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What SAFe® is super good for

Customers are at the center of SAFe®

SAFe© graphic showing Customer Centricity

At the center of business agility according to SAFe® is the customer – with his needs, his expectations. 7 focus fields1 are grouped around it:

Team Agility and Technical Agility – High-performing, cross-functional, agile business and technical teams develop business solutions. The roles and responsibilities of the team are very well aligned. The result is high-quality business solutions that delight customers.

Agile product development – The customer is at the center of the company’s product strategy. The goal is to provide the customer with the best and most innovative product at all times. Product development happens in a continuous rhythm and release as needed.

Enterprise Solution Delivery – Applying lean systems engineering to build great systems. Coordinate and align the entire supply chain. Plus a continuous development of the system as a living organism. The aim is not only to produce innovative products, but also to develop solutions to any problem customers may have.

Lean portfolio management – The company’s “portfolio” of projects is strategically planned – with short feedback cycles between planning and implementation. The strategy for financing and execution is aligned to optimize operations across the portfolio. Plus lightweight governance to promote decentralized decision making.

Organizational agility – creating an enterprise-wide lean-agile mindset, streamlining business processes. Work on business processes and on the teams themselves with a focus on adaptability, competitiveness and transparency. Which results in all the more rapid response to opportunities and threats.

Continuous learning as a culture – Everyone in the organization learns and grows together. A spirit of discovery and creativity are part of the company’s DNA. The continuous improvement of solutions, services and processes is everyone’s responsibility.

Lean-Agile Leadership – Desired behaviors belong to role models. Leadership should empower and serve people (servant leadership) and support the strengths of the individual. Working at eye level vs. hierarchies. Change is inspired by exemplifying Lean-Agile values and principles.

The Scaled Agile Framework is complex and initially appears very complicated in its graphical representations. For example, in the graphic for the complete model for Lean Enterprises:

SAFe© 5, the full expansion stage in the graphical representation
SAFe® distinguishes between a departmental, a team, a corporate and a management level

Department level: Several agile teams work together in SAFe® and form the so-called Agile Release Train (ART). The Release Train Engineer accompanies, similar to a Scrum Master, all teams and processes in a Release Train. Around 52 – 125 people usually work together in an Agile Release Train.

Team level: Each team (see Scrum) delivers value to the customer. This value, an increment, is created in a sprint (typically a period of two weeks). Together, all Agile Release Train teams deliver what is called a Product Increment (PI) – i.e., a feature useful to the customer – at the end of 5 sprints or iterations (often a quarter).

Enterprise level: if a company has a few hundred employees, they will be divided into several Agile Release Trains. The difference to Scrum is quite simple: the number of employees involved.

Management level: In SAFe®, the vision and the product backlog are defined by management. With the help of methods such as Design Thinking and Customer Centricity, problems and challenges on the part of customers are also solved at management level – at least when “Full SAFe®” is applied. This makes the management mindset all the more important. Only if management thinks agile and acts in terms of supporting governance can SAFe® be used sustainably.

In addition, there is a so-called bureaucracy overkill in large companies.2 Large companies usually have a corporate culture that has grown over decades, which slows down change and often puts the brakes on it. Nevertheless – or possibly precisely because of this – more and more large companies want to take advantage of agility. By scaling agility, SAFe® provides the solution.

1 – All content on this page is based on SAFe® and can be accessed and verified via the following address: https://www.scaledagileframework.com

2nd – Source: https://www.computerwoche.de/a/machen-sie-ihren-projekten-schon-beine,3547640