What is Scaled Agile Framework?
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) began as a method for managing and coordinating large-scale software development projects, but is now being used across hardware, infrastructure, business, HR, sales and marketing organizations as well. It is based on the principles of agile software development, which emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement. The goal of SAFe is to help organizations deliver value faster, with less risk and greater efficiency.
SAFe is designed to be scalable, meaning it can be applied to projects of any size, from small teams working on a single product to large organizations with multiple teams working on multiple products. It is also designed to be flexible, allowing organizations to tailor their approach to fit their specific needs and goals.
The core elements of SAFe include:
Lean-Agile Principles and Values
SAFe is based on the principles and values of lean thinking and agile software development. These include a focus on delivering value to customers, maximizing efficiency and collaboration, and continuously improving processes and products.
Lean-Agile Portfolio Management
SAFe includes a framework for managing the portfolio of products and initiatives at the organizational level. This involves prioritizing projects and initiatives based on their potential value, and aligning them with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives.
SAFe emphasizes the importance of leadership at all levels of the organization, from the executive team to individual teams and team members. This involves fostering a culture of collaboration, continuous improvement, and transparency.
SAFe provides a framework for coordinating and managing the delivery of software across multiple teams. This involves defining clear roles and responsibilities, establishing and maintaining effective communication channels, and using agile practices such as Scrum and Kanban to manage and track progress.
The Scaled Agile Framework is a comprehensive approach to managing and coordinating large-scale software development projects. It is based on the principles of lean thinking and agile software development, and is designed to help organizations deliver high-quality solutions faster, with less risk and greater efficiency.
The difference between Agile and Scaled Agile
Agile and Scaled Agile are two different approaches to software development. While they share many characteristics, they are not the same.
Agile is a software development process that focuses on flexibility and collaboration. It emphasizes short iterations and frequent feedback to ensure that teams are working on the right features and that progress is being made. Agile is often implemented on smaller teams and projects, where the scope and complexity are manageable.
Scaled Agile, on the other hand, is a framework for managing complex software projects. It takes a holistic, enterprise-wide view of software development, and encourages collaboration and coordination between teams. It allows teams to work together on a project, while still allowing them to work on their own pieces independently. It also allows for different levels of abstraction, so teams can work on different aspects of a project without interfering with each other.
The main difference between Agile and Scaled Agile is in how the processes are implemented. Agile focuses on flexibility and collaboration, while Scaled Agile is designed to manage complex projects with multiple teams.
Agile is great for smaller teams and simpler projects, while Scaled Agile is better suited for larger, more complex projects. Agile is also better for teams that want to move quickly and iterate frequently, while Scaled Agile is better for teams that need to plan out their work in advance and coordinate efforts between different teams.
Ultimately, the decision of which approach to use should depend on the size and complexity of the project, the timeline, and the skills and resources available. Both Agile and Scaled Agile offer advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to the team to decide which approach will best suit their needs.
What principles of Lean are leveraged in SAFe?
Lean is a philosophy and set of principles that is focused on maximizing value and minimizing waste in organizational processes. Lean has had a significant impact on scaled agile, as many of the principles and practices of Lean are aligned with the core values and principles of agile. Some of the key fundamentals of Lean that have impacted scaled agile include:
The focus on value
Lean emphasizes the importance of focusing on value, both for the customer and for the organization. In agile, this is reflected in the emphasis on delivering value to the customer through iterative and incremental development, and on prioritizing work based on value rather than on traditional measures such as scope or schedule.
The elimination of waste
Lean seeks to eliminate waste in all forms, including overproduction, waiting, transportation, overprocessing, defects, and non-utilized talent. In agile, this is reflected in the emphasis on reducing waste through practices such as continuous improvement, collaboration, and flexibility.
The importance of flow
Lean emphasizes the importance of creating flow in organizational processes, so that value can be delivered to the customer as efficiently and effectively as possible. In agile, this is reflected in the emphasis on achieving flow through practices such as iterative and incremental development, and on using flow metrics such as lead time and cycle time to monitor and improve performance.
The fundamentals of Lean have had a significant impact on scaled agile, as many of the principles and practices of Lean are aligned with the core values and principles of agile. By incorporating the principles of Lean into their scaled agile approach, organizations can improve their value delivery, reduce waste, and achieve greater flow in their product development processes.
What Size Organization should be using the Scaled Agile Framework instead of basic Agile?
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a framework for implementing Agile practices at the enterprise level. It is designed to help organizations with complex, large-scale projects better manage the inherent challenges of such projects, including coordination across multiple teams, aligning business and IT objectives, and ensuring consistent delivery of value.
There is no specific size or scale that determines whether a project is “large” enough to justify the use of SAFe. Ultimately, the decision to use SAFe or another Agile framework should be based on the specific needs and challenges of your organization. If you are unsure whether SAFe is right for your project, you may want to consult with a certified SAFe Agilist or other experienced Agile practitioner who can help you assess your project and recommend the best approach.
Top 5 Considerations for an Enterprise Approach to Agile Adoption
An enterprise approach to agile adoption involves adopting agile practices and principles across an entire organization, rather than just at the team level. Adopting agile at the enterprise level can provide many benefits, including increased flexibility, faster time to market, and improved customer satisfaction. However, it can also be a complex and challenging process, and it requires careful planning and execution.
Here are some key components that should be included in an enterprise approach to agile adoption:
1. Executive sponsorship
Senior leadership should be fully committed to agile adoption and should provide the necessary resources and support to ensure its success.
2. Culture change
Agile requires a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and transparency. Organizations should work to create a culture that supports these values.
3. Organizational structure
Agile requires a flatter, more flexible organizational structure that is better suited to rapid change. Organizations may need to reorganize to support agile.
Agile requires a different approach to governance, with a focus on decentralized decision-making and rapid feedback. Organizations should establish governance processes that support these principles.
5. Training and coaching
Agile requires a different mindset and set of skills, and employees will need training and coaching to understand and adopt agile practices.
An enterprise approach to agile adoption requires a comprehensive and coordinated effort to adopt agile practices and principles across the organization. It requires strong leadership, a culture of continuous improvement, a flexible organizational structure, effective governance processes, and training and coaching to support the transition.
How to have a more effective Scaled Agile transformation “Executive Sponsor”
In today’s competitive business landscape, organizations need to be agile in order to remain competitive. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is one of the most popular frameworks for scaling agility across large organizations. As an executive sponsor of a SAFe transformation, it is critical to understand the role and responsibilities of the position in order to ensure a successful transformation.
The executive sponsor is the most senior executive in the organization responsible for leading the transformation. They must provide clear direction and set the tone for the project. They are responsible for setting the vision, objectives and timeline for the SAFe transformation, and providing resources and support. They are also responsible for driving the change and engaging stakeholders throughout the transformation process.
The executive sponsor should have a deep understanding of the SAFe framework and be able to clearly articulate the vision and objectives to the organization. They should also have the ability to identify and address blockers, drive change, and engage stakeholders.
The executive sponsor should be able to motivate the teams. They should also be able to bring together different stakeholders and build consensus around the transformation. They should be able to handle disagreements and conflicting views in a constructive way. They should also be able to use data and evidence to make decisions and demonstrate the value of the transformation.
