In a digital era defined by constant transformation and rapid response to changing customer needs, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) emerges as a transformative tool for businesses. SAFe is a robust body of knowledge, consisting of organisational workflows and processes that facilitate the implementation of agile practices on an enterprise scale. This insightful guide will shed light on SAFe’s structure, core values, principles, and potential impact on your organisation.
Values and Principles Paving the Path to SAFe Implementation
For an effective implementation of SAFe, it’s crucial to foster a culture that reflects its core values:
Alignment: This involves synchronising planning and reflection processes across the organisation to ensure consistent understanding and pursuit of business objectives. In the SAFe structure, information flows bidirectionally, promoting a harmonious alignment rather than a rigid, top-down approach.
Built-in Quality: Quality should never be compromised for agility. SAFe insists on defining “done” for every task or project, incorporating quality development practices into each working agreement.
Transparency: By planning work in smaller batches, issues can be addressed earlier, and backlog progress can be tracked in real-time, fostering a culture of trust and continuous improvement.
Program Execution: As the heartbeat of SAFe, successful program execution enables the delivery of regular, high-quality software, and business value.
Leadership: The commitment of lean-agile leadership is instrumental in changing the system and fostering an environment that embodies these core values.
The principles underpinning SAFe serve to inspire agile decision making across the entire organisation, facilitating a shift from the traditional waterfall model to agile thinking. These principles include taking an economic view, applying systems thinking, preserving options amidst variability, building incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles, basing milestones on the objective evaluation of working systems, visualising and limiting Work in Progress (WIP), reducing batch sizes, managing queue lengths, applying cadence, synchronising with cross-domain planning, unlocking the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers, and decentralising decision making.
Setting Sail with SAFe
Ready to embark on the SAFe journey? SAFe offers a 12-step implementation roadmap, including:
- Reaching the Tipping Point
- Training Lean-Agile Change Agents
- Training Executives, Managers, and Leaders
- Creating a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence
- Identifying Value Streams and Agile Release Trains (ARTs)
- Creating the Implementation Plan
- Preparing for ART Launch
- Training Teams and Launching the ART
- Coaching the ART Execution
- Launching More ARTs and Value Streams
- Extending to the Portfolio
- Sustaining and Improving
Choosing the Right Agile Framework
SAFe is not the only player in the arena of scaled agile frameworks. Numerous other frameworks are inspired by the 12 Agile Manifesto principles and emphasise cadence, synchronisation, Scrum, and quality development practices. Your choice of framework should align with your organisational needs and culture. At Better Change, we are committed to guiding you on this journey, ensuring the most appropriate and impactful agile framework for your enterprise.