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Key Insights from the 2020 State of Agile Report

How are agile businesses changing in 2020?  Digital.ai, the creator of the industry’s first intelligent Value Stream, recently published its 14th Annual State of Agile Report, along with a survey addendum to reflect the current 2020 landscape. The report took a look into the enterprise, what Agile techniques companies are implementing, their benefits, and what’s trending. The report provides the most comprehensive data in the world to benchmark your Agile practice and plan your next wave of expansion. The survey documents the experiences of more than 1,100 business and IT professionals across a range of industries and roles worldwide.  About 40,000 Agile practitioners, consultants, and executives have shared their insights to make this the longest-running and largest report of its kind. For the first time, it revealed insights beyond the general results by filtering the results along the demographic lines. The analysis indicates a correlation between the time practicing Agile, the ability to manage the changing priorities, and improved time to market.  In this article, we give you the complete lowdown on the state of Agile in 2020 including the COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile. Agile in numbers Let us explore the top responsesto the survey in numbers. Respondents answered their top reasons for implementing Agile techniques, which techniquesand methodologies they employ the most, what tools they recommend most, and the top benefits of using Agile. Top five reasons for adopting AgileTop Five Reasons For Adopting AgileRespondents were asked why their teams adopted Agile methodologies and techniques. These were the most responded benefits:Accelerate software delivery (71 percent) Enhance the ability to manage changing priorities (63 percent) Increased productivity (51 percent) Improve business/IT alignment (47 percent) Enhance software quality (42 percent)  This year, the reasons for implementing Agile were more about reducing project risks as opposed to reducing project costs.Top five Agile techniques employedThese are the five most used tactics that help teams adhere to the twelve principles of Agile.Top Five Agile Techniques EmployedThe Daily Standup was the most common Agile technique used in organizations. The most notable changes from last year was a decrease in Release Planning (51 percent this year as opposed to 57 percent last year) and an increase in Product Road Mapping (49 percent this year as opposed to 45 percent last year). Top five benefits of adopting AgileTop five benefits of adopting AgileWe see that the top five benefits of adopting Agile are built around speed and adaptability. Project Cost Reduction was last on the list with only 26 percent of the respondents considering it to be the benefit of Agile implementation. Top five Agile methodologies Top five Agile methodologiesThe survey shows that Scrum and its variants are the most common methodologies used for Agile implementation. 3 percent of the respondents didn’t have any idea of the methodology used by their organization.  Top five Agile project management toolsTop recommended project management toolsRespondents were asked if they would recommend the tools on the basis of their experience. Atlassian JIRA and VersionOne were the most recommended tools. Five critical takeaways from the 2020 State of Agile Report Many organizations still learning to adopt Agilepercentage of teams using AgileThe survey showed that only 18 percent of the organizations implemented Agile for all the teams. 77 percent of the organizations had still not implemented Agile in all the company’s teams. With 5 percent of the organizations yet to adopt Agile, there is clearly plenty of area for growth. Agile maturityWhile 95 percent of organizations have some form of agile process in place, practice maturity and adoption remain a work in progress. Around 50 percent of respondents report that less than half of their teams are using agile, and 84 percent acknowledge that their organizations are below a high level of competencies.  Areas other than software development yet to take advantage of AgileAreas of organization practicing AgileAgile practices are not limited to software organizations. The survey data showed that while Software Development continues to be the major area for Agile adoption, other areas like IT and Operations have also started adopting the methodology. Other areas in the organization are yet to take advantage of everything the Agile approach has to offer. More business outcome KPIs, fewer metrics As per the respondents, accelerated delivery speed is the most critical measure of the success of Agile initiatives. Next is improved quality, followed by reduced risk and increased customer satisfaction. Reduced IT costs is low on the spectrum with just 39 percent considering it as important for measuring success.  How success is measured in Agile transformationsAgile success and metricsWhen asked how organizations measure success of Agile transformations, the top measures of success were consistent with those reported over the last few years. Outcomes, customer satisfaction and business value, ranked higher than outputs like on-time delivery and productivity. The survey results for this section remain consistent over the past few years. There might be some ups and downs. But overall, Customer Satisfaction and Business Value are at a higher rank than productivity and on-time delivery. How success is measured in individual Agile projectsHow Sucess is Measured in individual Agile projectAs with Agile transformations, business value delivered, and customer or user satisfaction remained the top two cited measures of success within for individual projects.  