In conclusion, being an effective SAFe transformation executive sponsor requires strong leadership, strategic vision, and excellent communication and collaboration skills. The executive sponsor should be able to provide clear direction, set the tone for the transformation, engage stakeholders, and motivate the team to keep the project on track. With these skills, the executive sponsor can ensure a successful transformation and maximize the potential of the organization.
Why is coaching essential when adopting the Scaled Agile Framework?
When adopting the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), coaches can play a valuable role in helping organizations implement the framework successfully. SAFe coaches are experienced Agile practitioners who have been trained and certified in the SAFe methodology. They can provide guidance and support to organizations as they adopt SAFe, including helping teams and individuals understand and apply the principles and practices of the framework.
SAFe coaches can also provide training and education on SAFe, including helping teams understand how to apply the framework in their specific context. In addition, they can provide support and advice on how to overcome common challenges and obstacles that organizations may face when implementing SAFe, such as aligning business and IT objectives, coordinating across multiple teams, and ensuring consistent delivery of value. Expert SAFe coaches have experienced many obstacles, anti-patterns and industries and their vast experience will help you overcome any challenges quickly.
Coaches can play a critical role in helping organizations successfully adopt SAFe and achieve the benefits of the framework, such as improved collaboration, increased agility, and faster delivery of value.
Agile Transformation Readiness: What you can expect
An enterprise agile transformation assessment is an evaluation of an organization’s readiness to adopt agile principles and practices at an enterprise level. The purpose of an enterprise agile transformation assessment is to identify the current state of the organization’s agile adoption and to identify areas for improvement.
Some key areas that might be included in an enterprise agile transformation assessment include:
An assessment of the organization’s current level of agile maturity, including the extent to which agile principles and practices are being applied across the organization.
Culture and mindset
An evaluation of the organization’s culture and mindset, including how well it aligns with agile values and principles.
Governance and leadership
An assessment of the organization’s governance and leadership structures, including how well they support agile practices and decision-making.
Processes and practices
A review of the organization’s processes and practices, including how well they align with agile principles and how well they support the delivery of high-quality products and services.
Tools and technologies
An evaluation of the organization’s tools and technologies, including how well they support agile practices and the delivery of working software.
An assessment of the organization’s structure and how well it supports agile practices, including the role of agile teams and the level of cross-functional collaboration.
Training and education
A review of the organization’s training and education programs, including how well they support agile adoption and the development of agile skills.
By conducting an enterprise agile transformation assessment, organizations can identify their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to agile adoption and develop a plan for improvement.
What are SAFe Fellows and SPCTs?
SAFe Fellow is a professional certification offered by Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI), which is a leading provider of frameworks and tools for scaling agile development. SAFe Fellow is the highest level of certification within the SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) ecosystem, and it is designed for experienced professionals who have a deep understanding of the framework and how to apply it in complex enterprise environments. ICON Agility Services has 2 SAFe Fellows who have made large contributions to the framework.
SAFe Practitioner (SPCT) is another professional certification offered by SAI. It is a high-level certification reserved for professionals who are responsible for leading and implementing SAFe for their clients. SAFe Practitioners have a strong understanding of the principles and practices of SAFe, and are able to apply them in a variety of contexts. SAFe SPCTs are qualified to help their clients with any challenges and have the full support of experts at SAI.
Both SAFe Fellow and SPCT certifications require candidates to be nominated, complete extensive training, verify practitioner experience that takes years to complete in addition to passing the final certification exam.
What certification will grow my career as an agile coach?
The SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) certification is a highly coveted certification within the agile community because it demonstrates a deep understanding of the SAFe® framework and the skills and expertise needed to effectively implement and coach others in the use of SAFe.
Here are a few reasons why the SPC certification is highly coveted:
Demand for SAFe professionals
SAFe is a widely-used framework for scaling agile principles and practices to the enterprise level, and there is a growing demand for professionals who are trained and certified in SAFe. The SPC certification demonstrates that an individual has the knowledge and skills to effectively implement and coach others in the use of SAFe.
Recognition of expertise
The SPC certification is recognized as a mark of expertise within the agile community, and is often seen as a sign of an individual’s commitment to continuous learning and professional development.
Career advancement opportunities
The SPC certification can open up career advancement opportunities for individuals, as it demonstrates their expertise in SAFe and their ability to effectively implement and coach others in the use of SAFe.
Demonstration of value
The SPC certification can help individuals demonstrate their value to their organization and to potential employers by showing their knowledge and skills in SAFe.
The SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) certification is highly coveted because it demonstrates a deep understanding of the SAFe® framework and the skills and expertise needed to effectively implement and coach others in the use of SAFe. It is recognized as a mark of expertise within the agile community, and can open up career advancement opportunities and help individuals demonstrate their value to their organization and to potential employers.
Ensure your trainers have hands-on coaching experience
It is important to ensure that your trainers have adequate agile coaching experience for a few key reasons:
Agile coaching requires a deep understanding of agile principles and practices, as well as experience working with agile teams and organizations. Trainers who have adequate agile coaching experience will have the knowledge and expertise to effectively teach and guide others in their agile journey.
Agile coaching involves working with real teams and organizations, and trainers who have adequate experience will have a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that arise in this context. This real-world experience can be valuable in helping trainers understand and address the needs of their students.
Trainers who have adequate agile coaching experience will have credibility with their students, as they will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise through their own experience. This credibility can be important in building trust and credibility with students, which is key to effective learning.
Ensuring that your trainers have adequate agile coaching experience is important for their expertise, real-world experience, and credibility, all of which can be valuable in helping them effectively teach and guide others in their agile journey.
Why Staff Aug type vendors continuously fail at supporting their customers’ agile transformation
There are several reasons why some staff augmentation vendors may fail their customers when it comes to agile transformation:
Lack of understanding or expertise
Some staff augmentation vendors may not have a deep understanding or decades of experience with agile principles and practices, which can lead to misunderstandings and misalignment with the customer’s goals and expectations.
Lack of commitment
Agile transformation requires a significant commitment of time and resources from both the vendor and the customer. If the vendor is not fully committed to the transformation process, it is likely to fail.
Lack of communication and collaboration
Agile transformation requires close collaboration between the vendor and the customer. If there is a lack of communication or a lack of transparency, it can hinder the success of the transformation.
Lack of adaptability
Agile transformation involves continuously adapting and adjusting to changing circumstances. If the vendor is not flexible and adaptable, it may be difficult to successfully implement agile practices.
How do I know if my organization needs more than Essential SAFe?
Deciding whether to implement Essential SAFe, the most basic version of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), or a more advanced version of the framework can be a challenging decision for organizations. In this blog, we will explore some of the key factors to consider when deciding whether your organization needs more than Essential SAFe.
First and foremost, it is important to understand what Essential SAFe is and how it differs from other versions of the framework. Essential SAFe is the most basic version of SAFe, designed for organizations with relatively simple, straightforward projects and relatively small teams. It provides a basic set of Agile principles and practices that can be applied at the team level, including Lean-Agile values and principles, Agile planning and estimation, and continuous integration and delivery.
If your organization has more complex projects and larger teams, however, you may need a more advanced version of SAFe. For example, if your organization has multiple teams working on the same project, or if your teams are distributed across different locations, you may need a version of SAFe that is better suited to coordinating and aligning the work of multiple teams. In this case, you may want to consider implementing the Large Solution SAFe or Portfolio SAFe framework, which provide additional guidance and support for coordinating the work of multiple teams.
