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SAFe vs Agile frameworks: Scrum Scale vs LeSS vs Spotify

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.Key Highlights of New SAFe® 5:An improved Big Picture better emphasizes flow and continuous deliveryImplementing SAFe®  to hardware development expedites the delivery of cyber-physical systemsNew direction around DevSecOps technical skills and tools better controls the constant delivery pipelineBroader demand for applying Lean-Agile approaches to business domains supports business agilityIntegrated participatory budgeting promotes a dynamic and collaborative method of allotting funds to value streamsPatterns and behaviours for planning teams and ARTs simplifies designing around valueWhy was an Update required?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. What is 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.What is the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®)?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® frameworkTeamProgramPortfolioSAFe® also consists of;A Design that satisfies the needs and requirements of each stakeholder associated with the projectLean and Agile principlesLoads of direction for work at Value Stream, program, team and the organization PortfolioWhy use SAFe®?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.Quality will grow by more than 50%Employee commitment and job satisfaction would increaseTimely delivery to market will get a boost up to 75%Productivity is enhanced by 50%.When Should We Use SAFe®?When implementing an agile approach consistently across more widespread, cross-cultural team programs and portfolios, the team is involved in implementing an elegant system.When teams are interested in working independentlyWhen you are attempting to scale Agile over your organization, but are grappling with regulating to achieve uniform or consistent approach beyond departments.Multiple teams trying Agile implementation but constantly facing hindrances, obstacles, and breakdownsScaling Agile across the organization but unsure what different roles may be required or what existing functions must changeAn organization wants to improve its product development lead time and understand how other organizations have achieved success in scaling Agile with SAFe®.Is the Scaled Agile Framework Different From Its Competitors in the Market?Different factors set it apart from every competitor in the market.It gives lightweight, reasonably verified results that are specific to the levelOffers valuable extensions to standard agile practicesIt gives a comprehensive understanding of software improvementOffers continuous or constant feedback on quality and refinementObtainable in a highly approachable and usable formIt is openly available and free to useIt regularly/repeatedly modifies/maintains the most regularly used agile practicesGrounds agile practices to an enterprise contextVisibility or transparency is more on all levels.Overview of Seven Core CompetenciesSAFe® 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:The Lean-Agile Leadership competency describes how Lean-Agile Leaders motivate and promote organizational change by empowering individuals and teams to reach their maximum potential.The Continuous Learning Culture competency outlines a set of values and practices that continuously encourage individuals and the enterprise to enhance knowledge, proficiency, performance, and innovation constantly.  The Team and Technical Agility competency describes essential talents and Lean-Agile principles and practices that high-performing Agile teams use to produce high-quality resolutions for their customers.  The Agile Product Delivery competency is a customer-centric way to define, build, and deliver a constant flow of necessary products and services to consumers and users.  The Enterprise Solution Delivery competency outlines how to implement Lean-Agile principles and practices to the specification, developing the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated software applications, networks, and cyber-physical systems.  The Lean Portfolio Management competency alters plan and execution by implementing Lean thinking methods to strategize Agile portfolio operations and governance.  The Organizational Agility competency defines how Lean-thinking people and Agile teams optimize their business methods, form a strategy with specific new commitments, and immediately have the organization capitalize on new opportunities.SAFe® ConfigurationsSAFe® supports four development environment configurations.Essential SAFe®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.Large Solution SAFe®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.Portfolio SAFe®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®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®  Lean-Agile PrinciplesSAFe®  has ten permanent, underlying Lean-Agile principles. These systems inform the roles and practices of SAFe®.Take an economic viewAddressing 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.Apply systems thinkingThe 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.Assume variabilityTraditional 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.Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cyclesDeveloping 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.Base milestones on an objective evaluation of working systemsBusiness 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.Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengthsLean 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  Envision and restrict the quantity of work in process (WIP).  Overcome the batch sizes of work to expedite fast and more stable flow.  Manage queue lengths to decrease the delay periods for new functionality.Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planningCadence 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.Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workersLean-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.Decentralize decision-makingObtaining 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.Organize around valueMany 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.Choosing the Best Suited Agile frameworkThere 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.SAFe®  vs. Scrum@ScaleThe Scaled Agile FrameworkThe 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@ScaleScrum 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®  vs. Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)Scaled Agile FrameworkSAFe®  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.Benefits of SAFe®Assists in resolving problems on business aspects, which other Agile frameworks fail to address  Teams perform at the highest value in the least amount of time    Synchronization across multiple teams reduces scaling issues  Outstanding assistance through educational training courses and role-based certifications  SAFe®  separates business strategies into actions, then features, then stories of work at the team level, and maps the pathway.Drawbacks of SAFe®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.Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)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:    Including eight teams    It also estimates for more than eight teams. 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.Benefits of LeSSComfortable and flexible due to its Scrum origins    Sets more strain on system-wide thinking    Parks more Locus on a product preferably than a project    Massively reliant on a single Product Owner and backlogLimitations of LeSSScaling only works for an organization which has an extensive Scrum foundation    LeSS is formed around Scrum and is not a straightforward extension of other methodologies.    A single Product Owner may attempt to control multiple teamsChoose the Most Appropriate Agile framework.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.SAFe®  vs SpotifySpotify: a lightweight frameworkUnlike 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®  a heavy frameworkSAFe®  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.Challenges of scaling agile principles and practicesThe 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:Agile software methodological development  Lean product methodological development  System thinkingHurdles in Scaling AgileThere are several hurdles that an organization faces when it is required to scale agile principles and practices.Long term planning absence 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.Lack of agile practicesThe 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.Delegated authority handlingIn 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.Lack of synchronizationAgile 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.Absence of InnovationWith 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.ConclusionSAFe®  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.