Scaling Agile faces culture challengesMethods and approaches of scaling AgileAbout one-third of respondents are applying the Scaled Agile Framework, roughly another third are using other scaling frameworks, and another third stated they didn't know/other. There appear to be several common challenges scaling agile as over 40 percent of respondents cited six different challenges/barriers with adopting and scaling agile practices. These included: resistance to change, lack of leadership participation, inconsistent processes, misaligned organization versus agile values, inadequate management support, and insufficient training.    Challenges experienced when adopting and scaling AgileEnterprises are adopting the framework at a remarkable rate that shows that companies want to get the benefits of a structured framework included in the Lean/Agile BoK of SAFe.  The lack of qualified professionals also remains one of the common challenges with insufficient leadership participation (46 percent) at number 2 and lack of experience or skills with Agile methods (41 percent) at number 6.  The report also shows that culture is at the primary target of change as it affects the thinking and working of the organization. Agile organizations slowly adopting DevOps DevOps practices are a strong partner to agile methodologies, and 69 percent of survey respondents stated that DevOps transformation was either important or very important to their organization. But adoption of DevOps practices lags its important with only 55 percent employing continuous integrations and 41 percent continuous delivery. Only 36 percent practice continuous deployment. The top two benefits targeted are accelerated delivery speed (70 percent) and improved quality (62 percent). But respondents are tackling quality first with 67 percent implementing unit testing and 58 percent coding standards, even higher engineering practices over the 55 percent on continuous integration.  More than half of the respondents reported that their organization was already implementing Value Stream Management (VSM) or have plans to do so. VSM is a combination of people, technology, and processes that maps, measures, optimized, visualized, and governs the business value flow using a heterogeneous enterprise delivery pipeline.  Each level of automation requires investment and additional work to prove its robustness. There are seven prerequisites before improving release frequencies, and that requires investment in aspects of these seven DevOps practices. Even so, there are questions DevOps teams should answer before increasing deployment frequency. Summary of key insights Currently, the Agile approach is predominantly implemented in the software or information technology sector. The benefits an organization can reap once Agile is implemented in other areas as well would be tremendous. Here is a quick summary of key insights from the report: Cost reduction is not anymore one of the primary reasons to adopt the Agile approach. Identifying technical risk before deployment is considered very valuable by 34 percent of the respondents, which was 22 percent last year. Greater Agile maturity is correlated to the time of practicing Agile. The length of time since Agile adoption is also related to the increased ability to manage the changing priorities and improved time market. Organizations that have practiced Agile for more than 5 years have a greater percentage of DevOps initiatives and interest in Value Stream Management.  Companies with 20,000 or more people are more likely to have been using Agile for 5 or more years. Companies with less than 1,000 people correlated to a higher percentage of all their teams implementing the Agile approach.  More than half of the respondents stated their companies are either implementing VSM or have plans to do so.  Risk and compliance increased by 54 percent to be the top value to identify and measure technical risk before the deployment begins. SAFe is the most popular scaling method, increasing 5 percent over the last year. There was a shift in Agile techniques as release planning decreased by 11 percent while product road-mapping increased by 9 percent. This change can be attributed to the increase in CI/CD and better program increment planning. Currently, Agile is mainly confined to software development, operations, and the IT sector. However, it is expected that by next year, the organization will expand agility into areas beyond developing, deploying, and maintaining software solutions. The COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a health emergency worldwide. Leaders across industries are moving promptly to protect employees and build resilience, as the impact of the crisis continues to mount. In mid-May 2020, Digital.ai conducted a brief supplemental survey of respondents to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their Agile adoption. Supplemental findings reveal that: 55 percent say their company plans to increase the use of Agile in the next 12-14 months. This is an increase of 13 percent over the original survey completed just five months ago. 43 percent of organizations say their momentum for Agile adoption has increased over the past 90 days, with 15 percent saying it has increased significantly. 33 percent say they increased or expanded Agile adoption in the last 90 days to help manage distributed teams. In summary, forecasters continue to predict how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, but it seems inevitable that many organizations will be working remotely for the foreseeable future.Implemented correctly, an agile approach can help remote teams function effectively and build resilience for the future.  Following the pandemic, working from home more frequently (perhaps 2-3 days per week) may become an accepted norm for many companies, as this could realize cost efficiencies and prove that an agile, remote working model is productive.