Another key factor to consider when deciding whether your organization needs more than Essential SAFe is your organization’s level of maturity with Agile practices. If your teams are new to Agile and are just starting to adopt Agile principles and practices, Essential SAFe may be sufficient to get you started. However, if your teams are more experienced with Agile and are looking to take their Agile implementation to the next level, you may need a more advanced version of SAFe that provides additional guidance and support for advanced Agile practices, such as Lean-Agile leadership, Lean portfolio management, and value stream mapping.
Ultimately, the decision to implement Essential SAFe or a more advanced version of the framework will depend on the specific needs and challenges of your organization. If you are unsure which version of SAFe is right for your organization, you may want to consult with a certified SAFe Agilist or other experienced Agile practitioner who can help you assess your organization’s needs and recommend the best approach.
What is the Portfolio Level in SAFe?
In the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), the portfolio level refers to the highest level of the organization, where strategic decisions are made about the direction and priorities of the business. At the portfolio level, leaders are responsible for aligning the work of all teams and departments with the overall goals and objectives of the organization.
At the portfolio level, leaders use a variety of tools and practices to manage and coordinate the work of teams across the organization. This may include developing and maintaining a portfolio backlog, which is a prioritized list of initiatives and projects that are aligned with the strategic goals of the organization.
Leaders at the portfolio level also use tools and practices such as value stream mapping, portfolio kanban, and strategic roadmapping to understand and manage the flow of value through the organization. They also use agile governance practices to ensure that teams are working together effectively and efficiently, and that the overall organization is aligned with its goals and objectives.
The portfolio level in SAFe is the highest level of the organization, and is responsible for managing and coordinating the work of all teams and departments in order to achieve the strategic goals of the organization.
Essentials of understanding Value Streams
Value streams are an essential part of understanding how organizations create value and how they can improve their performance. A value stream is a set of activities, processes, and resources that together produce a product or service. They are often used to map out the flow of work and materials required to produce that product or service. By understanding and optimizing value streams, organizations can improve their efficiency, reduce waste, and increase customer satisfaction.
The first step in understanding value streams is to identify them. This means understanding where the inputs, processes, and outputs are located within your organization. Once these are identified, it’s important to analyze them in order to determine where improvements can be made. This can be done by looking at the flow of materials and resources, the timing and sequence of processes, and the quality of the outputs.
Once the value streams are identified and analyzed, organizations can begin to optimize them. This may involve changing the processes and activities within the value stream, or introducing new technologies to improve efficiency. It’s also important to ensure that the value streams are aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives.
Finally, organizations should measure the impact of their value streams. This can be done by looking at the performance of the processes, the quality of the outputs, and the satisfaction of customers. This will help organizations identify areas for improvement and ensure that their value streams are delivering the desired results.
There are different kinds of value streams like “operational” and “development” and an experienced SAFe coach can help you identify them. Value streams should be managed and monitored regularly. By understanding and optimizing value streams, organizations can improve their performance and increase customer satisfaction.
Getting away from funding “projects”
One of the main drawbacks of traditional project funding is that it is often allocated upfront, based on a fixed set of requirements. This can make it difficult to adjust to changes in the project scope or business priorities, which can lead to overspending or underfunding. Additionally, the allocation of funds based on fixed requirements can create a lack of transparency and accountability, as it is often difficult to track how the funds are being used and whether they are being used effectively.
In some cases, traditional project funding can also create incentives for project managers to focus on meeting specific funding targets, rather than on delivering value to the business or meeting the needs of end users. This can lead to the development of suboptimal solutions and can result in increased costs and delays. Therefore, some organizations are looking for alternative approaches to project funding that can provide greater flexibility and accountability.
One of the key ways in which scaled agile can change the way we fund projects is by providing a more transparent and flexible approach to project funding. The scaled agile framework uses a more iterative and incremental approach to project development, where funding is allocated in smaller increments, based on the completion of specific milestones. This can provide greater flexibility to adjust to changes in the project and can also help to reduce the risk of overspending or underfunding. Additionally, the use of agile principles can help to improve collaboration and communication within the development team, which can lead to more successful and cost-effective project outcomes. Participatory budgeting, a practice that is part of Lean Portfolio Management (LPM), is becoming increasingly popular. The general concept is that on a quarterly cadence which precedes the timing of PI planning events, leaders come together to agree on investment allocations with a realistic understanding of the fixed capacity they are working within. This requires many negotiations about priorities, but in the end both executives and the teams have a very clear understanding of the priorities for the upcoming PI planning events.
5 key components to building a successful LACE
In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, organizations are turning to Lean Agile Centers of Excellence (LACE) to create more efficient, effective, and agile work environments. A Lean Agile Center of Excellence (LACE) is a centralized organization within an enterprise that is responsible for driving Agile and Lean practices, processes, and principles across the entire organization. As such, LACEs are essential for any organization looking to stay competitive in the ever-changing digital markets. But what are the key components to building a successful LACE?
Here are five essential elements to consider when setting up your Lean Agile Center of Excellence:
A LACE must have strong executive-level support and sponsorship in order to be successful. This means that top management should be actively involved in the creation and implementation of the LACE, and should regularly review the progress of the LACE and its impact on the organization.
2. Vision and Mission
A successful LACE must have a clear vision and mission. This should be communicated to all stakeholders within the organization and should focus on the organization’s goals and objectives.
A successful LACE should have a well-defined structure that includes a clear hierarchy of roles and responsibilities. This should also include a process for decision-making and reporting, as well as clear lines of communication.
4. Processes and Practices
A successful LACE should have well-defined processes and practices that are aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives. This includes the development of a Lean and Agile transformation roadmap and the implementation of Agile methodologies and tools.
A successful LACE should have a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration. This should be supported by a culture of trust and transparency, and should include the adoption of an Agile mindset throughout the organization.
By effectively utilizing these five key components, organizations can ensure that their Lean Agile Centers of Excellence are successful and provide the greatest value to the organization. With strong executive support, a clear mission and vision, a well-defined structure, well-defined processes and practices, and a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration, organizations can create an environment in which Lean and Agile methods can thrive.
What is a hub-and-spoke LACE model?
The hub-and-spoke LACE (Lean-Agile Center of Excellence) model is a framework for implementing and scaling Agile practices across an organization. It is based on the idea of creating a central hub, or center of excellence, for Agile practices within an organization, and connecting this hub to various “spokes,” or teams, that apply Agile practices in their specific contexts.
The hub-and-spoke LACE model has several key components:
The Agile Center of Excellence (CoE) is the central hub of the model, responsible for providing guidance, support, and training to teams on Agile practices. The CoE may consist of a dedicated team of Agile coaches and practitioners who are responsible for implementing and promoting Agile practices within the organization.
The Agile Teams are the “spokes” of the model, responsible for applying Agile practices in their specific contexts. These teams may be cross-functional, self-organized, and empowered to make decisions and take ownership of their work.
The Agile Practices are the specific techniques and methods that teams use to apply Agile principles in their work. These practices may include techniques such as iterative development, continuous delivery, and feedback-driven improvement.
The Agile Governance is the set of principles and processes that the organization uses to support and guide Agile teams. This may include practices such as Lean-Agile leadership, Lean portfolio management, and value stream mapping.
