scaled Agile environment. Teams new to Scaled Agile will find value in going through this course. Attending the class prepares you for the certification exam to become a certified SAFe® 4 Practitioner (SP).

  5.  DevOps Foundation Certification training
     
    This course teaches you the DevOps framework, along with the practices to prepare you to apply the principles in your work environment. Completion of this course will prepare you also to take the DevOps Foundation exam for certification.
Leigh

Leigh Espy

Author

Leigh Espy is the author of Bad Meetings Happen to Good People: How to Run Meetings That Are Effective, Focused, and Produce Results. She has over 15 years of IT project management and portfolio experience. Additionally, she teaches Scaled Agile classes in the corporate world. She holds certifications as a project management professional (PMP), certified scrum master (CSM), SAFe Agilist (SA) and SAFe Program Consultant (SPC).

Leigh also coaches and mentors project managers and those making the move to a project management career. She writes about project management and leadership.You can also find out more at  ProjectBliss.net.

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1 comments

Deepika 13 Nov 2018

Very informative blog

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Scrum Master and Product Owner: Understanding the Differences

According to the State of Scrum report 2017-2018 based on the data collection initiated in 2013. This survey represents the real world implementations of Scrum.     Agile methodology imparts the easy and convenient path to work. Scrum is one of the renowned Agile methodologies. The agile methodology consists of 4 main roles, viz. Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum team and Stakeholder. Each role has its share of responsibilities. These roles are all about commitment.     Scrum Master and the Product Owner are the two vital roles in the Scrum software development methodology. Since they both are working on different areas of the project, they are indispensable for the project. Scrum Master is a mediator between the Product Owner (PO) and the Development Team.     Let’s see how a Scrum Master is different from a Product Owner. Difference between the Product Owner and Scrum Master-   Though the Product Owner and the Scrum master vary in their roles, they complement each other. Scrum master should support the Product Owner in every step possible. There should be an amicable relationship between the Product Owner and the Scrum master. Disputes may happen between them if the roles are not clarified. Let us have a look at the differences in roles between the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master concentrates on the project success, by assisting the product owner and the team is using the right process for creating a successful target and establishing the Agile principles.     Skills of the Scrum Master (SM): Removes the impediments and keep the team on track The Scrum Master helps the team to strictly adhere to the Scrum practices and helps them in reaching the target. The Scrum Master find out the distractions that are hindering the team from delivering the product quality. The distractions include unwanted meetings, complexity in the procedure, work environment etc. Encourages Collaboration The Scrum Master notices the daily activities of the team members. Also, the SM share his/her experiences with the team members via meetings, conferences, and seminars. The Scrum Master encourages the collaboration through the stand-up meetings, the release of planning sessions, iteration planning, and demo sessions. Good listening and Communication power The Scrum Master should have good communication skills in order to discuss the ideas and plan with the team. Good communication helps to deliver messages to customers, teams, and target audiences. Also, listening to the team members will help them share their ideas with the Scrum Master. So, Scrum Master should be a good listener also. Mentors the team as a Coach A successful Scrum Master understands the importance of the team working in collaboration. He/She mentors the team members as a Coach to implement the Scrum practices.    Flexibility for adopting the change The Scrum Master should be flexible for adopting any change. While implementing the Agile methodology, the team members may face the problems. So, the Scrum Master should be able to help the team members to adopt the changes. The Scrum Master facilitates the daily Scrum meetings for the team members to discuss their issues that are hindering the project growth.     Partnership with the Product Owner Scrum consists of three roles – Product Owner, Scrum Team and Scrum Master. The Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the development team and the Product Owner. The two roles- Product Owner and Scrum Master are valuable for the team, as they build a perfect relation with the team and thereby delivering the best results. Servant Leadership quality The Scrum Master provides collaboration. Scrum Master is also known as a Servant Leader.  