Key Insights from the 2020 State of Agile Report

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Key Insights from the 2020 State of Agile Report



How are agile businesses changing in 2020?  Digital.aithe creator of the industry’s first intelligent Value Stream, recently published its 14th Annual State of Agile Report, along with a survey addendum to reflect the current 2020 landscape. The report took a look into the enterprise, what Agile techniques companies are implementing, their benefits, and what’s trending. 

The report provides the most comprehensive data in the world to benchmark your Agile practice and plan your next wave of expansion. The survey documents the experiences of more than 1,100 business and IT professionals across a range of industries and roles worldwide.  

About 40,000 Agile practitioners, consultants, and executives have shared their insights to make this the longest-running and largest report of its kind. For the first time, it revealed insights beyond the general results by filtering the results along the demographic lines. The analysis indicates a correlation between the time practicing Agile, the ability to manage the changing priorities, and improved time to market.  

In this article, we give you the complete lowdown on the state of Agile in 2020 including the COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile. 

Agile in numbers 

Let us explore the top responsesto the survey in numbers. Respondents answered their top reasons for implementing Agile techniques, which techniquesand methodologies they employ the most, what tools they recommend most, and the top benefits of using Agile. 

Top five reasons for adopting Agile

Top five reasons for adopting AgileTop Five Reasons For Adopting Agile

Respondents were asked why their teams adopted Agile methodologies and techniques. These were the most responded benefits:

  • Accelerate software delivery (71 percent) 
  • Enhance the ability to manage changing priorities (63 percent) 
  • Increased productivity (51 percent) 
  • Improve business/IT alignment (47 percent) 
  • Enhance software quality (42 percent)  

This year, the reasons for implementing Agile were more about reducing project risks as opposed to reducing project costs.

Top five Agile techniques employed

These are the five most used tactics that help teams adhere to the twelve principles of Agile.

Top five Agile techniques employedTop Five Agile Techniques EmployedThe Daily Standup was the most common Agile technique used in organizations. The most notable changes from last year was a decrease in Release Planning (51 percent this year as opposed to 57 percent last year) and an increase in Product Road Mapping (49 percent this year as opposed to 45 percent last year). 

Top five benefits of adopting AgileTop five benefits of adopting Agile Top five benefits of adopting Agile

We see that the top five benefits of adopting Agile are built around speed and adaptability. Project Cost Reduction was last on the list with only 26 percent of the respondents considering it to be the benefit of Agile implementation. 

Top five Agile methodologies Top five Agile methodologies  Top five Agile methodologiesThe survey shows that Scrum and its variants are the most common methodologies used for Agile implementation. 3 percent of the respondents didn’t have any idea of the methodology used by their organization.  

Top five Agile project management toolsTop recommended project management toolsTop recommended project management toolsRespondents were asked if they would recommend the tools on the basis of their experience. Atlassian JIRA and VersionOne were the most recommended tools. 

Five critical takeaways from the 2020 State of Agile Report 

Many organizations still learning to adopt Agilepercentage of teams using Agilepercentage of teams using AgileThe survey showed that only 18 percent of the organizations implemented Agile for all the teams. 77 percent of the organizations had still not implemented Agile in all the company’s teams. With 5 percent of the organizations yet to adopt Agile, there is clearly plenty of area for growth. 

Agile maturityAgile maturityWhile 95 percent of organizations have some form of agile process in place, practice maturity and adoption remain a work in progress. Around 50 percent of respondents report that less than half of their teams are using agile, and 84 percent acknowledge that their organizations are below a high level of competencies.  

Areas other than software development yet to take advantage of Agile

Areas of organization practicing AgileAreas of organization practicing AgileAgile practices are not limited to software organizations. The survey data showed that while Software Development continues to be the major area for Agile adoption, other areas like IT and Operations have also started adopting the methodology. Other areas in the organization are yet to take advantage of everything the Agile approach has to offer. 

