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Roles and Responsibilities of Successful Scrum Masters

How do the various roles and responsibilities make a Scrum Master an amazing game changer?Three influential powerful roles in Scrum framework of agile software development are- Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the Development Team (Development Team is a cross-functional team such as UI Designers, Dev, QA, DevOps and specialties necessary to complete the work). Here I am sharing my awesome experience by explaining the scrum master role.1. Scrum Master responsibilities towards Addressing Team Dynamics:A good scrum master encourages the team to follow Scrum and also ensures the team has a more productive environment. Provide guidance to the team on how they can become Self-organized to achieve the Sprint goals. Tackles scrum teams, work on impediments, facilitation and also educate organization on agile methodologies to maximize value delivered.  Enabled improvement in team delivery commitments and capacity planning for sprints by identifying & tracking hidden tasks that increased customer’s satisfaction. Ensures to keep build transparency with the entire team.Share insights throughout the company through blogging, internal confluences etc.Managing, improving, empowering and shielding the Scrum teams to achieve Sprint goals. Gives trustable Working environment where all problems can be raised without fear.Arbitrate between team members when necessary.Ensures a good relationship with Dev Team and Product owner  These responsibilities can also be qualities of successful scrum master2. Scrum Master as a Facilitator, Moderator, and Master of Ceremonies: Facilitator  “key player responsible for Process ”, Moderator “Guide the Scrum team” and Master of Ceremonies “person responsible for the show i.e. Scrum events execution”.Scrum Master conducts ceremonies like Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-Ups, Sprint Reviews, and Retrospective meetings.Sprint Planning and Story Refinement: Ensure the product backlog has been ordered and completed by product owner before sprint planning begins.Attendees: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team.Time box: 2Hours for 2 Week Sprint.Sprint Review or Sprint Demo: Product Increment Demo, planned vs. completed work assignments. Capture actionable feedback as items in the backlog. Attendees: Stakeholder, Product Owner, Development Team and Scrum Master. Time box: 2 Hours for 2 Week SprintSprint Retrospective meeting: Meeting organized by Scrum Master in which team discusses three points:What went well in the sprint?What could be improved? What will we commit to improve in the next sprint? Any actionable suggestion is captured, assigned and tracked by Scrum Master.  Attendees: Development Team and Scrum Master. Product Owner is optional.Time box: 1 Hour for 2 Week Sprint Burn-Up and Burn-Down charts: Team progress display in terms of graphs is one of the most popular agile methodologies. Scrum master should be able to conduct Sprint /Release progress through Burn-up and Burn-down charts.  Burn-down chart represents how much work still remaining and burn up charts represents how much work has been done or completed. The main idea behind this is to make work progress visible to all levels. Ensures that a Definition of Done (DoD) and Definition of Ready (DoR) is maintained and followed by the Product Owner and team. Suggests Metrics (Metrics tool to track lead times, velocity, and no. of bugs logged so on.) fundamentals for the team as catalysts for change. Keeps track of running Sprint through Scrum tools like Scrum board, Kanban, action board, Jira, charts, backlogs etc.3. Responsibilities towards Product Owner and outside stakeholders: Product Owner someone projects key StakeholderProduct owner and Scrum Master are two different roles but both compliment each other and work closely for Project success.As per my current experience as a Scrum Master role, I observed that teams are not able to perform like they should because the Product Owner and Scrum Master spent more time in discussing roles and responsibilities than helping teams to produce value for their customers.Scrum Master helps Product Owner to maximize ROI (Return Of Investment) to meet his objectives through the scrum.Scrum Master works as a Liaise between the Product Owner and the Development team. Coaches Product Owner to help them understand how to achieve their goals and continually adapt and prioritize their backlog items for example in case there is a change in requirement or change in plan, Scrum Master knows it well how to come through the way that will benefit both Team and PO. Ensures to make collaborative meetings to bridge the gaps. When there is some internal/external conflicts that come up SM understands it and facilitate a collaborative meeting to resolve this. Ensures to work on every possible mitigation strategies to bridge the gap.4. Remove impediments:Impediments can be of any form and can come from any direction. Scrum Master to be brave and creative in removing impediments.Scrum Master owes two types of impediments:      1.Impediments owned by Scrum Master Lack of Automated testing in ProjectConflict between team members.Continuous Integration/Deployment is not good enough for Project     2. Impediments Scrum Master wants the team to resolveConflict between team members.Focus on roles5. Meta Skills:Scrum Master Should be Compassionate, Generous, Humble, Empathy, Selfless, Creative, Innovative, greatness for others, works for People over processes, Quick learner etc.Well trained in Agile techniques/practices like Agile Games, Acceptance Testing Driven Deployment (ATDD), Feature Driven Deployment (FDD), Paired Programming, Test Driven Development (TDD) etc. Familiar with CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment). Fostering, vision statement, enabling a culture of openness, collaboration, and continuous improvement.“Scrum Master plays a very Crucial Support System role for team/Organization in implementing Agile/Scrum”6. Servant leadership quality: What is Servant leadership in Scrum? It means leaving one’s ego at the door, no authority or power over other team members, operate in a completely flat structure with zero hierarchy. Servant leadership is that the leader is not a superior, but rather a part of the body of the team. S – See the future,E – Engage and Develop OthersR – Reinvent ContinuouslyV – Value Results and RelationshipsE – Embody the Values Ensures ceremonies or planning sessions should be on time. Scrum Master knows that mistakes are unavoidable, it is human nature, after all, and mistakes are additionally a good teacher.Works with Dev team in Estimations so that team does not overcommits the work.Wrap it up: Last but not the least Scrum Master works as a doctor in terms of health check of the project. Coaches new Scrum Master and trained them so that they equally contribute to Organizations success. Of course, there are plenty of blog/articles available on Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities or Day to Day activity but here I have reiterated my own experience as a Scrum Master.
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Roles and Responsibilities of Successful Scrum Masters