The hub-and-spoke LACE model provides a structured framework for implementing and scaling Agile practices across an organization. By creating a central hub for Agile expertise and connecting this hub to teams that apply Agile practices in their specific contexts, the model helps organizations ensure that Agile practices are applied consistently and effectively across the organization.
6 secrets to making the lean-agile mindset and principles stick
In recent years, the Lean-Agile mindset and principles have become increasingly popular in the business world. Companies of all sizes have begun to embrace these principles, as they offer a better way to work and have been proven to increase efficiency and profitability. However, it can be difficult for teams to make the transition to this new way of thinking and working.
Here are 6 secrets to making the Lean-Agile mindset and principles stick:
1. Start from the top.
If the top management of your company isn’t on-board with the Lean-Agile mindset and principles, then it is unlikely that the rest of the organization will embrace it. Make sure that management is fully behind the changes and that they understand the importance of the transition.
2. Take small steps.
Don’t try to overhaul your entire organization overnight. Focus on small changes that can be implemented quickly and easily. This will help to build momentum and encourage further change.
3. Create a culture of continuous improvement.
Make sure that everyone in the organization is focused on continuous improvement. This will ensure that the mindset and principles are kept alive and that the team is always looking for ways to improve.
4. Embrace feedback.
Feedback from employees and customers is invaluable. Make sure to create an environment where feedback is welcomed and acted upon.
5. Focus on value.
The Lean-Agile mindset and principles are all about delivering value to the customer. Make sure that your team is focused on delivering the highest quality product or service in the shortest amount of time.
6. Have fun.
Working with the Lean-Agile mindset and principles doesn’t have to be a chore. Make sure that everyone on the team is having fun and enjoying the journey. This will help to ensure that the transition is successful and that the team remains motivated.
By following these 6 secrets, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful Lean-Agile organization. Good luck!
“Systems Thinking” explained
Systems thinking is a way of understanding and analyzing complex systems and their interactions. It is based on the idea that the behavior of a system cannot be understood by looking at its individual components in isolation, but must be considered as a whole.
In a scaled agile environment, systems thinking can be used to understand the relationships and dependencies between different teams and the work they are doing. By looking at the broader system in which teams are operating, leaders can better understand the impact of changes and decisions on the overall organization, and can make more informed decisions about how to align teams and their work with the overall goals and objectives of the organization.
Systems thinking can also be used to understand the flow of work through an organization, and to identify bottlenecks and other obstacles that may be hindering the flow of value to customers. By using systems thinking to analyze the flow of work, leaders can identify opportunities for improvement and can put in place processes and practices that support the efficient and effective delivery of value.
Systems thinking is an important part of the scaled agile mindset, and can help leaders understand and manage the complex systems and interactions that are inherent in a scaled agile environment. By using systems thinking to analyze and understand the broader system in which teams are operating, leaders can make more informed and effective decisions that support the delivery of value to customers.
6 essential ways of measuring and improving “flow”
Flow is a state of being in which an individual experiences a sense of productivity, focus, and engagement with the task at hand. It can be experienced in both work and leisure activities and can lead to increased productivity, creativity, and satisfaction. However, it is not always easy to achieve or maintain this state of flow, and it may be necessary to use certain techniques to measure and improve it.
Here are 6 essential ways of measuring and improving flow:
1. Keep Track of Your Time
One of the most effective ways of measuring flow is to keep track of the amount of time you spend on tasks. By understanding how long it takes to complete certain tasks, you can identify patterns and adjust your approach accordingly.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Setting clear, achievable goals can help you stay focused on your task and ensure that you remain in a state of flow. When setting goals, make sure to set realistic expectations so that you don’t become overwhelmed or discouraged.
3. Eliminate Distractions
It can be difficult to remain in a state of flow when there are constant distractions. To improve flow, try to eliminate or minimize the number of distractions that you encounter during your work or leisure activities.
4. Take Breaks
Taking regular breaks can help you stay in a state of flow by giving your mind and body a chance to rest. Taking breaks also allows you to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and identify any areas where you need to improve.
5. Track Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress can help you stay motivated and continue to experience a state of flow. Tracking your progress can also help you identify any areas where you need to improve.
6. Get Feedback
Getting feedback from others can be a great way to measure and improve your flow. Receiving feedback from peers, mentors, and supervisors can help you identify areas where you are doing well and areas where you need to work on.
By using these 6 essential ways of measuring and improving flow, you can become more productive, creative, and satisfied with your work or leisure activities. Remember to be patient and consistent with your efforts, as it may take some time for you to master the techniques. Good luck!
8 key metrics to capture during a scaled-agile transformation
Organizations that are looking to transform their operations with the help of agile methodologies often struggle to know how to measure the success of their transformation. That’s why it’s essential to identify the right metrics and capture them during the transformation.
Here are eight key metrics you should be tracking during a scaled-agile transformation.
1. Quality of Product
Quality should be a top priority for any agile transformation. Quality can be measured in terms of the number of defects per release, user satisfaction, and the number of features delivered.
2. Time to Market
The time it takes from concept to product launch is an important metric to track. It’s important to ensure that your agile transformation is helping to reduce the time to market and to identify any areas where processes can be improved to reduce the time further.
3. Speed of Delivery
Speed of delivery is an important factor for successful agile transformations. This metric measures the time it takes for a team to complete a feature or deliver a product.
4. Cost Savings
Cost savings can be measured in terms of the money saved in the development process, such as the cost of overtime, travel, and other expenses.
Productivity measures the output of a team in terms of the number of features delivered. This metric can be used to assess the effectiveness of the agile transformation.
6. Team Morale
Team morale is an important metric to measure during the transformation. It can be measured in terms of employee satisfaction and the number of points scored on surveys.
Motivation is an important factor for a successful transformation. It can be measured in terms of employee engagement and the amount of time that team members spend on tasks.
8. Process Improvement
Process improvement is an important metric to measure during any transformation. It can be measured in terms of the number of process improvements that are implemented and the impact they have on the organization.
By tracking these eight key metrics throughout the transformation, organizations can gain valuable insight into the success of their transformation and identify areas where they can improve.
How organizations can be enabled to be self-sufficient to continue their agile journey for the long-term
1. Establish an Agile Center of Excellence
This will be a team responsible for building and maintaining an agile infrastructure within the organization. A Lean Agile Center of Excellence (LACE) should be comprised of experienced agile practitioners and should have the ability to scale as the organization grows. The CoE should be responsible for developing and maintaining standards, training, and best practices for agile teams.
2. Foster a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Organizations should strive to create a culture that values learning and continuous improvement. Encourage teams to experiment, learn from failures and successes, and share knowledge.
3. Create an Agile Roadmap
It is important to have a plan for the future of the organization’s agile journey. An agile roadmap should be created to help chart the path for the organization’s journey, including goals, timelines, and milestones.
4. Invest in Technology
Technology is an essential part of any agile transformation. Invest in the right tools and systems to support agile teams and enable them to work efficiently and effectively.
5. Monitor Performance
Establishing KPIs and tracking progress against them is essential to ensure continued success and course-correct as needed.
6. Encourage Collaboration
Agile teams should always be encouraged to collaborate and work together towards common goals. Foster a culture of collaboration and provide easy access to tools and resources to facilitate this.
5 Tips to budgeting for your SAFe Transformation
SAFe transformations can be a complex and costly undertaking, and budgeting for them is important for success. To ensure a successful transformation, it’s important to understand the scope of the transformation and its associated costs.