More business outcome KPIs, fewer metrics 

As per the respondents, accelerated delivery speed is the most critical measure of the success of Agile initiatives. Next is improved quality, followed by reduced risk and increased customer satisfaction. Reduced IT costs is low on the spectrum with just 39 percent considering it as important for measuring success.  

How success is measured in Agile transformations

Agile success and metricsAgile success and metricsWhen asked how organizations measure success of Agile transformations, the top measures of success were consistent with those reported over the last few years. Outcomes, customer satisfaction and business value, ranked higher than outputs like on-time delivery and productivity. 

The survey results for this section remain consistent over the past few years. There might be some ups and downs. But overall, Customer Satisfaction and Business Value are at a higher rank than productivity and on-time delivery. 

How success is measured in individual Agile projects

How success is measured in individual Agile projectsHow Sucess is Measured in individual Agile projectAs with Agile transformations, business value delivered, and customer or user satisfaction remained the top two cited measures of success within for individual projects.  

Scaling Agile faces culture challenges

Methods and approaches of scaling AgileMethods and approaches of scaling AgileAbout one-third of respondents are applying the Scaled Agile Framework, roughly another third are using other scaling frameworks, and another third stated they didn't know/other. There appear to be several common challenges scaling agile as over 40 percent of respondents cited six different challenges/barriers with adopting and scaling agile practices. These included: resistance to change, lack of leadership participation, inconsistent processes, misaligned organization versus agile values, inadequate management support, and insufficient training.    

Challenges experienced when adopting and scaling AgileChallenges experienced when adopting and scaling AgileEnterprises are adopting the framework at a remarkable rate that shows that companies want to get the benefits of a structured framework included in the Lean/Agile BoK of SAFe.  

The lack of qualified professionals also remains one of the common challenges with insufficient leadership participation (46 percent) at number 2 and lack of experience or skills with Agile methods (41 percent) at number 6.  

The report also shows that culture is at the primary target of change as it affects the thinking and working of the organization. 

Agile organizations slowly adopting DevOps 

DevOps practices are a strong partner to agile methodologies, and 69 percent of survey respondents stated that DevOps transformation was either important or very important to their organization. But adoption of DevOps practices lags its important with only 55 percent employing continuous integrations and 41 percent continuous delivery. Only 36 percent practice continuous deployment. 

The top two benefits targeted are accelerated delivery speed (70 percent) and improved quality (62 percent). But respondents are tackling quality first with 67 percent implementing unit testing and 58 percent coding standards, even higher engineering practices over the 55 percent on continuous integration.  

More than half of the respondents reported that their organization was already implementing Value Stream Management (VSM) or have plans to do so. VSM is a combination of people, technology, and processes that maps, measures, optimized, visualized, and governs the business value flow using a heterogeneous enterprise delivery pipeline.  

Each level of automation requires investment and additional work to prove its robustness. There are seven prerequisites before improving release frequencies, and that requires investment in aspects of these seven DevOps practices. Even so, there are questions DevOps teams should answer before increasing deployment frequency. 

Summary of key insights 

Currently, the Agile approach is predominantly implemented in the software or information technology sector. The benefits an organization can reap once Agile is implemented in other areas as well would be tremendous. 

Here is a quick summary of key insights from the report: 

  • Cost reduction is not anymore one of the primary reasons to adopt the Agile approach. 
  • Identifying technical risk before deployment is considered very valuable by 34 percent of the respondents, which was 22 percent last year. 
  • Greater Agile maturity is correlated to the time of practicing Agile. The length of time since Agile adoption is also related to the increased ability to manage the changing priorities and improved time market. Organizations that have practiced Agile for more than 5 years have a greater percentage of DevOps initiatives and interest in Value Stream Management.  
  • Companies with 20,000 or more people are more likely to have been using Agile for 5 or more years. Companies with less than 1,000 people correlated to a higher percentage of all their teams implementing the Agile approach.  
  • More than half of the respondents stated their companies are either implementing VSM or have plans to do so.  
  • Risk and compliance increased by 54 percent to be the top value to identify and measure technical risk before the deployment begins. 
  • SAFe is the most popular scaling method, increasing 5 percent over the last year. 
  • There was a shift in Agile techniques as release planning decreased by 11 percent while product road-mapping increased by 9 percent. This change can be attributed to the increase in CI/CD and better program increment planning. 
  • Currently, Agile is mainly confined to software development, operations, and the IT sector. However, it is expected that by next year, the organization will expand agility into areas beyond developing, deploying, and maintaining software solutions. 

The COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile 

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a health emergency worldwide. Leaders across industries are moving promptly to protect employees and build resilience, as the impact of the crisis continues to mount. 

In mid-May 2020, Digital.ai conducted a brief supplemental survey of respondents to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their Agile adoption. Supplemental findings reveal that: 

  • 55 percent say their company plans to increase the use of Agile in the next 12-14 months. This is an increase of 13 percent over the original survey completed just five months ago. 
  • 43 percent of organizations say their momentum for Agile adoption has increased over the past 90 days, with 15 percent saying it has increased significantly. 
  • 33 percent say they increased or expanded Agile adoption in the last 90 days to help manage distributed teams. 

In summary, forecasters continue to predict how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, but it seems inevitable that many organizations will be working remotely for the foreseeable future.Implemented correctly, an agile approach can help remote teams function effectively and build resilience for the future.  

Following the pandemic, working from home more frequently (perhaps 2-3 days per week) may become an accepted norm for many companies, as this could realize cost efficiencies and prove that an agile, remote working model is productive.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

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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A Brief Guide to the Agile Frameworks List

What does it mean to ‘be agile’? We all want to be agile and nimble. Or in other words a state where we can change quickly, and adapt to the conditions in our environment. The same applies to organizations, where the ability to be agile can spell the difference between success and failure. So, what exactly does “being agile” mean? According to the Agile Manifesto—the holy bible for agile software development, being agile implies a mindset, where we value: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan Values manifest themselves through the way we think and act in various scenarios. We design and implement certain activities with the mindset and associated values as the guiding light. Let’s say someone wishes to be healthy. In this context, being health conscious and the desire to be healthy is the mindset. What do you need to be healthy? Maybe sleep on time, exercise, have a balanced diet, meditate and more such activities. These are “practices” which align with the mindset.What is a framework?Different people may choose a different set of practices with varying degrees of commitment e.g. It may be ok for me if I sleep on time 6 days a week while someone may be ok with good sleep for just 4 days of the week; with varying order Again, I may prefer to exercise at 5 AM followed by a healthy breakfast while someone may prefer to exercise in the evening. Different routines, different activities, different ways of performing these activities-each one has something different that works for an individual. Now, imagine that I have tried the following way of staying healthy – Eating  3 meals a day with no fats along with 3 portions of fruit, cardio exercises for 30 minutes everyday, ensuring a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per day and 30 minutes of meditation in the evening. Also, I completely avoid eating out except on festivals and I give up on taking the elevator completely.Let’s say this has worked wonders for me. Now I share this successful template with others. What have I done? I have effectively created a framework. It is a set of activities, done in a specific way and order which might be helpful for others.Agile FrameworksIt is not very different when it comes to agility. We saw the agile mindset and values a little earlier. There are different ways of implementing the values and principles associated with the agile mindset.  Each of these “ways” has its own set of practices, patterns and personas and are classified as agile frameworks. Some of the most popular agile frameworks are Scrum, Scaled Agile Framework®, Nexus, Large Scale Scrum(LeSS). Now the question is which framework is the best? This is similar to asking which is the best way of being healthy? If the focus is on the mindset and values, one would easily figure out that there is no one or “best” way. Each individual is different and a different “way” of staying healthy may work for each individual. The guiding principles may still be the same- they would be some combination of eating well, getting good sleep, work-life balance, exercise and a relaxed mind.So, what are your options? Let’s start with Scrum, which is the most popular agile framework. Scrum is a simple framework which is very well suited for small teams which are trying to develop a new product or improve an existing product. Scrum is based on the principle of building incrementally with fast feedback loops, typically every 2 weeks- a period generally referred to as a sprint.There are three roles-Product Owner, who represents the customer to the team and hence helps them prioritize “user stories” or slices of value that the team intends to create. 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A Brief Guide to the Agile Frameworks List

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Why you should consider a SAFe Agile certification

