The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe® 5.0) released at the beginning of the year goes beyond IT agility and addresses business agility, the key for organisations who want to thrive. The dual operating system concept of leveraging the power networks (team of agile teams) for flexibility and power of structures for stability and seven core competencies based on strong leadership provide a good framework for success. But the challenges to achieving organisational agility remain. Scaled Agile Framework provides a solution for organisations to achieve business agility but the challenges to effective adoption of SAFe or any other framework remain.
Last year the annual State of Agile report identified Scaled Agile Framework as the leading framework for scaling agility in organisations (more than 30% respondents voting for SAFe).
Stop, Don't Go For It.
With the ever-increasing interest by many organisations to implement SAFe it is imperative for organisations to have a well-defined need for the change with an engaged and committed leadership team who acts and behaves aligned with Lean-Agile principles communicating the need for the change and exhibiting the Lean-Agile principles with their actions.
Gain the knowledge to make an informed choice - Identify the need for change; attend the Leading SAFe course and build your guiding coalition of others who will help you carry out your first experiment and see how a team of agile teams working with aligned objectives with synchronised cadence delivers the benefits that you desired. Study the result of this experiment and act on the findings.
Anti-patterns we see - The need for change is not known or is vague. The typical expressions from most people come across as “We want to implement SAFe but our management is still traditional, can you come and help us?”, “ I’m planning to go and try implementing in my team, what do you think?”, or “ We are already doing Agile, I mean Scrum in most of our projects and we want to change to SAFe”.
Before you go ahead with your plans please STOP. Note that the bad implementation of SAFe may be worse than your status quo. The organisations should first do an assessment of their current state and answer the following questions.
- Why do we want to change?
- What are the business results that we want to change? Are these aligned with our business objectives?
- Are we ready to commit to identify and support our first team of agile teams (Agile Release Train)?
- Do we (leadership team) have the bandwidth to participate and to make this happen?
- Do we have the budget for its implementation?
- Go SAFe
SAFe 5.0 is a proven scaling framework that delivers business results and like any change, it needs commitment, engagement, leadership and informed choice.
As a first step, the transition team can start with gaining knowledge by attending Leading SAFe training, familiarise yourself with the SAFe implementation roadmap, create a coalition of change agents and spend time in understanding the framework. In fact, that will help you in making more objective decisions. There are also many elements within the SAFe framework that can be used at the individual and team level. Finally, and crucially engage a partner like Value Glide who will accelerate your transformation.
Read the what is new in SAFe 5.0
Scale Agile Framework®, SAFe® are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.
About the Author
Raghavendra (Raghav) Mithare is a speaker, writer, consultant, trainer and a professional coach. One of the Value Glide trainers and coaches. He is authorized to conduct training on Agile Methods, SAFe and VeriSM.