by Christian Glück
Mobility is on the rise, as well as digital traffic and the need for customer-oriented solutions. Therefore, companies look for ways how to keep on track. However, the bigger the company the more difficult it may get to become agile – especially if an organisation was not organically “raised” functioning agile.
“There are many ways leading to Rome”
With the delivery of projects – software delivery projects, but now more often also other types of projects – enterprises have to choose which methodology to follow. On the team level, there is a variety of them one can apply, be it Scrum, Kanban or the standard Waterfall method. On the Enterprise level, there is also a variety one can follow – like LeSS, Nexus(TM) or the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®). SAFe can still be combined with, e.g., individual teams operating in Scrum or Kanban. Therefore, it can be seen as a tool coordinating the collaboration between various teams.
Let us deal with the question for whom this framework is the right thing. But first of all, let us take a look what SAFe actually is.
The definition. And the challenge.
Putting it in simple language, when attempting to spread collaboration beyond multiple company layers, SAFe offers you a helping hand for doing so. It’s a blueprint explaining the way how to start with agile at a company level that is not used to agile functioning. It provides a set of explicit principles available and visible to everyone in the organisation – and most importantly, these principles and rules are the same for everyone. The main difference to the other agile methods is that SAFe is more formal; the entire framework is described for all levels so that there is little left to be organised by oneself.
The challenge for long-established companies is the mindset.
The principle is to prioritise tasks in the backlog on an objective and transparent basis. Transparency and a synchronized execution on all levels is actually the biggest advantage of SAFe. The entire company is working towards a common objective. There are tasks to be completed in a backlog. Each task gets a transparent priority and therefore, on an objective basis, everybody knows what task to fulfil first. This goes hand in hand with raising efficiency as the backlog carries the objective truth.
For whom is SAFe suitable?
In general, everyone having several teams can apply the SAFe methodology, but it’s most suitable for teams with above 50 members. The distinguishing factor is how innovative the company is, because SAFe is rather unsuitable for highly innovative companies like Amazon or Netflix that grew up with the agile mode of working. For them, the strong framework could be rather limiting. Taking it from the opposite end, the methodology is fitting for companies that are not too acquainted with working in the lean and agile mode.
Are you considering SAFe-based solutions tailor-made for your needs?
We hold the Scaled Agile® Silver Partner Status, enabling us to apply SAFe in our consulting services and to provide SAFe Training. Our more than 20 certified “SAFe Agilists” as well as ca. 10 SAFe SPCs (SAFe Program Consultants) can assist you in introducing SAFe at your company via consultancy or training.
My second article out of the series will be dealing with the topic of how an enterprise can become a lean and agile organisation embracing the basic principles of SAFe.
At ERNI, we believe in the impact of Swiss Software Engineering to create value for customers. Our mission is to boost people and businesses in the innovation of software-based products and services. Therefore, we are building a global platform based on a Swiss mindset and adapted to the needs of local customers.
Consensus building with a focus on time and quality is our mostly valued contribution in software engineering.