The new updates to SAFe® 5.0 are a significant step in the right direction, as organizations look to promote agility across the length and breadth of their business. With their latest version, Scaled Agile Inc. has emphasized customer-centricity, expanded Agile thinking beyond technical teams, and highlighted the impact of enabling agility at the portfolio management level.
The Scaled Agile Framework’s latest variant, SAFe® 5.0, was formally published on January 7, 2020. With a particular focus on business and organizational agility, SAFe® breaks out of the enterprise's technology and software sectors and embraces agility across all organization areas. SAFe® has matured as a leading Agile -scaling framework, and it continuously enhances, consolidates the latest research, and responds to input and feedback from its customers and partners.
Global markets and the current pace of technological innovation have forced organizations to transform and compete. The current business models, organizational hierarchy, and technology infrastructure can't keep up with its needs to adapt. Agile product delivery isn't enough. It would help if you had business agility.
Business agility allows us to develop opportunities by empowering us to make intelligent decisions, allocate money, and align the appropriate people to do the work. Business agility occurs when the entire organization uses Lean and Agile practices to continuously and proactively produce innovative business solutions quicker than the competition.
With direction from SAFe® 5.0, it is easy to win in the digital age. But the framework by itself can’t organize the transformation; it requires teams and leaders to make it happen. When agility penetrates your organization, it can quickly adapt to new macro conditions in the industry. What is needed is to reconfigure groups and redeploy talent in response to changing business needs. In short: thrive in fast-moving markets.
Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe® is a promptly available stream of information that helps practitioners achieve their goal to incorporate Agile practices at the organizational level. It provides a seamless lightweight experience for the entire software development team.
There are three different segments of the SAfe® framework
SAFe® also consists of;
Scaled Agile Framework is immensely lighter in weight and more straightforward than any of its competitors. And yet, it can take on the most complex and most significant value streams and handle the most complex system development being done in the market today.
If implemented on an Agile Framework, the following are the advantages that your team, project, and the company can hold.
Different factors set it apart from every competitor in the market.
SAFe® 5 dwells on the Seven Core Competencies of the Lean Enterprise. These competencies combine two completely new competencies (Organizational Agility and Continuous Learning Culture). Several subsequent competencies contribute to knowledge, skills, and behaviors, enabling enterprises to deliver business agility:
SAFe® supports four development environment configurations.
The Essential SAFe® configuration is the fundamental building block for all SAFe® arrangements and is the most straightforward starting point for implementation. This competency builds on the policies and practices found in the Lean-Agile Leadership, Team and Technical Agility, and the Agile Product Delivery competencies. SAFe is anchored by an organizational structure called the Agile Release Train (ART), where Agile teams and critical stakeholders are dedicated to a meaningful, ongoing solution mission.
The Large Solution SAFe® configuration includes the Enterprise Solution Delivery competency, which encourages building the largest and most complex solutions that demand various ARTs and Suppliers but do not require portfolio-level considerations. Such solution development is typical for aerospace and defence, automotive, and government industries, where the large solution—not portfolio governance—is the primary concern. The Solution Train organizational construct supports enterprises with the most notable challenges—building large-scale, multidisciplinary software, hardware, cyber-physical, and complex IT systems. Developing these solutions requires different roles, artifacts, events, and coordination.
The Portfolio SAFe® configuration is the most miniature set of competencies and methods that can ultimately enable business agility, as intimated by the blue ‘Business Agility’ bar at the top. This bar also incorporates a link to Measure & Grow for guidance on managing SAFe® business agility assessments. Portfolio SAFe® contains two additional competencies, Organizational Agility and Lean Portfolio Management, exceeding the three core competencies of Essential SAFe®. Lean Portfolio Management adjusts portfolio execution to enterprise strategy and organizes development around the flow of value through one or more value streams. Organization Agility extends Lean thinking and practice throughout the enterprise and enables strategy agility. Continuous Learning Culture describes how everyone in the organization learns together, relentlessly improves, and builds innovation into the culture. In addition to the competencies, Portfolio SAFe® provides principles and practices for portfolio strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and Lean governance.
Full SAFe® is the most extensive configuration, including all seven core competencies needed for business agility. The world’s most extensive enterprises typically use it to maintain portfolios of large and complex solutions.
SAFe® has ten permanent, underlying Lean-Agile principles. These systems inform the roles and practices of SAFe®.
Addressing the most high-grade value and quality for people and society in the shortest sustainable lead-time requires a fundamental understanding of building systems' economics. The SAFe® framework highlights the trade-offs between risk, Cost of Delay (CoD), manufacturing, operational, and development costs. Moreover, every development value stream must operate within the context of an approved budget and be compliant with the guardrails which support decentralized decision-making.