Here are some tips for budgeting for your SAFe transformation.
1. Define the scope<
Before you can set a budget for a SAFe transformation, you need to define the scope of the transformation. This includes understanding the size of the organization involved, the timeline, and the desired outcome. This will help you determine the resources, tools, and services required to be successful.
2. Estimate the cost
Once you understand the scope, you can begin to estimate the cost of the transformation. This includes the cost of tools, resources, and services required to achieve the desired outcome. It’s important to be realistic when setting a budget, as it’s often easy to underestimate the cost.
3. Consider the timeline
The timeline is also an important factor in determining the budget. Agile transformations typically take 6-18 months to become stable and sustainable.
4. Assess the risks
As with any endeavor, risk is always a factor when budgeting for a SAFe transformation. Make sure to assess the risks and factor in the potential costs of mitigating those risks.
5. Plan for contingencies
Finally, it’s important to plan for contingencies. This includes having a budget for unexpected costs that may arise.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your SAFe transformation is properly budgeted for success. With a clear understanding of the scope, timeline, and associated costs, you can ensure that your transformation is successful and cost-effective. Consider contacting an expert SAFe coach that can very quickly help you conduct a light-weight planning assessment as well as building a realistic transformation plan.
7 ways to overcome the obstacles of adopting SAFe
The best way to overcome obstacles of adopting the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is to approach the adoption process in a systematic and disciplined manner. This typically involves the following:
Identify the key stakeholders and decision makers who need to be involved in the adoption process, and make sure that they are on board with the decision to adopt SAFe.
Create a clear and compelling vision for how SAFe will benefit the organization, and communicate this vision to all stakeholders in a way that resonates with their needs and concerns.
Develop a detailed plan for implementing SAFe, including a timeline, a budget, and a list of specific tasks and activities that need to be completed.
Identify any potential obstacles or challenges that may arise during the adoption process, and develop strategies for addressing and overcoming these challenges.
Provide training and support to help individuals and teams adopt SAFe and become proficient in using its principles and practices.
Monitor progress closely, and make adjustments to the implementation plan as needed to ensure that the adoption of SAFe remains on track.
Integrate experienced SAFe coaches into your team to quickly identify and correct any gaps in skills and efficiently guide teams and organizations through the process of implementing SAFe, providing expertise and support to ensure that the framework is properly applied and that the desired outcomes are achieved.
The key to overcoming obstacles to adopting SAFe is to approach the process with a sense of purpose, commitment, and collaboration, and to be willing to adapt and adjust as needed to ensure success.
The 6 most common scaled-agile transformation failures to avoid
Scaled-agile frameworks are becoming increasingly popular as organizations strive to become more agile. However, it is not enough to simply adopt a framework; it takes careful planning, execution and monitoring to ensure a successful scaled-agile transformation.
To help guide your journey, here are six of the most common scaled-agile transformation failures to avoid:
1. Poor Communication
It is essential for the stakeholders of a scaled-agile transformation to be on the same page and that requires effective communication. If the objectives, roles, and responsibilities are not clearly articulated from the start, it can lead to confusion and misunderstandings down the line.
2. Lack of Visibility
Without visibility into the progress of the transformation, it’s easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the end goal. Ensure that the entire organization has access to real-time data and insights into the transformation journey.
3. No Plan for Change
A scaled-agile transformation will require change in the organization’s processes, culture, and technology. Without a plan in place that clearly outlines how these changes will be made, it can be difficult to successfully implement the transformation.
4. Involving the Wrong People
It is important to involve the right people in the transformation process. Empowering the right stakeholders, such as team leads and product owners, can ensure that the transformation is successful.
5. Setting Unrealistic Goals
It’s important to set realistic and achievable goals for the transformation. If the goals are too ambitious, it can lead to frustration and demotivation.
6. Not Monitoring Progress
After the transformation is underway, it is important to monitor and measure the progress of the transformation to ensure that the objectives are being met. Without this feedback loop in place, it can be difficult to identify areas of improvement or areas where additional resources are needed.
Scaled-agile transformations can be complex and challenging, but by avoiding these common pitfalls, you can ensure that your organization achieves the desired results. With careful planning, communication, and monitoring, you can ensure that your scaled-agile transformation is a success.
What does “predictability” mean?
In agile, predictability refers to the ability to accurately forecast how long an initiative will take to complete, and how much it will cost. In agile methodologies, predictability is achieved through the use of iterative development, where teams break down the objectives into small, manageable chunks, known as sprints. This allows teams to get regular feedback on their progress and make any necessary adjustments to keep the project on track.
Predictability is important in agile because it helps teams to plan and manage their work more effectively, and to ensure that they are delivering value to their customers on a regular basis. It also helps to build trust and transparency within the team, as well as with stakeholders, by providing clear and accurate information about the progress of the project.
Predictability is a key aspect of agile because it helps teams to deliver high-quality products and services in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Should we align team cadence?
In a scaled agile environment, it is important for teams to align their cadence, or the rhythm and pace at which they work, in order to ensure that they are working together effectively and efficiently. When teams have different cadences, it can lead to coordination problems and delays, as well as a lack of visibility into what other teams are working on.
Aligning cadence can help teams avoid these problems by ensuring that they are all working at the same pace and using the same processes and tools. This can improve communication and collaboration among teams, as well as provide greater visibility into the work that is being done across the organization.
In addition, aligning cadence can help teams stay on track and meet their goals and objectives. By working at the same pace and following the same processes, teams can more easily identify potential obstacles and address them before they become serious problems. This can help teams stay focused and make steady progress towards their goals.
Aligning cadence is an important part of scaling agile effectively, and can help teams work together more effectively and efficiently.
8 Characteristics of a Successful Agile Release Train
Agile Release Trains (ARTs) are a crucial element in making the most out of agile development. They are the mechanism by which teams plan, build, and deploy large-scale projects. To be successful, ARTs need to have certain characteristics that enable them to effectively bring features and products to market.
Here are 8 key things a successful Agile Release Train should be:
1. Cross-Functional Team
An ART should be a cross-functional team that includes all the necessary skills for developing and delivering the product. This ensures that the team can work together efficiently and get the product out the door quickly.
2. Scalable Process
An ART should have a scalable process that can easily accommodate changes in scope and other requirements that may arise during the development process.
3. Agile Planning
An ART should use agile planning techniques to ensure that the project is delivered on time and within budget.
4. Continuous Integration
An ART should have a continuous integration strategy in place to ensure that code is tested and integrated regularly.
5. Automated Testing
An ART should have automated testing in place to ensure that code is tested thoroughly before it’s released.
6. Continuous Delivery
An ART should have a continuous delivery process in place so that features can be delivered quickly and with minimal disruption.
7. Collaborative Environment
An ART should foster a collaborative environment where team members can work together to solve problems and deliver features quickly.
8. Continuous Improvement
An ART should have a continuous improvement process in place to ensure that the team is consistently learning and growing.
These 8 characteristics are essential for a successful Agile Release Train. When teams focus on these characteristics, they can ensure that their projects are successful and that they are able to deliver features quickly and effectively.
Common things that go wrong at PI Planning Events
Program Increment (PI) Planning events are a key part of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and are designed to help teams align and coordinate their efforts. However, there are a few common things that can go wrong in PI planning events:
Lack of preparation
PI planning events can be complex and require a lot of preparation. If there is not a clear and prioritized backlog of objectives and work, the teams will have difficulty knowing what to focus on.
