Leading SAFe Program (SA) at ISB Hyderabad, a two-day training program for change agents in an organization:
At the outset, let’s talk about Agile: To be competitive in today’s fast moving marketplace, Organizations need to drive innovation in every part of their business. As a result, more and more companies are embracing Agile Development as a viable Development Methodology – that delivers Customer Value Faster.
When Agile methods were first conceptualized, the premise was to have Cross functional teams of sizes 5–9 people self–organize and work with the Product Owner to deliver software in an iterative and incremental fashion, in the order of Highest Business Value Items.
Agile became quite popular, very quickly because of the following reasons :
a) Faster Time to market b) High Quality
c) Higher Productivity and
d) Better employee engagement and morale
e) Ability to accept change in Customer/Market requirements throughout the Project lifecycle.
However, Agile Methods were designed for small Teams over a decade ago, and its implementations worked very effectively for small teams. So how can we scale Agile to work for Large Software Development Release Teams, and have Integrated Practices? The answer is Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe® , in short. This has the additional Roles, Practices and additional aspects of a ‘System’ covered. Leveraging the SAFe framework increases the chances of Success, for Large Software Development teams (say 50–125 People per Program or Dozens of Scrum teams) to Lead and deliver successful Software releases.
In the past few years, there has been a sharp increase in the Adoption of Agile in Organizations. The reason for this is Top Management’s buy–in, who is convinced with the Value it delivers and hence is sponsoring/Leading Agile Transformation initiatives. After all, the key result areas for management are to measure ROI and improvements. To achieve this, they will choose a solution option that best fits to their business model, products and assists to shorten the Time–to–market their Products, and beat competition.
Here are some additional insights into SAFe® :
What is SAFe ?
1. Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe is a Template for Scaling Agile Principles and
Tools to Large Organizations.
a. See pictures below to draw parallels between the ‘Agile’ and ‘Scaled Agile’
2. SAFe is a Framework that covers the entire Organization.
3. It Operates at 3 Levels : Portfolio Management, Program and Team
What typical Agile Implementation challenges does SAFe help an Organization to Overcome?
1. Introduces a regular rhythm to the entire Organization that fosters collaboration and alignment in pursuing the common business goals. This includes everyone from Development Teams, to CXOs, including support functions.
2. The emphasis on Release Planning provides visibility into what is envisioned, beyond just 1 or 2 Iterations. This is an excellent exercise for envisioning and Team building.
3. Onboard and empower ‘Product Owners’ for individual teams, rather than deferring all decisions about new Epics/Stories/Bugs to Product management
4. Program Boards prescribed in SAFe help identify, visualize and manage dependencies across teams and hence bridge any gaps at integration points.
5. Repurposing Managers to play Lean/Agile Leaders who can steer Programs that can help meet the Organization’s Strategic goals. (Lean emphasizes that it is
‘work’ that needs to be managed and not ‘people’)
What are some of the Organizations that have adopted SAFe and have had measurable increase in ROI in their Programs/Releases?
Cisco, Ca Technologies, InfoGain, GE, John Dere, BmcSoftware, Telstra, Saber, UHG, etc
There are many SAFe case studies freely available here
Who is the certifying body, for Scaled Agile ?
Scaled Agile Academy. http://www.scaledagileacademy.com/
What are some of the most popular courses(and certifications) in SAFe ?
Complete list of SAFe courses available are listed here
About the Author:
• Krishna Joshi has over 15 Years of global IT Experience, working in the US, UK, Europe, APAC and India. Has over 8 Years of Experience working with Agile Teams as a Coach.
• An experienced business and IT professional, focused on Agile adoption for teams, Agile transformation for organizations, and business process re-engineering.
• Management consulting experience, coupled with a practical background in programming, business and systems analysis, facilitating business and technology alignment and communication.
• A successful Agile Coach/Trainer with the experience of training over 300 people on Agile Methodologies and coaching many Agile Teams to become Self-Organizing and High performing Teams.
• Played multiple Leadership Consulting roles over the past decade, as a Senior Manager-Software Engineering, Agile Transformation Coach, Program/Portfolio Manager for Delivery, Pre-Sales
Manager, Test Manager, Business Transition Manager, Business Analyst, etc – providing best combination of Client IT Delivery experience and Project Methodology, Extreme Programming (XP) Engineering Practices.
• Led many large initiatives and helped assist organizations in influencing their mind-set change to agility and value creation. Teach and coach teams in delivering products that delight their customers, enabling business results, and in creating a joyful workplace where people love to work.
• Has the following certifications to his credit: SAFe SPC, CSM, CSPO, PMP, ITIL v3