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Roles and Responsibilities of Successful Scrum Masters

How do the various roles and responsibilities make a Scrum Master an amazing game changer?

Three influential powerful roles in Scrum framework of agile software development are- Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the Development Team (Development Team is a cross-functional team such as UI Designers, Dev, QA, DevOps and specialties necessary to complete the work). Here I am sharing my awesome experience by explaining the scrum master role.
Scrum master roles

1. Scrum Master responsibilities towards Addressing Team Dynamics:

  • A good scrum master encourages the team to follow Scrum and also ensures the team has a more productive environment. 
  • Provide guidance to the team on how they can become Self-organized to achieve the Sprint goals. 
  • Tackles scrum teams, work on impediments, facilitation and also educate organization on agile methodologies to maximize value delivered.  
  • Enabled improvement in team delivery commitments and capacity planning for sprints by identifying & tracking hidden tasks that increased customer’s satisfaction. 
  • Ensures to keep build transparency with the entire team.
  • Share insights throughout the company through blogging, internal confluences etc.
  • Managing, improving, empowering and shielding the Scrum teams to achieve Sprint goals. 
  • Gives trustable Working environment where all problems can be raised without fear.
  • Arbitrate between team members when necessary.
  • Ensures a good relationship with Dev Team and Product owner

  These responsibilities can also be qualities of successful scrum master

2. Scrum Master as a Facilitator, Moderator, and Master of Ceremonies:

 Facilitator  “key player responsible for Process ”, Moderator “Guide the Scrum team” and Master of Ceremonies “person responsible for the show i.e. Scrum events execution”.

  • Scrum Master conducts ceremonies like Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-Ups, Sprint Reviews, and Retrospective meetings.

  • Sprint Planning and Story Refinement: Ensure the product backlog has been ordered and completed by product owner before sprint planning begins.

Attendees: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team.

Time box: 2Hours for 2 Week Sprint.
Daily Scrum everyday

  • Sprint Review or Sprint Demo: Product Increment Demo, planned vs. completed work assignments. Capture actionable feedback as items in the backlog. 

Attendees: Stakeholder, Product Owner, Development Team and Scrum Master. 

Time box: 2 Hours for 2 Week Sprint
Sprint review

  • Sprint Retrospective meeting: Meeting organized by Scrum Master in which team discusses three points:
  • What went well in the sprint?
  • What could be improved? 
  • What will we commit to improve in the next sprint? 

Any actionable suggestion is captured, assigned and tracked by Scrum Master.  

Attendees: Development Team and Scrum Master. Product Owner is optional.

Time box: 1 Hour for 2 Week Sprint
Sprint Retrospective

 Burn-Up and Burn-Down charts: Team progress display in terms of graphs is one of the most popular agile methodologies. Scrum master should be able to conduct Sprint /Release progress through Burn-up and Burn-down charts.  
Burn-up and Burn-down charts.