If teams have a lot of dependencies on work outside the ART that is not coordinated, it will be difficult for them to plan with confidence. In this case, the composition of the ART should be reconsidered.
Lack of engagement
PI planning events can be long and intensive, and it is important for all team members to be engaged and actively participating. If team members do not understand the value and expectations or they are expected to continue with other work during the event, there will be a failure to get to the desired outcomes.
PI planning events require skilled facilitation in order to be successful. If the Release Train Engineer (RTE) is not experienced or does not have the necessary skills, it can lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and a lack of progress.
There are many things that can go wrong in PI planning events if teams are not adequately prepared, aligned, engaged, and facilitated. By addressing these challenges, teams can ensure that their PI planning events are successful and help them to achieve their goals.
Contents that must be delivered during the Vision and Context at PI Planning
The vision and context is an important part of the SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) PI (Program Increment) planning event. It provides the team with a clear understanding of the overall direction of major programs and initiatives and helps to set the stage for the rest of the planning process.
Here are some things that should typically be included in the vision and context for a SAFe PI planning event:
The business context: information about the business goals, challenges, and opportunities that the project is intended to address.
The customer context: information about the needs and expectations of the customers who will be using the product or service being developed.
The technical context: information about the technology being used and any constraints or dependencies that may affect the project.
The program/initiative context: the project itself, such as the scope, schedule, and budget.
The vision and context should provide a clear and comprehensive overview of the program and its goals, and should help to set the stage for the rest of the planning process.
Reasons for setting PI Objectives
PI (Program Increment) objectives are goals that are set for a specific period of time, usually a few months, in an agile software development process. They are used to guide the development team’s work and provide a clear direction for the project. The teams set PI objectives to ensure that the team is focused on delivering value to the customer, and that the work being done aligns with the overall goals of the project.
There are several reasons why it is important to set PI objectives:
Provide clear vision for the PI
PI objectives help to define the overall direction the team will follow. This helps drive alignment with the Business Owners who will assign business value for each objective.
Focus the team’s efforts
By setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, the team can prioritize their work and stay on track.
PI objectives help to bring the team together and foster a sense of shared ownership and responsibility. They help other teams who may have dependencies to collaborate within the larger ART.
Confirm your dependencies with other teams at the PI Planning Event
There are a few ways that agile teams can confirm their dependencies with each other at PI (Program Increment) planning events:
Identify and document dependencies<
Teams can use tools such as dependency maps to document the dependencies between their work and the work of other teams. This can help to clarify the relationships between different pieces of work and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Communicate and coordinate with other teams
Teams can use PI planning events as an opportunity to communicate and coordinate with other teams to confirm their dependencies and ensure that everyone is aware of what needs to be done and when.
Identify and address potential risks
Teams can use PI planning events to identify potential risks that may impact their dependencies and work with other teams to address those risks.
Establish clear lines of communication
Teams can establish clear lines of communication with each other to ensure that they can stay informed about each other’s progress and any changes or updates that may impact their dependencies.
By identifying and documenting dependencies, communicating and coordinating with other teams, and establishing clear lines of communication, agile teams can confirm their dependencies with each other at PI planning events and ensure that their work is aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the project.
ROAM the Risks
Resolve, Own, Avoid, Mitigate (ROAM) is a risk management framework that is used in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). It represents four ways to negate business disasters by categorizing risks in order to determine how they should be managed.
Here’s what each of the four ROAM categories mean:
Risks that fall into this category are considered the most urgent and should be addressed as soon as possible. These risks have the potential to significantly impact the project or the business, and they should be resolved before the team can move forward.
Risks that fall into this category are considered important, but they do not have the same level of urgency as those in the “Resolve” category. These risks should be assigned to a specific person or team to manage and track.
Risks that fall into this category are those that can be avoided altogether. These risks can be managed by making changes to the project or the business in order to avoid them.
Risks that fall into this category are those that cannot be avoided, but they can be managed by implementing strategies to minimize their impact.
By using the ROAM framework, teams can effectively manage risks and ensure that they are proactively addressing potential issues before they become problems.
Leveraging Fist of 5 during Draft and Final Plan Reviews
The “fist of 5” is a technique used in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to facilitate group decision-making. It is a simple and effective way for teams to quickly and easily gauge the level of agreement or consensus among members.
To use the “fist of 5,” members of the team are asked to hold up a certain number of fingers to indicate their level of agreement with the PI plan in progress. We do this because we want the team to feel confident that they can commit to the objectives – if they have significant reservations, the team(s) should continue to adjust the plan until there is more confidence. The number of fingers held up can range from zero (no agreement) to five (strong agreement).
Here is an example of how the “fist of 5” might be used in a SAFe setting:
The team is engaging in the final plan review during the PI Planning event.
The team realizes that one of the inputs they need from another team will likely not be ready in time for them to complete their work according to their plan.
Each member of the team holds up a certain number of fingers to indicate their level of agreement with the proposal.
If most of the team members hold up at least three fingers, it indicates that there is strong agreement and the proposal can move forward.
But fewer than three fingers are held up and this indicated that there is not enough agreement and the proposal may needed to be revised. Product Management agreed to descope a feature so that the required timing of the dependency could be met. The plan was updated, fist of 5 was done again and all teams had a high level of confidence in their commitments.
In this way, the “fist of 5” can help teams to quickly and easily reach consensus on important decisions. It is a simple and effective tool for facilitating group decision-making in a SAFe environment. Always be careful to create a trusting environment where teams can score their confidence with a low number because the value of this technique is reduced if people feel pressured by their managers to respond with confidence they don’t really have.
What if the PI Plan is rejected at the Final Plan Review?
In the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), the Program Increment (PI) plan is a key component of the planning process. The PI plan outlines the goals and objectives for the upcoming PI, as well as the work that will be done to achieve those goals.
If the PI plan is not accepted, it means that it has not been approved by the relevant decision-making bodies within the organization. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as the plan not aligning with the overall strategy of the organization or not being deemed feasible or realistic.
If the PI plan is not accepted, it will need to be revised and resubmitted for approval. This can involve going back to the drawing board and reworking the plan to address any concerns or issues that were raised during the approval process.
It’s important to note that not having an accepted PI plan can have significant consequences for the organization. Without a clear plan in place, the team will not have a roadmap to follow and may struggle to make progress towards their goals. This can lead to delays and missed opportunities, which can have negative impacts on the organization.
It’s crucial to ensure that the PI plan is carefully crafted and well-aligned with the organization’s strategy and goals, in order to avoid the potential consequences of not having an accepted plan.
Most Frequent Misses at the PI Planning Event
PI (Program Increment) events are a key component of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and are used to plan and coordinate work across multiple agile teams. Here are a few things that are commonly forgotten at PI events:
It is important for teams to clearly articulate their commitments for the PI and to make sure that they have the resources and support they need to deliver on those commitments.
Risk identification and management
It is important for teams to identify and address potential risks during the PI planning process in order to mitigate any potential impacts on the project.
It is important for teams to engage with stakeholders and to make sure that their needs and expectations are being considered in the planning process.
It is important for teams to carefully consider their capacity and to make sure that they are not overcommitting themselves, as this can lead to burnout and decreased productivity.
PI events are an opportunity for teams to reflect on their progress and identify areas for improvement. It is important to make sure that these discussions are included in the PI planning process.