He/She guides the team members on how to follow the Scrum approach to motivate the team members to deliver the best. Responsibilities of the Scrum Master:   Scrum Master facilitates team for better vision and always tries to improve the efficiency of the teams. Scrum Master manages Scrum processes coordinating with the Scrum team in the Agile methodology. Scrum Master removes impediments for the Scrum team. Scrum Master arranges daily quick stand-up meetings to ensure quick inspection and proper use of adaptation processes. Scrum Master helps Product Owner to shape the product backlog and make it ready for the next sprint. Conducting retrospective meetings. Scrum Master organizes and facilitates the sprint planning meeting. Most importantly, the Scrum Master removes the impediments that hindering the project success. Scrum Master keeps the team away from the distractions. The Product Owner’s responsibility is to focus on product success, to build a product which works better for the users and the customers and to create a product which meets business requirements. The Product Owner can interact with the users and customers, Stakeholders, the Development team and the Scrum Master.   Skills of the Product Owner (PO): Product Owner should have an idea about the business value of the product and the customers’ demands. Certified Scrum Product Owner Certification (CSPO) will be beneficial for the sales team. The development team consults the Product Owner, so he should always be available for them to implement the features correctly. Product Owner should understand the program from the end-user point of view. Marketing is discussed on the sales level in most of the Organizations. So it is the Product Owner’s duty to guide the marketing persons to achieve the goals successfully. Product Owner is responsible for the product and the ways to flourish a business. Product Owner has to focus on the proper production and ROI as well. Product Owner should be able to solve the problems, completing trade-off analysis and making decisions about business deliverables. After Certified Scrum Product Owner course, Product Owner can work with the project managers and the technical leads to prioritize the scope for product development. Sometimes Product Owner and the Customers are same, sometimes Customers are thousands or millions of people. Some other skills are as follows: 1.Communication Skills Communication is the key factor for any team member to be successful.  The team should be open to working together to achieve a common project target. It is very important that everyone on the team should communicate effectively. Most probably, the Product Owner should possess good communication skills. As the Product Owner needs to work with the customers’ to understand their needs and conveying that to the development team to bring it to reality. If they could not able to communicate effectively, it may affect the organization value. 2.Commitment The Product Owner should be committed to the project target, product vision, team, and the business. They have to attend all the meetings and work with all the team members. So, it is very important for them to collaborate with everyone. Furthermore, the Product Owner must be accountable for the process and be committed to the success of the project 3. Vision The Product Owner should be able to clearly communicate the product vision between the backlog items and the large project goals. They check whether the product vision is aligned with the company’s vision and needs. 4.Curious about what they work Concerning that “bad product owner” is so often the excuse for bad product. I coach towards product leadership and team ownership. My worst case is product owner telling the team exactly what to build, and team not taking ownership of the outcome. That’s what “bad” looks like. https://t.co/Um4rgvJ7yk — Jeff Patton (@jeffpatton) April 4, 2018 The Product Owner (PO) need to be curious always to ask ‘Why’ from the client (about his/her requirements) and ‘How(to the development team). But before asking the questions to the team, they should understand the rules and able to create a clear vision of the final product. Responsibilities of the Product Owner: Product Owner has to attend the daily sprint planning meetings. Product Owner prioritizes the product features, so the development team can clearly understand them. Product Owner decides the deadlines for the project. Product Owner determines the release date and contents. Product Owner manages and creates the product backlog for implementation, which is nothing but the prioritized backlog of user stories. Product Owner defines user stories to the development team. Spending some time to prioritize the user stories with a few team members. The Product Owner and Scrum Master Relation     This question is highly debatable in an Agile world. Many say that there needs to be a clear contrast between these the Scrum Master and Product Owner and therefore needs two individuals to manage these two roles. The Product Owner should have an overall vision of the client’s requirements. Due to this reason, the Scrum Master needs the Product Owner. Whereas the project team requires the Scrum Master to work maintaining the velocity and capacity of the team. Choosing the best The Product Owner has to get involved in grabbing the project details. But, along with that, the Product Owners expect an experienced Scrum Master should work and guide his/her team members to work efficiently yielding good results. The Scrum Master and the Product Owner have mostly overlapping roles and responsibilities and skills as well. Every one of them requires an alternate level of communication and mindset.  
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Scrum Master and Product Owner: Understanding the ...