SAFe vs Agile frameworks: Scrum Scale vs LeSS vs Spotify

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SAFe vs Agile frameworks: Scrum Scale vs LeSS vs Spotify

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.

Key Highlights of New SAFe® 5:

  • An improved Big Picture better emphasizes flow and continuous delivery
  • Implementing SAFe®  to hardware development expedites the delivery of cyber-physical systems
  • New direction around DevSecOps technical skills and tools better controls the constant delivery pipeline
  • Broader demand for applying Lean-Agile approaches to business domains supports business agility
  • Integrated participatory budgeting promotes a dynamic and collaborative method of allotting funds to value streams
  • Patterns and behaviours for planning teams and ARTs simplifies designing around value

Why was an Update required?

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. 

What is 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.

What is the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®)?

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

  1. Team
  2. Program
  3. Portfolio

SAFe® also consists of;

  1. A Design that satisfies the needs and requirements of each stakeholder associated with the project
  2. Lean and Agile principles
  3. Loads of direction for work at Value Stream, program, team and the organization Portfolio

Why use SAFe®?

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.

  1. Quality will grow by more than 50%
  2. Employee commitment and job satisfaction would increase
  3. Timely delivery to market will get a boost up to 75%
  4. Productivity is enhanced by 50%.

When Should We Use SAFe®?

  1. When implementing an agile approach consistently across more widespread, cross-cultural team programs and portfolios, the team is involved in implementing an elegant system.
  2. When teams are interested in working independently
  3. When you are attempting to scale Agile over your organization, but are grappling with regulating to achieve uniform or consistent approach beyond departments.
  4. Multiple teams trying Agile implementation but constantly facing hindrances, obstacles, and breakdowns
  5. Scaling Agile across the organization but unsure what different roles may be required or what existing functions must change
  6. An organization wants to improve its product development lead time and understand how other organizations have achieved success in scaling Agile with SAFe®.

Is the Scaled Agile Framework Different From Its Competitors in the Market?

Different factors set it apart from every competitor in the market.

  1. It gives lightweight, reasonably verified results that are specific to the level
  2. Offers valuable extensions to standard agile practices
  3. It gives a comprehensive understanding of software improvement
  4. Offers continuous or constant feedback on quality and refinement
  5. Obtainable in a highly approachable and usable form
  6. It is openly available and free to use
  7. It regularly/repeatedly modifies/maintains the most regularly used agile practices
  8. Grounds agile practices to an enterprise context
  9. Visibility or transparency is more on all levels.

