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Benefits of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to Organizations

March 8, 2021

By Simpliaxis

SAFe is a collection of information and knowledge that consists of structured guidance on roles and responsibilities, planning, and managing of work. In other words, it is one of the Agile frameworks built on three pillars: Team, Program, and Portfolio. SAFe is carved out to give team flexibility and to help manage challenges faced by large organizations when practicing Agile.

It promotes program execution, collaboration, alignment, built-in quality, and delivery across a large number of Agile teams. Agile software development, lean product development, and systems thinking are the three primary bodies of knowledge around which SAFe is formulated upon.
 

For whom and when to use SAFe?
 

  • It is primarily used by Development Teams working to provide solutions for large-scale enterprises.
     
  • SAFe provides guidance for all the levels of the enterprise that are actively engaged in solution development: Team, Program, Large Solution, and Portfolio.
     
  • If a company is just beginning to transition to Agile, then SAFe might be a viable option to bridge the gap owing to its greater perspective approach than other software.
     
  • Required when numerous groups are running their own specific manner of Agile usage, however, consistently confronting obstructions, deferrals, and disappointments.
     
  • At the point when an association needs to improve its item advancement lead time and need to realize how different organizations have prevailed with regards to scaling Agile with SAFe.
     

Few companies that are succeeding with the extensive use of Scaled Agile Framework are- Cisco, LEGO Digital Solutions, Barclays, Fitbit, and many more.
 

Benefits of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to organizations
 

SAFe’s fundamental beliefs portray the way of life that authority needs to encourage and how individuals ought to act inside that culture to successfully utilize the system. There are numerous advantages of Scaled Agile Framework, many of which are listed below: 
 

1. Transparency
 

Sometimes, things go wrong or do not work out as planned. Lack of openness leads to decisions being taken based on speculative assumptions and a lack of authentic data. 

SAFe gives a complete picture of software development breaking down the traditional silos of Development, QA, Operations and enables cross-functional communication. The framework emphasizes planning and breaking down a huge task into smaller batch sizes so as to cater to the issues quickly and effectively. It encourages trust-building conduct and provides continuous real-time visibility into backlog progress across different levels. Furthermore, it enables a scope to inspect and adapt rituals and ceremonies. As of today, the teams have more visibility into what is building in and why is it building.
 

2. Alignment
 

Alignment is required to keep up with the fast-changing environment, disruptive competitive factors, and geographically spread teams. SAFe necessitates that organizations set up planning and reflection rhythms at all levels of the association. With this setup, everybody comprehends the present status of the business, the objectives, and how everybody should move together to accomplish those objectives. Alignment must be complemented by clear directions of content authority, starting with the portfolio and then resting mainly with the Product and Solution Management roles, and extending to the Product Owner role. Synchronizing individuals and their activities routinely enhance the chances of keeping all levels of the portfolio in alignment. Unlike the conventional top-down approach, data and information stream both upward and downward in a timely manner.
 

3. Team-centric environment competency
 

Teams in Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) have an unmistakable vision on what they need to achieve and are amped up regarding the vision due to the fact that they were involved in forming it. An Agile team is cross-functional and self-arranging to design, execute, and deliver work against the goals and requirements of the association. Also, open correspondence and transparency help in formulating favorable relationships, thereby, delivering more collaboration and an environment for teams to flourish.
 

4. Built-in Quality
 

“Inspection does not improve the quality, nor guarantee quality. Inspection is too late. The quality, good or bad, is already in the product. Quality cannot be inspected into a product or service; it must be built into it.” —W. Edwards Deming 

In the SAFe system, Agility should never come at the expense of quality. The framework has built-in quality practices which ensures a quick stream of information across all levels and teams. SAFe requires groups at all levels to characterize what “done” signifies for each undertaking or project and to prepare quality improvement rehearses into each working agreement. Quality is embedded at every stage/level in SAFe, it can be dev tests, QA tests (scale, security, UAT), environment tests, or product configuration.  Expanding on stable environmental conditions is essential for large institutions without quality assurance, excessive rework and slower pace will create unsatisfactory outcomes.
 

5. Flexibility and Productivity
 

Scaled Agile Framework implies teams are aligned with the product or item; the consistent collaboration gives them an undeniable degree of transparency; they certainly comprehend the deliverables, and in turn, set expectations of the stakeholders. This smooth understanding, balance in work allocated, and transparency to the client level extraordinarily expands the work delivered and profitability in a broad sense.
 

6. Program execution
 

The core of this framework is program execution, which powers all the other things in the framework, and therefore, SAFe places an intense focus on working systems and business outcomes. As knowledge alone will not fetch you results, SAFe enables leaders to apply the knowledge gained in the practical environment and obtain the desired results. Teams and projects ought to be able to deliver quality, while working with the software, on a regular basis.
 

7. Shorter time-to-market
 

Organizations are able to deliver and showcase value rapidly with the help of SAFe. The framework emphasizes planning and breaking down a huge task into smaller batch sizes, which helps in completing the tasks quickly and efficiently. SAFe aids in increasing throughput and value delivery, which in turn, triggers quantifiable improvements in customer satisfaction and team commitment.
 

8. Facilitates Leadership
 

Scaled Agile Framework demands lean-Agile leadership behavior or conduct in light of the fact that no one but leaders can alter the system and establish the environment essential to embrace all of the core values and principles. In other words, it starts with leaders exemplifying behaviors that will inspire and motivate the enterprise to undergo a better way of working. Examples are set by engaging, coaching, and empowering individuals and groups to attain their maximum potential through Lean and Agile principles and practices. Lean-Agile Leaders also play a critical role in creating an environment that fosters trust and transparency.
 

A Case Study summary which depicts how SAFe benefitted Cisco immensely
 

Industry: Technology, Communications.
 

Challenge: Cisco wanted to shift away from Waterfall, and replace periodic major releases with continuous delivery of new features.
 

Solution:
 

  • SAFe®
  • Scrum framework
     

Results: SAFe was extensively used by Cisco on two major projects-
 

  • 16% drop in the defect rejected ratio (DRR)
  • 40% decrease in critical and major defects
  • 14% increase in defect removal efficiency (DRE)
  • Improved employee satisfaction by eliminating the need for after-hours work and reducing meetings/calls
  • 25 percent fewer quality assurance defects
  • Sprints that ran more efficiently each subsequent time
     

 Key learning:
 

  • Carefully build teams – Build teams with the best members from any location.
  • Assemble the right tools – Cisco realized it could not have conducted regression testing every two weeks without test automation tools.
  • Adjust as needed – For un-integrated or loosely integrated products, features or components, consider eliminating the Program level of SAFe.
     

Conclusion
 

SAFe is an endeavor to gain from the Agile movement. Optimize project management, coordination, and decision-making by centralizing them. Today, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is in its fifth iteration and has been adopted by more than 20,000 enterprises across the globe. The teams had their fair share of challenges when learning to implement SAFe. However, the learning curve was fast and the payoff visible as soon as the teams understood SAFe’s benefits. Furthermore, SAFe has genuinely helped convey business requirements and priorities to individual Agile teams. Earlier the messages used to get lost in translation or it would get changed along the way, but now everybody is aligned and on the same page, thanks to SAFe.

 

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