The workplace challenges and the marketplace demands knowledge of the systems within which workers and users work. Such systems are complicated, and they consist of many interrelated segments. To update, everyone must understand the broader aim of the system. In SAFe®, systems thinking supports the development of the organization that builds the system.
Traditional design and life cycle practices assist in choosing an individual design-and-requirements option early in the development process. If the starting point proves to be the incorrect choice, then future arrangements take amazingly long and lead to a suboptimal design. A more dependable path is to manage multiple requirements, and empirical data is assumed to narrow the focus, resulting in a format that generates optimum economic results.
Developing solutions incrementally in a series of small iterations allow for more immediate customer feedback and mitigates risk. Subsequent increments build on the previous ones. Since the 'system always runs,' some increments may serve as prototypes for market testing and validation; others become minimum viable products (MVPs). Still, others extend the system to new and valuable functionality. This early feedback helps determine when to change to an alternate action course.
Business owners, developers, and customers have a distributed responsibility to guarantee that investment in the latest solutions will benefit economically. The sequential, phase-gate development model meets this challenge, but experience proves that it does not decrease risk as expected. In Lean-Agile development, integration features provide objective milestones to evaluate the solution during the development life cycle. Regular evaluation offers financial, technical, and fitness-for-purpose governance to ensure that a progressive investment will deliver a proportionate return.
Lean enterprises endeavour to accomplish a state of continuous movement, where new system inclinations move swiftly and visibly from concept to cash.
Keys to implementing flow are
Cadence creates predictability and executes a rhythm for development. Synchronization induces varied viewpoints to be understood, solved and integrated at the same time. Implementing development cadence and synchronization, joined with periodic cross-domain planning, provides the mechanisms required to function efficiently in the proximity of the inherent development ambiguity.
Lean-Agile leaders recognize that creativity, innovation, and employee commitment are not generally triggered by individual incentive compensation. Such personal causes can create internal competition and destroy the cooperation necessary to achieve the system's larger aim. Implementing autonomy and purpose, reducing constraints, generating an environment of mutual influence, and better understanding compensation's role is key to higher employee engagement levels. This procedure yields more desirable outcomes for people, customers, and the organization.
Obtaining quick value delivery necessitates decentralized decision-making. This subdues delays, increases product development flow, allows more instantaneous feedback, and generates more innovative solutions devised by those closest to the local knowledge. However, some choices are essential, global, and have economies of scale that justify centralized decision-making. Since both types of decisions occur, producing a solid decision-making framework is critical in guaranteeing a quick flow of value.
Many organizations today revolve around principles developed during the last century. In the digital age, the only sustainable aggressive advantage is the pace with which an organization can respond to its customers' needs with new and innovative solutions. Business Agility demands that enterprises build around value to deliver more quickly. And when market and customer desires change, the enterprise must seamlessly and quickly reorganize around that new value flow.
There are numerous Agile frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, XP, Crystal, FDD, etc., to contemplate businesses with various teams working on an identical product. But often, the most excellent solution is one that compounds best practices from varied scaling frameworks. The truth is, organizational leaders must approach Agile as a process that is tailored to fit the needs rather than a dormant solution.
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe® ) is the most successful and popular framework for scaling Scrum in big organizations. It is essential to note that SAFe® is intended to accommodate DevOps, a process frequently deemed for future-proof Agile organizations.
SAFe® is a method that describes a highly structured framework to embrace and engage an Agile value stream in an enterprise setting. It is most desirable for large organizations to retain as much organizational and process structure as possible while reaping the advantages of a decentralized Agile method. SAFe® is not as efficiently customizable as Scrum at Scale, so an in-depth interpretation of value creation processes is essential for planning an Agile transition process using this framework.
Scrum at Scale, created by Dr. Jeff Sutherland and Alex Brown, is the newest addition to Agile scaling frameworks and was publicly launched at Agile 2014 in Orlando. Hence, it is relatively untested and undocumented compared to SAFe®, making it less suitable for extensive enterprise adoption. To be specific, it's a modular method to scaling the well-known Scrum framework.
Scrum at Scale can support scaling the framework. It is a manageable solution for organizations of all sizes. Scrum@Scale is a working model and skeleton within which Scrum teams’ networks work consistently with the Scrum Guide and can approach complicated large-scale problems and productively deliver products of high value. Scrum@Scale extends the core Scrum framework to deliver hyper-productive results across organizations.
The Scrum@Scale structure is easily manageable but hard to master. It is made up of 2 cycles, the Scrum Master cycle and Product Owner cycle, and 12 components necessary to execute Scrum at scale.
SAFe® performs flawlessly in organizations with several hundred teams. Hence, it’s an exceptional framework for big companies. It provides these businesses with a highly reliable method for outlining, performance, and delivery through Agile Release Trains.