Overview of Seven Core Competencies

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:

  1. The Lean-Agile Leadership competency describes how Lean-Agile Leaders motivate and promote organizational change by empowering individuals and teams to reach their maximum potential.
  2. The Continuous Learning Culture competency outlines a set of values and practices that continuously encourage individuals and the enterprise to enhance knowledge, proficiency, performance, and innovation constantly.  
  3. The Team and Technical Agility competency describes essential talents and Lean-Agile principles and practices that high-performing Agile teams use to produce high-quality resolutions for their customers.  
  4. The Agile Product Delivery competency is a customer-centric way to define, build, and deliver a constant flow of necessary products and services to consumers and users.  
  5. The Enterprise Solution Delivery competency outlines how to implement Lean-Agile principles and practices to the specification, developing the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated software applications, networks, and cyber-physical systems.  
  6. The Lean Portfolio Management competency alters plan and execution by implementing Lean thinking methods to strategize Agile portfolio operations and governance.  
  7. The Organizational Agility competency defines how Lean-thinking people and Agile teams optimize their business methods, form a strategy with specific new commitments, and immediately have the organization capitalize on new opportunities.

SAFe® Configurations

SAFe® supports four development environment configurations.

Essential SAFe®

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.

Large Solution SAFe®

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.

Portfolio SAFe®

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®

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®  Lean-Agile Principles

SAFe®  has ten permanent, underlying Lean-Agile principles. These systems inform the roles and practices of SAFe®.

Take an economic view

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.

Apply systems thinking

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.

Assume variability

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.

Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles

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.

Base milestones on an objective evaluation of working systems

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.

Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengths

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  

  • Envision and restrict the quantity of work in process (WIP).  
  • Overcome the batch sizes of work to expedite fast and more stable flow.  
  • Manage queue lengths to decrease the delay periods for new functionality.

Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning

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.

Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers

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.

Decentralize decision-making

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.

Organize around 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.

Choosing the Best Suited Agile framework

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.

SAFe®  vs. Scrum@Scale

The Scaled Agile Framework

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@Scale

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®  vs. Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)

Scaled Agile Framework

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.

Benefits of SAFe®

  1. Assists in resolving problems on business aspects, which other Agile frameworks fail to address  
  2. Teams perform at the highest value in the least amount of time    
  3. Synchronization across multiple teams reduces scaling issues  
  4. Outstanding assistance through educational training courses and role-based certifications  
  5. SAFe®  separates business strategies into actions, then features, then stories of work at the team level, and maps the pathway.

Drawbacks of SAFe®

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.

Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)

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:    

  • Including eight teams    
  • It also estimates for more than eight teams. 

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.

Benefits of LeSS

  1. Comfortable and flexible due to its Scrum origins    
  2. Sets more strain on system-wide thinking    
  3. Parks more Locus on a product preferably than a project    
  4. Massively reliant on a single Product Owner and backlog

Limitations of LeSS

  1. Scaling only works for an organization which has an extensive Scrum foundation    
  2. LeSS is formed around Scrum and is not a straightforward extension of other methodologies.    
  3. A single Product Owner may attempt to control multiple teams

Choose the Most Appropriate Agile framework.

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.

SAFe®  vs Spotify

Spotify: a lightweight framework

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®  a heavy framework

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.

Challenges of scaling agile principles and practices

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:

  1. Agile software methodological development  
  2. Lean product methodological development  
  3. System thinking

Hurdles in Scaling Agile

There are several hurdles that an organization faces when it is required to scale agile principles and practices.

Long term planning absence 

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.

Lack of agile practices

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.

Delegated authority handling

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.

Lack of synchronization

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.

Absence of Innovation

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.