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When multiple teams are involved across all the layers namely – Team, Portfolio, Program, etc., a scaled agile framework binds everyone together to serve the highest common purpose.As per Scaled Agile,Inc, “Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) empowers complex organizations to achieve the benefits of Lean-Agile software and systems development at scale.”. Coming back to our topic of the day, let's catch up on some reasons to get SAFe certified: Mastering the Challenges – SAFE certification helps to understand the challenges of large organizations. A SAFe training helps to understand the entire organization and its end-to-end flow. By understanding the various value streams, one can easily master the blockages and help the organizations move forward in the journey with the client. It helps in learning different aspects of an organization and gaining in-depth understanding of processes. Earlier, a person just knew the people he or she was interacting with, but with SAFe, they can now have insight at all layers both in terms of delivery and roles and responsibilities. Worldwide Recognized Accreditation - Scaled agile certification has a globally recognized value, and is something that each IT organization in every country understands and treats as a niche skill. With a SAFe certification in hand, you can look out for your dream job in your dream country/organization. This certification is accepted worldwide and is much in demand. Scaled Agile credentials are among the most sought-after certifications with more and more organizations adopting SAFe. To meet the market needs and stay on top of the market, Scaled Agile constantly upgrades their content, making it more robust and adaptable.  Big money pockets - As scaling Agile is considered a niche skill in the industry, Scaled Agilists are paid rewarding salaries. If you are SAFe certified, you can expect a good hike in your new job or a good hike in the next appraisal. The credential also enhances your profile and makes it market-ready, increasing your employability. The market statistics show that SAFe certified professionals are paid at least 25% above their non-certified peers.  You can begin your journey with SAFe with the ‘SAFe Agilist’ certification, which is a foundational certification.  Increase in SAFe Adoption at Organization Level - With an upward trend of organizations adopting agile,  job descriptions have started including SAFe as one of the parameters that employers are looking out for. This certification makes you ready for the opportunity and the organizations’ expectations. In the current scenario, the numbers of SAFe certified professionals are low, which gives you an extra edge over others. With this certification, you can not only grow in your area intellectually but also can increase your visibility across industries. All about Growth Mindset – Lean-Agile principles in scaled framework focus on the growth mindset, which is different from the traditional way of working. Every individual wants to work in an environment that helps them grow, and SAFe organizations help them to expand their horizons. Working in a SAFe setup helps you to get aligned with bigger goals and gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills. You can get to see a 360-degree change in the way organizations work and deliver, after implementing SAFe.  Better Time-To-Market - Planned release cycles with shorter timelines reduce time to market and enhance customer satisfaction.  There is cutting-edge competition in the market, and as a SAFe certified professional, you will be much in demand for your capabilities of supporting the business to realize their objectives. The training and certification prepare you for the challenging task upfront, providing you with tools and processes, concepts of agile release train and value streams, etc, that can help you get aligned with the organizational needs. Lean-Agile Leadership- Lean and agile principles are very finely embedded in the SAFe framework which incorporates beliefs, standards, and processes that form the foundation of any organization at scale. With this certification, you can learn in detail about each parameter, each pillar, or each basic principle of scaling Agile. You will learn that SAFe is not just about delivery, coding, or the pipelines but it is also about its people - the individuals, and the teams who work relentlessly to achieve on-time releases. This is one of the reasons why SAFe is so popular. Makes your profile shine - Adding a SAFe certification to your profile is like adding a feather in your cap which sets you apart from the crowd. It adds a lot of weight to your resume and is much in demand across the globe. SAFe certification empowers you with an in-depth understanding of terminology and processes, and you get to know various aspects of working in a scaled agile organization which will not be possible without a certification. This is one of the reasons why employers actively seek people who already have SAFe certifications, rather than getting someone in house or someone without a SAFe credential. With the certification, your profile automatically gets selected for discussions at the initial stage itself, as you will be fulfilling their primary needs. Sets the Growth Path – With an understanding of the complete end to end defined framework, you can very easily look for growth options. Be it moving into the program or the portfolio layer depending on your skills and your expertise. it gives you a break from working in a monotonous manner, and helps you to communicate with various layers and get to know the big picture. The certification authenticates your capability to work across varied project management tools and methods. Continuous Delivery Pipeline- SAFe training and certification empowers you with the knowledge required to create a continuous delivery pipeline. You can learn how to incorporate DevOps tools, and get an understanding of various other tools and practices required to handle continuous delivery. It will not just help you with SAFe, but you can get exposure to the new market trends in terms of tools and processes.These were just a few of the benefits you can accrue with this certification. With more organizations adopting the Scaled Agile Framework, the opportunities are only bound to increase. And trust me, this is the best time to opt for a SAFe certification.  Looking at the job descriptions we usually see nowadays, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that in the time to come, this certification will become one of the mandates for any organization looking to scale Agile. If you still have any queries, please drop in a comment! We wish you good luck in your SAFe career!  
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Why you should consider a SAFe Agile certification

