An HR playbook for successful SAFe implementation

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As an organization builds speed for a SAFe implementation, it rapidly becomes clear that significant change is involved. Without due consideration, this awareness of looming change develops fear and uncertainty with respect to those affected by the change. That can be every employee. In any change program, particularly one this extensive, the enterprises Human Resources organization has a significant role to carry out in enabling successful route of this journey. But very often they are engaged late and, sometimes, reluctantly.

In practice, the SAFe executive coach or Lean-Agile Centre of Excellence commonly first meets the HR part of the organization four-six months into an implementation. Then, they come into contact with HR experts who might especially want to help, yet commonly need understanding and the learning to know how their abilities and how their services fit into the Agile context. You can question, what job do they play in such a change, and how would they play it? This article HR Playbook will help HR professionals participate in and in fact encourage lead the project on this crucial journey to enhance business outcomes.

Reaching the Tipping Point, Train Lean-Agile Change Agents, Executives, Managers, and Leaders

The ‘tipping point’ activities and training of Lean-Agile Change Agents exercises happen to a great extent in parallel with all activities leading the pivotal moments of the training of Leaders, managers, and Executives  in the SAFe way of working.

Train Lean-Agile Change Agents, describes the three stages expected to make a guiding coalition:

  • Train various Lean-Agile change agents as SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs)
  • Train executives, directors, and other leaders
  • Charter a Lean-Agile Centre of Excellence (LACE)

From the perspective of the HR operator, following are areas of chance and required contribution:

  • Articulate the business value goal. There will be a huge HR-driven financial effect, from both the expense of training and enablement perspective and from the potential savings from a flatter organizational model and more effective program execution.
  • Baseline employee engagement. If the present methodology is yearly, consider the implementation of engagement survey tools that can be utilized on a progressively visit premise to empower quick feedback.
  • Identify and articulate HR opportunities and implications inherent in the change, and develop your HR change management benefit contributions to the rising change capacity.
  • Take the training yourself.
  • Ensure HR representatives participate in the training of Lean-Agile Change Agents.
  • Ensure HR is effectively represented in the establishment of the Lean-Agile Centre of Excellence (LACE).
  • Ensure effective organizational change management knowledge is embedded in the LACE technique.

Identify Value Streams and ARTs, and Create the Implementation Plan

The first four ‘basic moves’ of the Implementation Roadmap build up the urgency for change, and the critical mass of informed and dedicated people expected to implement SAFe successfully:

  • Reaching the Tipping Point
  • Train Lean-Agile Change Agents
  • Train Executives, Managers, and Leaders
  • Create a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE)

Typical HR agent exercises that would commence here include:

Support an understanding of the new organizational model, one that is optimized to facilitate the flow of significant worth across functional silos, activities, and boundaries.

Alleviate pain from typical obstacles, for example:

  • Formal structures that make it difficult for employees to act.
  • A lack of needed skills.
  • Personnel or information systems.
  • Employees who discourage actions toward implementing the new vision.
  • Support employees through major organizational changes. Activities may include serving as a point of contact for questions and concerns and by explaining any impact on staffing.
  • Guide the organizational understanding / language / norms at a process, job, individuals and skill levels.
  • Create new sets of descriptions with the fundamental roles and responsibilities.
  • Guide workforce planning

Prepare for ART Launch, Train Teams and Launch the ART

From a change management point of view, the primary ART is imperative, with potentially reaching implications. This will be the main material change to the method for working and will generate the initial short-term wins that help the enterprise build speed.

When the main ART for the implementation is chosen, preparation and launch will typically proceed over an 8-10-week time frame. A range of activities is in-flight, including:

  • Identification of applicant members for both lead and team level roles in the ART
  • Gradual on-boarding of ART members, with a sharp spike in onboarding action as the dispatch week nears.
  • Scheduling and delivery of the suitable job-based training, ensuring the appropriate participants are engaged in to go to enablement training, with a specific focus on:
  • Leadership Training
  • Product Owner/Product Manager training
  • Scrum Master training Team
  • Organization of facilities, both for the launch week events and staff seating amid execution.
  • Preparation of content for the Feature Backlog.

While the value the HR agent can include amid these stages should be self- evident, beneath are some particular suggestions:

  • Ensure the employees have the experience, skills, and abilities expected to execute the process.
  • Help workers navigate to new roles and responsibilities.
  • Work with management to address gaps in current staffing and future staffing needs through recruitment, training and development, contingent staffing, and outsourcing.
  • Observe and mentor employees’ level of status. We see there are six conditions of progress availability which use SAFe Metrics to set up a pattern:
  • indifference,
  • rejection,
  • doubt,
  • neutrality,
  • experimentation,
  • Responsibility.
  • Work with functional management to help them to understand the effect of new ways of working on their functional management responsibilities.
  • Develop methods for anchoring changes to the organizational culture.

Coach ART Execution, Launch More ARTS and Value Streams

The initial nine ‘basic moves’ of the Implementation Roadmap are as the following:

  • Reaching the Tipping Point
  • Train Lean-Agile Change Agents
  • Train Leaders, Managers, and Executives
  • Create a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE)
  • Identify Value Streams and Agile Release Trains (ARTs)
  • Create Implementation Plan
  • Prepare for ART Launch
  • Train Teams and Launch the ART
  • Coach ART Execution

Key areas of focus for the HR professional are:

  • Generating short terms wins and making them obvious.
  • Observe and react to the organizations between new practices and organizational success.
  • Encourage silo or functional groups to look for a comprehension of their present portfolio solution value stream key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Challenge others in HR to solidify gains by hiring, promoting and developing representatives who can implement the transformation vision.
  • Progressive formalization of SAFe or Agile explicit jobs in the authoritative activity arrangement composition.

Stretch out to the Portfolio, Sustain and Improve

This is a telling stage in the rollout as it tests the authenticity of the organization’s contribution to transform the business at all levels.

Similarly, as with many different stages in the implementation roadmap, there is critical cooperative energy and cover from a planning point of view in these last two stages. Regularly, the portfolio level journey in SAFe starts when there is something like three ARTs in flight. The portfolio level changes gradually, as these progressions reach into the organization’s method for working in key areas, for example, governance, funding, strategy and performance management.

The HR operator has a rich field of opportunity during this stage, with activities that include:

  • Elicit discussion at the portfolio level with respect to the present condition of principles, practices, and roles expected to start and govern a lot of new value streams.
  • Guide leaders in developing process for managing change resistance.
  • Monitor employee joy. Search for approaches to enable them to adapt and thrive during the change.
  • Incorporate team execution in employee evaluation.
  • Move to iterative execution feedback. Eliminate yearly employee reviews and individual performance incentives.
  • Implement reward frameworks that require cooperation and unity of achievement.
  • Structure frameworks that reward wanted practices and results with both tangible and intangible rewards.
  • Promote feedback from those in the value stream just as from subject matter consultants.
  • Guide managers in developing career ways for their employees.
  • Identify systems for developing the organization’s internal Lean Change Agents in pursuit for self- sustaining momentum.


Reaching effective SAFe executions requires changing individuals’ methods for working. The HR organization is crucial to helping both the navigation of the voyage and the sustainability of the outcome. Very regularly, the SAFe usage coaches are unaware of the capability of the HR organization to empower successful change and uncertain of how and when to connect with them. In like manner, for the HR specialist, the new dialect and practices can make it hard to understand where and how to engage. We tried to inform the SAFe coach of the way in which HR masters can support the implementation, and how to help HR specialist’s time and focus their commitments – exploring both the dialect of SAFe and that of the HR world, in this article.

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