Conclusion

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.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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The product owner and the teams work towards better defining and refining the product backlog.Scrum MasterJust like in regular Scrum, the Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is also responsible for ensuring that the Nexus framework is understood by everyone on the team as prescribed by the Nexus Guide.   MembersThe members of the Nexus Integration Team are the Scrum team members who aid the Scrum teams in adoption of tools and practices that will help the team and members deliver value at the end of each sprint that meets the definition of done. Nexus Integration Team membership should be considered more important than the individual Scrum Team membership and members should work towards first fulfilling their Nexus team responsibilities.What are the Events in Nexus?Nexus adds or augments the events as defined by Scrum. The Nexus event durations are like Scrum event durations and are guided by the Scrum Guide.  Nexus events consist of: Sprint- A Nexus sprint is the same as in Scrum, at the end of which a single increment is delivered.  Cross team refinement- The aim of Nexus is to enhance collaboration and reduce cross team dependencies. Cross team refinement helps to make dependencies and responsibilities more transparent. This makes it easier for Scrum teams within the Nexus to clearly identify and deliver their allocated tasks.  Nexus Sprint Planning- Nexus sprint planning will involve the participation of the Product Owner and concerned teams' members from each team. The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Planning is to assign and co-ordinate activities for a single sprint.  Nexus Daily Scrum- This is like the daily stand up in Scrum. Nexus daily scrum is used to identify any issues and track progress. Any issues are immediately prioritized and solved so that they do not hinder the work of the developers.  Nexus Sprint Review- This event is held at the end of sprints to provide feedback on the increment that has been built and on any future updates that have to be made. Nexus Sprint Retrospective- Like in Scrum, Nexus retrospectives are an important part of the project and are used to reflect on how quality and consistency can be improved.  Some Nexus ArtifactsNexus artifacts are the same as Scrum artifacts and when implemented correctly ensure transparency and value maximization. Every artifact is designed to give a commitment. For example, the product backlog is the artifact and its commitment is the product goal. Other artifacts and their commitments include: Nexus Sprint Backlog-Nexus Sprint Goal Integrated Increment-Definition of Done Along with Nexus, LeSS is another popular framework for scaling agile.  Scaling Scrum with LeSS The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework is an offering from Atlassian and is a framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams that are working on the same product. The idea behind LeSS is to start with a single Scrum team as defined in the Scrum Guide and then replicate it to multiple teams who are working on a single product. LeSS has earned the label of being “barely sufficient” as it is a simple framework to apply and uses the basic concepts of Scrum to scale.  How do Sprint Planning meetings in LeSS work?  LeSS generally carries out sprint planning in two stages. Sprint Planning One focuses on selecting items that are of topmost priority, solving unanswered issues and defining the sprint goal. The Sprint Planning Two is like the sprint plan of regular Scrum and focuses on creating a plan of action for getting things done.  Daily meeting  The daily Scrum meeting in LeSS is similar to how it is done in normal single Scrum teams and involves team members discussing the work accomplished and the work to be done during the day. It is a time-boxed meeting and helps teams address any issues that may be hindering work.   Sprint Delivery Meeting (Review) The sprint review meeting is an essential part of LeSS and helps teams and stakeholders review the product built during the sprint and suggest changes and new ideas.   Retrospective The retrospective for LeSS is similar to one team Scrum. These retrospectives held at the end of the sprint will help teams to reflect on the progress of tasks, and identify the obstacles that may hinder or impede the overall project.  Let’s take a look at some of the other frameworks that are used for scaling agile. Scaling Scrum with SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe in short, follows the principles of lean and agile and helps in scaling Scrum to the enterprise. It helps to manage alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to ensure enterprise success. It systematically focuses on applying Scrum at each level of the enterprise, to maximize value and ensure a successful agile transformation.A successful SAFe adoption ensures end-to-end business agility with significant improvements in strategy, delivery, execution and business competencies. It helps organizations overcome competition and ensure innovative business solutions to gain customer trust and partnership. The SAFe framework is continuously improvised in order to help organizations cope with the digital age and ensure that business outcomes are delivered.Scaling Scrum with the Scrum@Scale frameworkAnother framework that allows organizations to implement Scrum at scale is the Scrum@Scale framework. This framework expands on the core principles of Scrum and helps to scale Scrum over a wide range of industries and sectors, ensuring customer satisfaction and creation of successful products. It promotes communication across all teams and departments, and optimizes resources, removes roadblocks and ensures creation of innovative products.A Final Word By driving Agile at the organizational level, companies can gain all the benefits of team-level Scrum at scale. More often than not the principles of team level Scrum are not sustainable at the enterprise level and the transformation fails. Tested and proven Agile scaling frameworks are now able to turn this around, and help organizations scale up the principles and practices of Scrum to become more adaptable, flexible and responsive. Professionals can master these frameworks and help their organization adopt the culture, mind-set and principles of Scrum and agile.  
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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small tea... Read More