The comparative analysis published in the 14th sta... Read More

Scaled Agile Framework: Understand Safe and Its Core Values

According to the Agile Alliance, Agile is the “ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment. Ultimately, Agile is a mindset informed by the Agile Manifesto’s values and principles.” We can think of it as a way of getting work done.However, Agile was initially developed for small teams. As Agile – or its most popular variant Scrum - grew to the enterprise, companies began to adopt Scrum of Scrums which is a technique to scale Scrum consisting of dividing the groups into Agile teams of 5-10 people.But over time, more formalized methods of scaling Agile began to develop. In 2011, Scaled Agile Framework, Inc. was co-founded by entrepreneur and software development methodologist Dean Leffingwell. Starting at its first release in 2011, five major versions have been released, the latest edition, version 5.0, being released in January 2020. According to SA Inc., no major releases are planned as of this writing.This article will attempt to explain what the Scaled Agile Framework is, why it is important and what its core values are.What Is the Scaled Agile Framework®?  SAFe® for Lean Enterprises is a knowledge base of proven, integrated principles, practices, and competencies for achieving business agility using Lean, Agile, and DevOps.We’ve discussed Agile above. According to the Lean Enterprise Institute, a lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide value to the customer through a value creation process that has zero waste.*And DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It aims to shorten the systems development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality. Image sourceSAFe® FoundationThe SAFe® Foundation refers to the supporting principles, values, mindset, implementation guidance, and leadership roles needed to deliver value successfully at scale.  What is the Importance of Scaled Agile Framework®?It allows organizations to scale Agile to the enterprise and enables Business Agility. Business Agility is the ability to compete and thrive in the digital age by quickly responding to market changes and emerging opportunities with innovative, digitally enabled business solutions. Key terms in SAFe® The first is Value Stream. Value Streams represent the series of steps that an organization uses to implement Solutions that provide a continuous flow of value to a customer. They can be measured using Key Performance Indicators. The next term is the Agile Release Train (ART). The ART is a long-lived team of Agile teams, which, along with other stakeholders, incrementally develops, delivers, and where applicable operates, one or more solutions in a value stream. A Program Increment (PI) is a timebox during which an Agile Release Train (ART) delivers incremental value in the form of working, tested software and systems. PIs are typically 8 – 12 weeks long. The most common pattern for a PI is four development Iterations, followed by one Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration. Lastly is Program Increment Planning (PI). It is a cadence-based, face-to-face event that serves as the heartbeat of the Agile Release Train (ART), aligning all the teams on the ART to a shared mission and vision. Typically, this is a two-day event bringing together all the Agile teams. Note that that there are four possible SAFe® configurations depending on the increasing complexity of the environment.  SAFe® configurationsEssential SAFe®- contains the minimal set of roles, events, and artifacts required to continuously deliver business solutions via an Agile Release Train (ART) as a Team of Agile Teams. It is the simplest starting point for implementation. Large Solution SAFe® - for developing the largest and most complex solutions that typically require multiple Agile release trains and suppliers but not necessarily portfolio considerations. Portfolio SAFe® - helps align portfolio execution to enterprise strategy by organizing Agile development around the flow of value, through one or more value streams.  Full SAFe® - supports enterprises that build and maintain large integrated solutions which require hundreds of people or more. Multiple instances of various SAFe® configurations may be required.  The SAFe® Core ValuesThere are four core values of SAFe®. They are alignment, built-in quality, transparency, and program execution. It is crucial to understand these.Alignment Scaled Agile uses the example of a car not functioning correctly if it is misaligned. Alignment occurs when everyone is working toward a common direction. It enables empowerment, autonomy, and decentralized decision-making, allowing those who implement value to make better local decisions. Alignment starts with the strategy and investment decisions at the Portfolio level which in turn inform the vision, roadmap, and backlogs. Built-in Quality  Ensures that every element and every increment of the solution reflects quality standards throughout the development lifecycle. Quality is not added later, it is built-in or planned in. (This is a tenet of modern quality thinking, not just SAFe®.) SAFe® Built-in Quality organizes quality thinking around five specific aspects—Flow, Architecture and Design Quality, Code Quality, System Quality and Release Quality. Transparency Transparency – along with inspection and adaptation – is one of the three pillars of Agile. It means that an organization provides open access to the unbiased information and adaptation.  