  • Burn-down chart represents how much work still remaining and burn up charts represents how much work has been done or completed. The main idea behind this is to make work progress visible to all levels. 
  • Ensures that a Definition of Done (DoD) and Definition of Ready (DoR) is maintained and followed by the Product Owner and team. 
  • Suggests Metrics (Metrics tool to track lead times, velocity, and no. of bugs logged so on.) fundamentals for the team as catalysts for change. 
  • Keeps track of running Sprint through Scrum tools like Scrum board, Kanban, action board, Jira, charts, backlogs etc.

Sprint 1

3. Responsibilities towards Product Owner and outside stakeholders:

 Product Owner someone projects key Stakeholder

  • Product owner and Scrum Master are two different roles but both compliment each other and work closely for Project success.
  • As per my current experience as a Scrum Master role, I observed that teams are not able to perform like they should because the Product Owner and Scrum Master spent more time in discussing roles and responsibilities than helping teams to produce value for their customers.
  • Scrum Master helps Product Owner to maximize ROI (Return Of Investment) to meet his objectives through the scrum.
  • Scrum Master works as a Liaise between the Product Owner and the Development team. 
  • Coaches Product Owner to help them understand how to achieve their goals and continually adapt and prioritize their backlog items for example in case there is a change in requirement or change in plan, Scrum Master knows it well how to come through the way that will benefit both Team and PO. 
  • Ensures to make collaborative meetings to bridge the gaps. When there is some internal/external conflicts that come up SM understands it and facilitate a collaborative meeting to resolve this. 
  • Ensures to work on every possible mitigation strategies to bridge the gap.

4. Remove impediments:

Impediments can be of any form and can come from any direction. 

  • Scrum Master to be brave and creative in removing impediments.
    Remove impediments
  • Scrum Master owes two types of impediments:

      1.Impediments owned by Scrum Master 

  • Lack of Automated testing in Project
  • Conflict between team members.
  • Continuous Integration/Deployment is not good enough for Project

     2. Impediments Scrum Master wants the team to resolve

  • Conflict between team members.
  • Focus on roles

5. Meta Skills:

  • Scrum Master Should be Compassionate, Generous, Humble, Empathy, Selfless, Creative, Innovative, greatness for others, works for People over processes, Quick learner etc.

Scrum master meta skills

  • Well trained in Agile techniques/practices like Agile Games, Acceptance Testing Driven Deployment (ATDD), Feature Driven Deployment (FDD), Paired Programming, Test Driven Development (TDD) etc. Familiar with CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment). 
  • Fostering, vision statement, enabling a culture of openness, collaboration, and continuous improvement.

“Scrum Master plays a very Crucial Support System role for team/Organization in implementing Agile/Scrum”

6. Servant leadership quality: 

What is Servant leadership in Scrum? It means leaving one’s ego at the door, no authority or power over other team members, operate in a completely flat structure with zero hierarchy. 

  • Servant leadership is that the leader is not a superior, but rather a part of the body of the team. 

S – See the future,
E – Engage and Develop Others
R – Reinvent Continuously
V – Value Results and Relationships
E – Embody the Values 

  • Ensures ceremonies or planning sessions should be on time. 
  • Scrum Master knows that mistakes are unavoidable, it is human nature, after all, and mistakes are additionally a good teacher.
  • Works with Dev team in Estimations so that team does not overcommits the work.

Wrap it up

  • Last but not the least Scrum Master works as a doctor in terms of health check of the project. Coaches new Scrum Master and trained them so that they equally contribute to Organizations success. 
  • Of course, there are plenty of blog/articles available on Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities or Day to Day activity but here I have reiterated my own experience as a Scrum Master.
Kamla

Kamla Choudhary

Blog Author

I am a 3-dimensional IT Leader, having 10+years of experience and expertise performing diversified roles as QA Lead, Scrum Master, Agile Coach proficient in Healthcare, e-commerce, and eLearning Product Delivery and Reporting. Agile is a cultural change to be brought into an organization across all levels. As an experienced leader, I have knowledge, roadmap, persuasive attitude, negotiable and implementation skills to make transformation process a SUCCESS. Besides of the team involvement I am also engaged to companywide organization activities, coaching, mentoring, change processes, in-house training and stuff like this :)
 