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The 5 Whys Approach To Root Cause Analysis In Agile Teams

Socrates once said ‘I know that I know nothing’Well,he did'nt mean that he actually didn't know anything or that he was absolutely ignorant ,but he inferred the fact that there’s much more to learn if he questioned it and dug in deeper. You would uncover deep-seated truths about constructs from the context and on why they exist and interact as they do. This is fundamentally how everything in this world works. This phenomenon can be seen at the workplaces as well.Especially when the project manager or scrum master enforces his team to do a root cause analysis. In other words, he asks them to retrospect on why certain things happened. Haven’t you experienced the same? Now, let’s talk a bit about root cause analysis.   Root Cause Analysis is a methodology used for analyzing problems in order to identify the main reason for that problem. It is an approach taken for problem analysis and interrogation. This is exactly what Socrates introduced in his Socratic Method. Each time when Agile teams practices any effective root cause analysis techniques, Socrates must be looking down from heaven smiling away. Root cause analysis can take many forms. Ishikawa or Fishbone diagram, 5 Whys approach to naming he most common.This article is not to talk about root cause analysis as a concept but to discuss how Agile teams can use use the 5 whys to identify the root cause analysis process. Introduction to 5 Whys or the Why-Why Analysis: This approach was first introduced by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Corporation. The technique was used in the vehicle manufacturing plants to evaluate why problems occur during the production process. Often when a defect or an issue occurred, the team used to give a temporary solution, patch the problem and move on. However, the same problem used to resurface. Toyoda understood that the root cause was not being addressed in the solution given and only the symptoms were being addressed. Thus he formulated the 5 Whys technique to explore problems at hand. This is the best explanation for psychology, politics and programming I’ve heard in a long time. Attempts to boil anything down to a single cause are fruitless and generally a waste of time. Which is why “it depends” is so often at the heart of any answer. Unsatisfying, but true https://t.co/aNzQAQ7MQm — Ted Neward (@tedneward) July 24, 2018   As the name suggests, 5 Why’s is a process of asking Why 5 times to get to the root of a certain problem. However, 5 is not the minimum or maximum number of times you should ask ‘Why’. An example of why-why analysis for Agile teams would be something as follows:         Why did the user complain that notifications didn’t go out when he added a new customer to the CRM?            Because there was a bug in the last release Why was there a bug in the last release?            Because we didn’t test this scenario Why didn’t we test this scenario?            Because we only tested the features developed during the last sprint. We didn’t do a regression test on all the features in the application. Why didn’t you test all the features in the application?           Because notifications feature was something built a long time ago and it’s not practical to test all the app features in every release. Why is it not practical to test all features in the application during every release?          The application is now so big that performing regression testing on every feature at the end of each sprint is time-consuming. As we can see, this process helps you get a better picture of the underlying cause of the problem. We will now be able to go beyond the traditional answer of ‘We missed a bug’ or ‘Our bad, we will test the application thoroughly next time’ type of answer. The is simply because we now know the primary cause that needs to be addressed is to do with regression testing. We simply identified that testing is an issue, but it is not the root cause of the issue. How the 5 Whys approach helps The 5 Whys approach lets you determine what you should do to rectify the situation. It helps you make a decision on what action to take, whom to consult, what sort of effort is required and so on. In the above scenario it will help us identify the regression processes for the project, what tools to use, and help decide whether to automate regression testing activities. We can see that 5 why’s is a great tool for agile teams to use. There’s no set standard or guideline on how to use it. It’s up to the team to decide when to use it and how. It doesn’t need to be 5 why’s as explained earlier but just be done to an extent which allows you to make a concrete assessment and decision. Get everyone impacted or interested involved in the process and perform it diligently. Ever thought why a 5 or 6 year old child keeps on asking why? Isn’t it sometimes annoying? ‘Why is that car red?’, ‘Why does that dog bite?’. These are some annoying questions a child may ask for which you may sometimes have no answer. Isn’t it more irritating when the child keeps on asking why for each answer you give? Success factors for Root Cause Analysis There are many different approaches to find the root cause of problems. You can perform a general problem analysis with one or more professionals and demonstrate the results to those involved to deal with and refine them. For smaller issues, you can follow the 5 Whys technique discussed above.  Analyzing the error that has been found during testing or stated by customers helps to enhance your product quality. Agile teams can perform root cause analysis in the retrospective meetings or can have separate meetings they analyze carefully by asking why. It is essential to perform root cause analysis irrespective of the technique that is used to get business value out of it.  Final Thoughts Finally, my concluding remark is to invite you to call forth your inner child again. Ask Why how stupid or trivial it may be. Remember, we only see the tip of the iceberg. There’s lots more of the problem that we have forgotten to explore or ignored to accept!
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