PI Planning Events can be stressful
PI (Program Increment) planning events can be stressful for a number of reasons:
PI planning events are a key component of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and are used to plan and coordinate work across multiple agile teams. As such, they can be high stakes and there may be a lot of pressure to make sure that the plans are accurate and realistic.
PI planning events are typically time-limited, which can create pressure to make sure that all necessary discussions and decisions are made within the allotted time frame.
PI planning events can be complex, as they involve coordinating the work of multiple teams and aligning it with the overall goals and objectives of the project. This complexity can create stress as teams try to understand and navigate the various dependencies and challenges involved.
PI planning events can be stressful because they involve a lot of interpersonal interactions and negotiations. This can be challenging if team members are not used to working together or if there are personality conflicts.
PI planning events can be stressful because they involve a lot of coordination, planning, and decision-making under time pressure. However, by preparing in advance and focusing on clear communication and collaboration, teams can help to mitigate some of this stress and ensure a successful PI planning event.
How can industry impact PI cadence?
The cadence for PIs (Program Increments) in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) can differ by industry depending on a number of factors. For example, the length of the PI may vary based on the specific needs and goals of the organization, as well as the complexity and type of work being done. In some industries, such as financial services or healthcare, the pace of change and the need for regulatory compliance may require shorter PIs, while in other industries, such as manufacturing or aerospace, longer PIs may be more suitable. Additionally, the frequency of PIs may differ based on the organization’s appetite for risk and the need for predictability in delivering value to customers. The cadence for PIs in SAFe should be tailored to the specific needs and goals of the organization and its industry.
5 Ways to get the most value out of your “Inspect and Adapt”
When it comes to agile development, one of the most important elements of success is the “Inspect and Adapt” retrospective. This is a key part of the Agile process and it involves the team reflecting on their past performance and making adjustments to improve future results. The “Inspect and Adapt” retrospective is a way for teams to reflect on their performance, identify areas of improvement, and make adjustments for the future. It’s a valuable tool for teams to become more efficient and successful in their projects. But, it can only be successful if the team takes the time to properly analyze what’s working, what isn’t, and create a plan of action for the future.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your “Inspect and Adapt” retrospective:
1. Set Clear Goals Before Beginning your Retrospective
It’s important to set clear goals for what you want to accomplish. This will help the team stay focused on the important topics and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s also important to make sure that the goals are measurable so that you can track progress.
2. Gather Data To get the most out of your Retrospective
It’s important to gather data before you start. This can include feedback from team members, customer surveys, analytics data, and more. Having this information will help you identify areas of improvement and create a plan of action.
3. Identify Areas for Improvement Once you have gathered the data
It’s time to identify areas for improvement. This is where the team should focus their discussion and debate. It’s important to be open-minded and consider all possible solutions, even if they seem counterintuitive.
4. Brainstorm Solutions Once the team has identified areas for improvement
It’s time to brainstorm solutions. This is where the team’s creativity and innovation can really shine. It’s important to consider all ideas, regardless of how crazy they may seem, as even the most outlandish ideas can sometimes lead to great results.
5. Create Action Plans Finally, the team should create action plans for each area of improvement.
This should include specific tasks and timelines for implementation. It’s important to have a plan in place so that everyone is on the same page and knows what needs to be done to move forward.
By following these steps, teams can get the most out of their “Inspect and Adapt” retrospectives. By setting clear goals, gathering data, identifying areas for improvement, brainstorming solutions, and creating action plans, teams can make sure that their retrospectives are successful and that they’re getting the most out of them.
Why you shouldn’t skip Inspect and Adapt
The inspect and adapt principles that are at the heart of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) are based on the scientific method, which is a process for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data in order to test hypotheses and draw conclusions.
The scientific method is a systematic and disciplined approach to problem-solving that is used in many fields, including science, engineering, and medicine. It involves a series of steps, including:
Identifying a problem or question
Formulating a hypothesis or tentative explanation
Collecting and analyzing data to test the hypothesis
Drawing conclusions based on the data
Continuing to test and refine the hypothesis as new data becomes available
The inspect and adapt principles in SAFe are based on this same approach to problem-solving. Teams are encouraged to regularly collect and analyze data about their work, and to use that data to test and refine their hypotheses about what will be most effective in achieving their goals. By applying the scientific method in this way, teams can make more informed and effective decisions about how to improve their processes and practices.
The inspect and adapt principles in SAFe are based on the scientific method, and provide teams with a disciplined and systematic approach to problem-solving and continuous improvement. By using this approach, teams can make more informed and effective decisions that support the delivery of value to customers. If teams skip the inspect and adapt process in SAFe, they may miss out on important opportunities for learning and improvement. The inspect and adapt process is designed to provide teams with regular feedback on their work, and to enable them to make adjustments and improvements based on that feedback.
By skipping the inspect and adapt process, teams may continue to work in ways that are not effective or efficient, and may miss out on valuable insights and opportunities for improvement. This can lead to delays, missed deadlines, and other problems that can hinder the team’s ability to deliver value to customers.
In addition, skipping the inspect and adapt process can also hinder the team’s ability to adapt to changing conditions and requirements. In a fast-paced and rapidly changing environment, it is essential for teams to be able to quickly and easily adjust their processes and practices in response to new information and changing needs. By skipping the inspect and adapt process, teams may be less agile and less able to respond to changing conditions.
Skipping the inspect and adapt process in SAFe can have negative consequences for teams and their ability to deliver value to customers. It is important for teams to regularly review and assess their work, and to make adjustments and improvements based on the feedback they receive.
The Fishbone Diagram: A valuable tool in I&A
A fishbone diagram, also known as a cause and effect diagram or Ishikawa diagram, is a tool used to identify and analyze the potential causes of a particular problem or issue. It is often used in the context of quality improvement and problem-solving.
Creating a Fishbone Diagram:
To create a fishbone diagram, the problem or issue is written at the head of the diagram, and the potential causes of the problem are written along the “bones” of the diagram. These causes can be grouped into broader categories, such as people, processes, equipment, materials, and environment.
Using a Fishbone Diagram:
Once the potential causes have been identified and organized, the fishbone diagram can be used to analyze the relationships between the different causes and the problem. This can help teams identify the root causes of the problem, and can also provide insight into the potential solutions that may be effective in addressing the problem.
Fishbone diagrams are often used in agile development as part of the inspect and adapt process. By regularly identifying and analyzing the potential causes of problems and challenges, teams can more effectively identify and implement solutions that will improve their processes and practices.
The fishbone diagram is a useful tool for identifying and analyzing the potential causes of a problem, and can be a valuable tool for teams looking to improve their processes and practices in an agile environment.
Incorporating the “5 Whys” into I&A
The 5 whys is a technique that is often used in the context of the inspect and adapt process in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). It is a simple and effective way of identifying the root causes of a problem or issue, and can help teams identify potential solutions that will be effective in addressing those root causes.
Using the 5 whys technique:
To use the 5 whys technique, teams start by identifying a specific problem or issue that they are trying to address. They then ask a series of “why” questions, each of which seeks to delve deeper into the underlying causes of the problem. This process is repeated until the root cause of the problem has been identified.
The 5 whys technique is useful in the inspect and adapt process in SAFe because it helps teams quickly and easily identify the root causes of problems and challenges, rather than focusing on the symptoms of the problem. By identifying the root causes of problems, teams can implement solutions that will be more effective in addressing those problems and preventing them from recurring in the future.