It inspects its work and adjusts it based on empirical evidence. Stakeholders have visibility into the program backlogs, and they have a clear understanding of the PI Objectives for each Agile Release Train. ARTs also have visibility into the team’s backlogs, as well as other Program Backlogs.Program Execution SAFe® places an intense focus on working systems and business outcomes. With alignment, transparency, and built-in quality on the team’s side, the teams can focus on execution.Key areas of competencyAs of this writing, the current version of SAFe® is 5.0. It is comprised of seven areas of competency, all under the heading of Business AgilityEnterprise Solution Delivery Describes how to apply Lean-Agile principles and practices to the specification, development, deployment, operation, and evolution of the world’s largest and most sophisticated software applications, networks, and cyber-physical systems. Large enterprise-wide systems require the full understanding of the system from requirements analysis to deployment.Agile Product Delivery A customer-centric approach to defining, building, and releasing a continuous flow of valuable products and services to customers and users. The key here is customer-centricity. The organization must have the ability to understand the customer’s needs and release on demand.Team and Technical Agility The Team and Technical Agility competency describes the critical skills and Lean-Agile principles and practices that high-performing Agile teams and Teams of Agile teams use to create high-quality solutions for their customers. Lean-Agile Leadership The Lean-Agile Leadership competency describes how Lean-Agile Leaders drive and sustain organizational change and operational excellence by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential. Leaders must lead by example, lead change, and embrace the Lean-Agile mindset. Continuous Learning Culture The Continuous Learning Culture competency describes a set of values and practices that encourage individuals—and the enterprise as a whole—to continually increase knowledge, competence, performance, and innovation. This is achieved by becoming a learning organization, committing to relentless improvement, and promoting a culture of innovation.Organizational Agility The Organizational Agility competency describes how Lean-thinking people and Agile teams optimize their business processes, evolve strategy with clear and decisive new commitments, and quickly adapt the organization as needed to capitalize on new opportunities. Key to this is the ‘dual operating system.’ This is not a computer model but a business model, leveraging the traditional management hierarchy with a Lean/Agile leadership approach.Image SourceLean Portfolio Management The Lean Portfolio Management competency aligns strategy and execution by applying Lean and systems thinking approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and governance.Achieving the Core Values of SAFe® Achieving Alignment   Alignment can be achieved by providing the relevant briefings and participating in PI planning, helping with backlog visibility and value stream organization and coordination. Also, by communicating the mission, vision, and strategy at every opportunity.  Achieving Transparency Transparency can be achieved by openness and visualizing all relevant work, taking ownership for errors, and supporting others who acknowledge and learn from their mistakes. Achieving Built-in Quality Built-in quality is achieved by refusing to accept or ship low-quality work, by supporting investments in capacity planning and by ensuring that architecture, operations, security, and compliance are part of the flow of work.  Achieving Program Execution Program execution is achieved by participating as an active business owner in PI execution, celebrating high quality and predictably delivered program increments and by aggressively removing impediments.ConclusionBusiness Agility is the ability to compete and thrive in the digital age by quickly responding to market changes and emerging opportunities with innovative, digitally enabled business solutions In today’s world, organizations must be customer-centric and must adopt a Lean-Agile mindset to provide continuous integration and continuous delivery. The Scaled Agile Framework establishes a way not only of doing so, but also the flexibility of scaling up to whatever level of adoption (basic to full, complex solution) is required.Lean waste types are Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Unused Talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, and Extra Processing. 
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Scaled Agile Framework: Understand Safe and Its Co...

According to the Agile Alliance, Agile is the “a... Read More