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A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions

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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. 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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. 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A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions

A Quick view of SAFe® Agile has gained popularit... Read More

How SAFe®️ Core Values Quicken The Progress Of An Agile Team

What is Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®️)?The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®️) helps businesses address the significant challenges of developing and delivering enterprise-class software and systems in the shortest sustainable lead time. It is an online, freely revealed knowledge base of proven success patterns for implementing Lean-Agile software and systems at enterprise scale.Developed in the field, SAFe®️  draws from three primary bodies of knowledge: Agile development, systems thinking, and Lean product development. It synchronizes alignment, collaboration, and delivery for large numbers of Agile teams. Scalable and configurable, SAFe®️ allows each organization to adapt it to its own business needs. It supports smaller-scale solutions employing 50–125 practitioners, as well as complex systems that require thousands of people. Why use  SAFe®️ ?SAFe®️ combines the power of Agile with systems thinking and Lean product development. It synchronizes alignment, collaboration, and delivery for multiple Agile teams. As a result,  SAFe®️ provides dramatic improvements to business agility, including productivity, time to market, quality, and employee engagement, and more.SAFe®️ is improving business outcomes for companies of all sizes across the world. It has produced dramatic increases in time to market, employee engagement, higher quality, higher customer satisfaction, and overall improved economic outcomes. It also helps create cultures that are more productive, rewarding, and fun.QualityBuilt-In Quality practices increase customer satisfaction and provide faster and more predictable value delivery. They also improve the ability to innovate. Without quality, the Lean goal of the maximum value in the shortest sustainable lead time cannot be achieved. ProductivityWhen productivity increases, system development economics improves, as does employee engagement. For team members, productivity is a critical, personal need. Everyone feels better when they’re contributing more and doing less wasteful work.Employee EngagementAccording to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees with the highest level of commitment perform 21 percent better and are 65 percent less likely to leave the organization. Clearly, employee engagement is directly linked to business performance.Faster Time to MarketLean-Agile frameworks allow businesses to deliver value to the market more quickly. Companies that adopt Agile development practices routinely gain first-mover advantages and enjoy the higher gross margins afforded to market leaders. SAFe®️ enterprises typically see a 30–75 percent (as much as 3x!) improvement in time to market.SAFe®️ configurationsSAFe®️ supports the full range of development environments with four out-the-box configurationsEssential SAFe®️Portfolio SAFe®️Large Solution SAFe®️Full SAFe®️Essential SAFe®️The Essential SAFe®️ configuration is the heart of the Framework and is the simplest starting point for implementation. It’s the basic building block for all other SAFe®️ configurations and describes the most critical elements needed to realize the majority of the Framework’s benefits.  Together, the Team and Program Levels form an organizational structure called the Agile Release Train (ART), where Agile teams, key stakeholders, and other resources are dedicated to an important, ongoing solution mission.Large Solution SAFe®️The Large Solution SAFe®️ configuration is for developing the largest and most complex solutions that typically require multiple Agile release trains and Suppliers, but do not require portfolio-level considerations. The Solution Train organizational construct of the Large Solution Level helps enterprises that face the biggest challenges—building large-scale, multidisciplinary software, hardware, and complex IT systems. Building these solutions requires additional roles, artifacts, events, and coordination. Portfolio SAFe®️The Portfolio SAFe®️ configuration helps align portfolio execution to the enterprise strategy, by organizing Agile development around the flow of value, through one or more value streams. It provides business agility through principles and practices for portfolio strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and Lean governance. Full SAFe®️The Full SAFe®️ configuration is the most comprehensive version of the Framework. It supports enterprises that build and maintain large integrated solutions, which require hundreds of people or more and includes all levels of SAFe®️: team, program, large solution, and portfolio. In the largest enterprises, multiple instances of various SAFe®️ configurations may be required. Scaled agile framework core values  - SAFe®️  SAFe®️ is broad and deep and based on both Lean and Agile principles as its foundation.Importance of core valuesCore values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization.The core values are the guiding principles that speak behavior and action.Core values can help people to know what is right from wrong.It helps companies to determine whether they are working on the right path or not.SAFe®️ upholds four Core Values: alignment, built-in quality, transparency, and program execution, as illustrated in Figure below and described in the following sections.1. AlignmentAlignment ensures that many people act as one unit or team, all pulling in the same direction. Alignment in SAFe®️ is achieved when everyone in the portfolio, and every team member on every ART, understand the strategy and the part they play in achieving it.SAFe®️ delivers alignment by orchestrating strategic themes, vision, roadmap, and PI planning. Economic prioritization and the visible flow of work through the various Kanban systems and backlogs provide visibility and transparency.2.Built-in QualityBuilt-in quality is one of the important core values of SAFe®️. The enterprise’s ability to deliver new functionality with the fastest sustainable lead time and to be able to react to rapidly changing business environments is dependent on solution quality. But built-in quality is not unique to SAFe®️. Rather, it is a core principle of the