Only this week, I upgraded my SAFe Program Consultant certification to teach the latest Leading SAFe 4.6 course. This gave me a renewed passion for the framework and a love to share some of the most exciting case studies I found on the Scaled Agile website. First let me back up a bit......so what is the Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe for Lean Enterprises?
It is a large knowledge base of proven principles, compentencies and practices, that are integrated together to help bring about cultural change in organisations. What these means is that your teams will deliver faster, more frequently, on time and on budget. The practices are drawn from over a 100 sources, including webinars, books, white papers, conferences, etc and help organisations and individuals apply Lean, Agile and DevOps best practices. The diagram below, shows the Full SAFe configuration:
When starting out with SAFe, you would consider implementing only the Program and Team layers at the bottom of the diagram and gradually build up to Full SAFe. Or alternatively you can stay with the Program and Team components, if the Large Solution and Portfolio constructs are not required.
One of the reasons I believe that SAFe works so well, is that it's all based around cultural change. That means we train leaders, executives and teams to think and act differently. It's not about working people harder, it's about improving flow across a value stream to deliver faster, deliver on-time, foster new experimental ideas in a safe environment and about bringing the best out of your people. If there is a problem with the system, then it requires strong leadership to identify the bottlenecks in the system and remove them. An Agile Release Train is a team of teams and is a core component of the SAFe system.
For me the link to the case studies, is the real eye-opener., since the business benefits are clearly articulated These are written by the clients themselves, not the SAFe people, which adds another layer of credibitliy to the stories.
My personal favourites are the Australia Post, Fitbit and NASA stories. Below I outline only the Australia Post and NASA stories.
Australia Post wanted to achieve sustainable, lasting and permanent organisational change based on four key areas:
By implementing SAFe, the following benefits were realised.
The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) will be the next NASA spacecraft capable of carrying a human crew to destinations beyond what is known as low Earth orbit or (LEO). It will contain up to four crew and be capabile of long duration missions.
In order to ensure that NASA maintain their gruelling schedule and to foster a close working relationship with their partners, they decided to utilise SAFe. With SAFe, they can speed up development velocity, through regular system demonstrations, automated testing and employing a Lean-Agile mindset. The regular demos will also allow them to see the real capabilities that are coming together and allow NASA to bring the integration of the components together, must faster than with previous craft. The diagram below, shows the components of SAFe that they have used for the project:
The link to the original published NASA material, can be found here:
Telstra is one of Australia's leading telecoms and IoT providers. They wanted a framework to help with cultural change, reducing delivery cycle times, improving delivery flow, reducing costs and making processes and people more efficient and motivated to innovate. After choosing SAFe, they realised a number of key benefits.
If you're interested in learning more about SAFe, then consider the Leading SAFe course run by ALC Training:
ALC can run this course in-house for any organisation, anywhere in the world, so just reach out to them anytime.
Paul Colmer is an AWS Senior Technical Trainer. Paul has an infectious passion for inspring others to learn and to applying disruptive thinking in an engaging and positive way.