ARTs work on a steady flow of Program Increments lasting from eight to 12 weeks. Each Increment starts with a cross-functional team devising sessions to recognize what they’ll present, and this helps to identify and address cross-team dependencies and possible hindrances.
The implementation pathway is required to be tweaked to meet the requirements of your organization. Association with economic-driven Lean development would demonstrate challenges from a cultural aspect.
SAFe® is a comprehensive solution that discusses not only team agility but also portfolio and business agility. Therefore, it is an excellent option for firms to achieve total enterprise agility with a highly disciplined approach to deliverables.
LeSS is the large-scale implementation of essential principles and elements of Scrum beyond cross-cultural teams. A necessary characteristic of LeSS comprises redirecting team awareness over the entire organization. However, fulfilling this can prove to be the principal impediment to scaling.
LeSS consists of a couple of frameworks:
Both frameworks are reliant profoundly upon the Product Owner. LeSS Huge includes Product Owners that operate amidst their smaller areas. For leaders who follow Lean Economics, LeSS can be more effective due to its importance on systems thinking, doing more with LeSS, and queuing theory.
There are numerous assorted Agile frameworks to consider for organizations that have diverse teams operating on similar products. But often, to get the best results, the best practices from different scaling frameworks are merged. The truth is, organizational leaders must consider Agile as a process they tailor to suit their requirements rather than an inert solution. Hopefully, this SAFe® vs LeSS comparison makes your decision-making process a little more comfortable.
Unlike SAFe®, the Spotify model is not considered an extensive toolbox. The Spotify model contributes a relatively lightweight framework that stresses the necessity to generate many interactions to limit the silo side formed by teams.
It would be essential to determine how every team must work in a standard way or have 100% freedom provided to the groups. Moreover, the Spotify model doesn’t deliver any solution to control the Portfolio like SAFe®. We could associate the Spotify model’s philosophy with Scrum, as it is a lightweight framework in which the teams would have to produce the details.
SAFe® extends a comprehensive and complete framework. Experts view it as a framework that is too detailed. So, the question that arises is: Is SAFe® an agile framework?
SAFe® empowers to work, to coordinate, to train, to put in place its processes whether it suits the organization or not. It is hence a complete solution. Unlike the Spotify model, everything is already fixed, and only an expert can be expected to have the imagination to improve it.
The Scaled Agile Framework discusses the obstacles encountered when scaling agile beyond a single team. SAFe® supports collaboration, coordination, and delivery across a vast number of agile teams.
This framework leverages three primary bodies of knowledge:
There are several hurdles that an organization faces when it is required to scale agile principles and practices.
The development team implementing agile principles usually enhances/improves their product backlog to two to three iterations.
In huge organizations, the product marketing team would like to release the products in the market, and the teams would perform at a high-level roadmap of 12-18 months. They then cooperate on plans for three months of work.
The agile development teams would refine product backlog for 2-3 iterations and have detailed task plans ready, and often new changes are limited to the subsequent iterations.
The agile development teams operate within the framework to help determine how to be elegant, but work is deficient for agile methods at the management level.
The cross-functional units that can manage complicated levels of accountability and planning are missing.
In the Scrum framework, the Product Owner accepts the product life cycle’s charge accompanied by investment return. The Product Owner is fully accountable for the completion/ performance of the product.
On a large scale, there is a requirement to have a view of multiple team backlogs. A Product Manager is usually accountable for controlling multiple team backlogs. There is still a barrier as the Product Owner is separated from the development of the organization.
Agile frameworks provide freedom to development teams to create their ways of work. There are hundreds of development teams at a large scale, and it proves to be a hurdle for the teams to be entirely self-organized.
The self-organized teams operating on identical products will face a challenge to synchronize their deliverables and deliver them together.
With large organizations working in agile, a need arises for an additional iteration after a release that improves their practices. This assists in planning for the next planning increment.
A large-scale agile model also requires testing everything that is operating concurrently till the end.
SAFe® is a framework that helps organizations to handle the barriers they face while scaling agile and lean. To use the Scaled Agile Framework effectively, it is essential to know and understand its principles.
SAFe® 5.0 brings the necessary changes required for organizations to grow and not lose their core focus, i.e. customers. Companies can now create value streams for their overall growth with business agility rather than each department individually.
The two new core competencies will allow the organizations to create a learning culture to promote constant improvement in innovative solutions, performance, and growth and change or adapt strategies according to the change in market trends. Overall, SAFe® 5.0 brings the main focus back into the picture without losing it in the hierarchical structure of organizations.
Frameworks like SAFe® provide a viable option for helping businesses achieve their business outcomes: Jira, an enterprise agile planning platform, is built for SAFe®. Jira can improve visibility, strategic alignment, and enterprise adaptability to accelerate your digital transformation.
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