Lean-Agile mindset, where it helps avoid the cost of delays associated with recall, rework, and defect fixing. The Agile Manifesto is focused on quality as well: “Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.”The following sections summarize recommended practices for achieving built-in quality.SoftwareSAFe®️’s software quality practices—many of which are inspired by Extreme Programming (XP)— help Agile software teams ensure that the solutions they build are high quality and adaptable to change. The collaborative nature of these practices, along with a focus on frequent validation, creates an emergent culture in which engineering and craftsmanship are key business enablers. Test-Driven DevelopmentTest-Driven Development (TDD) is a philosophy and practice that recommends building and executing tests before implementing the code or a component of a system. By validating them against a series of agreed-to tests, TDD—an Agile Testing practice—improves system outcomes by assuring that the system implementation meets its requirements. TDD, along with Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), is part of the ‘test-first’ approach to Build Quality into development. Writing tests first creates a more balanced testing portfolio with many fast, automated development tests and fewer slow, manual, end-to-end tests. Acceptance Test Driven DevelopmentAcceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) is a practice in which the whole team collaboratively discusses acceptance criteria, with examples, and then distills them into a set of concrete acceptance tests before development begins. It’s the best way to ensure that all have the same shared understanding of what it is we are building. It’s also the best way to ensure we have a shared definition of Done.Behavior-Driven DevelopmentBehavior Driven Development (BDD) is a Test-First, Agile Testing practice that provides Built-In Quality by defining (and potentially automating) tests before, or as part of, specifying system behavior. BDD is a collaborative process that creates a shared understanding of requirements between the business and the Development Team. Its goal is to help guide development, decrease rework, and increase flow. Without focusing on internal implementation, BDD tests are business-facing scenarios that attempt to describe the behavior of a Story, Feature, or Capability from a user’s perspective. When automated, these tests ensure that the system continuously meets the specified behavior even as the system evolves. That, in turn, enables Release on Demand. Automated BDD tests can also serve as the definitive statement regarding the as-built system behavior, replacing other forms of behavioral specifications.Continuous IntegrationThis is the practice of merging the code from each developer’s workspace into a single main branch of code, multiple times per day. This lessens the risk of deferred integration issues and their impact on system quality and program predictability. Teams perform local integration at least daily. But to confirm that the work is progressing as intended, full system-level integration should be achieved at least one or two times per iteration.RefactoringRefactoring is “a disciplined technique for restructuring an existing body of code, altering its internal structure without changing its external behavior.” A key enabler of emergent design, refactoring is essential to Agile. To maintain system robustness, teams continuously refactor code in a series of small steps, providing a solid foundation for future development.Pair WorkSome teams follow pair programming, but that may be too extreme for many. More generally, pair work may couple developers and testers on a story. Still, others prefer more spontaneous pairing, with developers collaborating for critical code segments, refactoring of legacy code, development of interface definition, and system-level integration challenges.HardwareHardware quality is supported by exploratory early iterations, frequent system-level integration, design verification, modeling, and set-based design. The Agile architecture supports software and hardware quality.1.System IntegrationDifferent components and subsystems—software, firmware, hardware, and everything else—must collaborate to provide effective solution-level behaviors. Practices that support solution-level quality include:Frequent system and solution-level integrationSolution-level testing of functional and Nonfunctional RequirementsSystem and Solution Demos2.ComplianceSAFe®️ enterprises that build high assurance systems define their approved practices, policies, and procedures in a Lean Quality Management System (QMS). These systems are intended to ensure that development activities and outcomes comply with all relevant regulations and quality standards, as well as providing the required documentation to prove it.3.TransparencyTransparency builds trust. Trust, in turn, is essential for performance, innovation, risk-taking, and relentless improvement. Trust exists when the business and development can confidently rely on another to act with integrity, particularly in times of difficulty. Without trust no one can build high-performance teams and programs, nor build (or rebuild) the confidence needed to make and meet reasonable commitments.  And without trust, working environments are a lot less fun and motivating.Here are few SAFe®️ practices which enable trust:ARTs have visibility into the team’s backlogs, as well as other Program Backlogs.Teams and programs commit to short-term, visible commitments that they routinely meet4. Program ExecutionSAFe®️ places an intense focus on working systems and business outcomes. History shows us that while many enterprises start the transformation with individual Agile teams, they often become frustrated as even those teams struggle to deliver more substantial amounts of solution value, reliably and efficiently. That is the purpose of the ART, and that is why SAFe®️ focuses implementation initially at the Program Level. In turn, the ability of Value Streams to deliver value depends on the ability of the ARTs and Solution Trains.ConclusionThe four Core Values of alignment, built-in quality, transparency, and program execution represent the fundamental beliefs that are key to SAFe®️ effectiveness. These guiding principles help dictate behavior and action for everyone who participates in a SAFe®️ portfolio. Successful teams and programs implementing  SAFe®️ have aligned their organizations along these core values and getting many benefits—employee engagement, productivity, quality, and time to market. 
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How Does SAFe®️ Benefit Organizations?