The 5 whys technique is an effective tool for teams using the inspect and adapt process in SAFe. It can help teams quickly and easily identify the root causes of problems and challenges, and can support them in implementing effective solutions that will improve their processes and practices.
Elements of a Successful RTE
Understand the agile framework and principles
As a Release Train Engineer (RTE), you will be responsible for facilitating the agile process within your organization. It is important to have a deep understanding of the agile framework and principles, including iterative development, continuous improvement, and collaboration.
Build strong relationships
As an RTE, you will be working with a variety of teams and stakeholders, including development teams, product managers, and business leaders. Building strong relationships with these groups will help you effectively communicate and collaborate with them to ensure the success of your release train.
Foster a culture of continuous improvement
The agile framework is all about continuous improvement, and as an RTE, it is important to foster this mindset within your organization. Encourage teams to continuously evaluate and improve their processes and workflows to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
Develop strong communication skills
As an RTE, you will be responsible for communicating with a variety of stakeholders, including team members, business leaders, and customers. Strong communication skills, including the ability to clearly articulate ideas and concepts, will be critical to your success.
Understand the business context
It is important for an RTE to have a deep understanding of the business context in which they are operating. This includes understanding the needs and goals of the organization as well as the industry in which it operates. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and prioritize work.
Manage risks effectively
As an RTE, you will be responsible for identifying and managing risks that may impact the success of your release train. Developing a robust risk management plan and regularly reviewing and updating it will help ensure that risks are effectively managed.
Be flexible and adaptable
The agile framework is all about being flexible and adaptable. As an RTE, you will need to be able to quickly adapt to changing priorities and requirements.
Build strong teams
As an RTE, you will be responsible for managing and leading cross-functional teams. Building strong, cohesive teams is critical to the success of your release train.
As an RTE, you will be responsible for facilitating decision-making within your organization. This includes facilitating meetings, gathering input from relevant stakeholders, and helping teams reach consensus.
Continuously improve your skills
As an RTE, it is important to continuously improve your skills and knowledge. This includes staying up-to-date with the latest agile practices and techniques, as well as continuously learning and growing as a leader.
SAFe says: It’s okay to FAIL (Fast)
Failing fast is an important concept in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). It encourages organizations to embrace failure as a part of innovation and to learn from it quickly, in order to prevent bigger issues down the road. The idea is that if you can detect and fix mistakes early on, you can avoid more costly and time-consuming problems in the future. The concept of failing fast is built on the idea that mistakes are inevitable and that it’s better to fail quickly and learn from those mistakes than to avoid failure altogether. This is a critical mindset shift for organizations who have traditionally been risk-averse. Instead of attempting to avoid failure, they need to embrace it as a necessary part of the process of learning and growth. The benefits of failing fast are numerous. It helps organizations stay agile and flexible, allowing them to quickly pivot and adjust to changing markets and customer demands. It also encourages experimentation and innovation, since teams are more willing to try new ideas and solutions when they know that failure is an acceptable outcome. Failing fast also helps to reduce the amount of time and resources wasted on projects that don’t work out. By identifying problems early and learning from them quickly, teams are able to move on and focus their efforts on more productive endeavors. Finally, failing fast helps to foster a culture of learning, growth, and experimentation. When teams are encouraged to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them, it creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable pushing the boundaries and trying new things. This leads to more successful projects and a more engaged and productive workforce. Failing fast is a key part of the SAFe framework and a critical mindset shift for organizations who want to stay agile and competitive in today’s ever-changing environment. By embracing failure as a part of the process and learning from it quickly, organizations can reap the many benefits of failing fast.
What do you mean there is MORE planning in agile?
In agile methodologies, planning is an ongoing process rather than a one-time event. SAFe teams generally follow a cyclical approach to planning, with short-term planning occurring at the beginning of each iteration (called a “sprint” in Scrum) and long-term planning occurring at regular intervals (called “PI planning events” every 8-12 weeks).
This approach to planning is intended to provide the necessary structure and guidance for the team to deliver value to the customer, while also allowing for flexibility and adaptability to changing circumstances. Agile teams are expected to be able to adapt and adjust their plans as needed in response to new information, changing priorities, or other factors.
For larger and more complex environments, there are also higher level planning mechanisms such as the portfolio roadmap, architecture runway, LPM and participatory budgeting which guide investments and priorities.
The emphasis in agile planning is on creating a lightweight and responsive process that allows the team to make informed decisions and deliver value quickly and efficiently.
Critical SAFe Principle: “Assume Variability” & “Preserve Options”
In the context of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), “assume variability” and “preserve options” are core principles that guide the development process.
“Assume variability” means that the development team should approach their work with the understanding that requirements and priorities may change over time, and they should be prepared to adapt and adjust their plans accordingly. This principle encourages flexibility and the ability to pivot when necessary.
“Preserve options” means that the team should aim to keep as many options open as possible as they work towards their goals. This can involve implementing solutions in a modular way, so that they can be easily modified or replaced if needed, or using techniques like prototyping to explore different options before making a final decision.
Together, these principles help the development team to be agile and responsive to changing circumstances, while also maintaining a long-term perspective and keeping their options open for future development.
Embracing Emergent Design
Emergent design is a design approach that involves continuously evolving and adapting the design of a product or system based on the feedback and insights gained through experimentation and iteration. It is often used in agile development processes, as it allows teams to rapidly prototype and test new ideas and to continuously improve the design of a product or system based on the feedback and data they collect.
There are several reasons why teams might want to use emergent design:
Allows for rapid experimentation and iteration
Emergent design allows teams to rapidly experiment with new ideas and to iterate on the design of a product or system based on the feedback and data they collect. This can help to speed up the development process and allow teams to quickly incorporate new insights and innovations into their work.
Encourages collaboration and flexibility
Emergent design also encourages collaboration and flexibility, as it involves continuously adapting and evolving the design based on feedback and insights from multiple sources. This can help to foster a more open and inclusive work environment and allow teams to respond quickly to changing needs and requirements.
Increases agility and adaptability
Finally, emergent design can increase agility and adaptability, as it allows teams to rapidly prototype and test new ideas and to continuously improve the design of a product or system based on the data and feedback they collect. This can help teams to stay ahead of the curve and to respond more effectively to changing market conditions or customer needs.
Emergent design is a valuable approach for teams that want to rapidly prototype and iterate on the design of a product or system, and that want to foster collaboration, flexibility, and adaptability within their work.
Tips for identifying enablers that I should be building into my architecture runway
To identify enablers for your architecture runway, you can follow these steps:
Identify the key objectives and goals of your architecture runway. This will help you to determine the type of enablers that you need to support these goals.
Conduct a thorough analysis of your current architecture, looking for areas where improvements or enhancements are needed to support your goals.
Identify any gaps or weaknesses in your current architecture that need to be addressed in order to achieve your goals.
Engage with stakeholders and subject matter experts to gain a better understanding of their needs and requirements, and use this information to identify potential enablers for your architecture runway.
Develop a plan for implementing the enablers you have identified, including a timeline and resources needed.
The key to identifying enablers for your architecture runway is to take a holistic and strategic approach, considering both the short-term and long-term needs of your organization. This will help you to identify the enablers that will have the greatest impact and provide the most value for your organization.