     Necessity is the mother of invention – Plato  This quotation even applies to our software development where things are changing fast and it’s not just an elephant that you have to deal with, it’s the “Titanosaur Argentinosaurus huinculensis” – the massive dinosaur.The software industry has grown by leaps and bounds which implies that the challenges have even multiplied too. For large programs and organizations, the challenges can come from any of the corners, it can be around monitoring or control, communication, stakeholders onboarding, change management, governance structure, the list is pretty long, and any imbalance can impact any of the three sides of the project management triangle – time, cost and scope.With a volatile industry, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®️) came in as a big rescue for the teams working on the different sizes of solutions. It is an ability to help the teams in maintaining an alignment with the business goals. Also, helping the organizations that need to work across the teams, is totally praiseworthy. Being deep-rooted in Agile and Lean principles, scaled agile remains more effectual than traditional styles to software delivery.Before the Agile era, we used to build the large and complex systems and the effects were outraging. Most of the times, the teams were missing the deadlines and minimal focus was given on a quality. Due to this, businesses faced bad days and I feel the software industry regrets that now.Measuring SAFe®️ business benefits SAFe®️ tries to address these issues and companies who have adopted the framework have shown amazing results. With the need of delivering quality, time-to-market, faster ROI, our leaders in the industry shaped in a lot models and frameworks to support software development like Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) etc.The flexibility these frameworks provide may valued by those with a good understanding of agile, but it might not offer sufficient track for those who are transitioning from traditional models. The usual reason we get to see for agile failure lies in the mindset of cultural change, none of the framework apart from SAFe®️, takes care of this fact.Back in 2011, Dean Leffingwell and Drew Jemilo, together came up with the framework which has helped a wide variety of organizations, so far, they stay strong with their framework by introducing new features and making it more compatible with the needs of the organization.The advantages of Scaled Agile Framework, if taken into account, the ‘Full SAFe®️’ takes care of all the levels in the organization and provides end-to end solution at the organisation level. Scaled Agile Framework was designed to sustain the big picture view of software development, it can effortlessly handle a synchronized plan for large-scale and complex projects with teams that can go beyond hundreds.Organizations can opt the benefits of Scaled Agile Framework, if their focus is on scaling the agile processes up to enterprise level, aligning business and technical goals for the company, utilizing the employee skills effectively, defining effective organizational structures around agility, scheduling for on-time delivery and improving the quality of solutions.It is the framework which not only aligns at the team and program level but also helps us stay aligned with organization strategy. It provides different level of configurations, that organizations can pull as per their needs. Scaled agile framework highlights predominant fears, like architecture, security, performance, and the resolution of dependencies and inconsistencies across the projects.In this framework we talk about releases, trains, value stream, product increment, the reasons to consider SAFe®️, and each and every entity in the whole system is connected to deliver the best solution.I have been a part of the transformation, where our organization moved into scaled framework, it is actually a big change, a big shift from what we were earlier. Now, there was a proper alignment in terms of product, teams and the work assignment. Teams actually understood why we are building it, they got to know what value it is going to add as a whole.As a culture shift, everyone was talking a foreign language but surprisingly they could easily comprehend the whole shift. You can feel the excitement, the lows and highs, the overall chaos in the initial phase and a smooth runway in a longer run.But it takes time, I just mentioned complete 2 years journey in a paragraph!!So far, I have been just talking about ‘what’ and ‘why’ for scaled agile framework, now let’s look into the ‘how’ part of it relating to the business. Trust me, this framework is really huge and the more you dive into it, the more you will be astonished by its beauty and effectiveness.Talking about the business, the organization's main focus is usually on the productivity (output), quality, time-to-market and the engagement. These are the basic reasons for any businesses for adopting SAFe®️ in the organizations. As per the survey, the productivity of your teams increase in the range of 20% to 50%, this owes to the fact that the teams have to be aligned with the product, the continuously collaborate and interact which gives them a high level of transparency on the expectations, they understand the deliverables and in turn set the expectation of the stakeholder too.This framework takes care of the dependencies and complexity which helps in building more. This helps in aligning the right work to the agile teams, even the customer knows what to expect at the end of the release, hence the balance in work assigned and the work delivered greatly increases, and it comes back as an increase in the productivity.Quality is one of the foundations when we talk about SAFe®️, organizations using SAFe®️ reported an increase in quality ranging from 20% to 75%, ‘wow’ factor for any company.Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. Built-in quality is also a core principle of the Lean-Agile Mindset, helping to avoid the cost of delays (CoDs) associated with recalls, rework, and fixing defects. SAFe®️’s built-in quality philosophy applies systems thinking to optimize the whole system, ensuring a fast flow across the entire Value Stream, and makes quality everyone’s job. – Scaledagileframework.com.Quality is embedded at every stage/level in SAFe®️, it can be dev tests, QA tests (scale, security, UAT), environment tests or prod config. A continuous delivery pipeline ensures quality before delivery into production. The scale agile framework also helped in getting happier teams with their satisfied stakeholders.Now, the teams have more visibility into what is building in and why is it building. Constant collaboration at all levels increases the confidence and raises the commitment. Most of the times, the teams actually get to interact with the real customers which helps them own the product and its deliverables, they tend to feel elated about showcasing what they have developed.Problems faced during SAFe implementationLet’s move on to see the real examples that we have from the organizations which adopted SAFe®️, and yes, it was not a smooth drive for them initially.In this article, we will cover the case study from LEGO - It is a line of plastic construction toys that are manufactured by The Lego Group – the company we all love so dearly!When LEGO adopted its scaled agile journey in 2015, they started their journey with moving 5 teams out of 20 to get into self-organizing mode. And later on the other teams followed the journey, but there was a challenge on coordination and collaboration. To make that happen, LEGO followed the SAFe®️ framework pattern and added another level of abstraction- the program level. They followed few practices such as meeting in every 8 weeks for a planning session which lasted for one and a half days.Benefits after SAFe implementation During this meeting, teams showcased their work, worked out the dependencies, estimated risks, and planned for the next release period. With their adoption on scaling, they found the following benefits of Scaled Agile Framework-The team was now more confident on giving the estimates and precise predictability on the delivery of their committed work.The employees felt more empowered to accomplish their work. They focused on adopting lean practices and minimized the documentation and other productive work.They leveraged all the possible options for face-to-face communication and it really had a constructive impact on the way they worked and collaborated, increasing their efficiency and effectiveness.Another plus point was the use of visual boards which helped them stay focused.Other success stories are from FitBit, Accenture, Bank of Canada, TomTom, Capital One, Sony, Cisco. The list is pretty long and has been increasing continuously. Every organization has a story to tell from their transformation journey. Being agile is not a destination, but it is a continuous journey. So, be a part of the scaled journey and enjoy the Scaled Agile Framework pros.Summarizing all the aspects that we have been discussing so far, the crux of adopting the scaled agile framework could be, better predictability, higher productivity, increased quality, greater employee happiness, faster time to market.This framework can be adopted by the larger organizations, we have already witnessed awesome feedbacks from companies implementing SAFe®️, though it has got its own set of prescription, it really helps if the values and principles suggested by the framework are applied at its best. Scaled framework supports the organization at all the levels ensuring they deliver excellence at every stage.
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