Scaled Agile Framework, also known as SAFe, is an enterprise-scale development framework. It uses a combination of existing lean and agile principles and combines them into a framework for large-scale projects. SAFe is designed not so much as a single methodology, but as a broad knowledge base of proven best practices that real teams have used to deliver successful software products. SAFe provides guidance for all the levels of the enterprise that are actively engaged in development. The result is greater alignment and visibility across the organization, connecting the business strategy to execution, enabling better business results, faster, and with a higher degree of predictability and quality. It was developed by leveraging three primary bodies of knowledge: agile software development, lean product development, and systems thinking.
Agile software development:
- The term Agile is used to describe, software development which emphasizes mainly on incremental delivery, team collaboration, continual planning, and continual learning, instead of trying to deliver it all at once near the end.
- In Agile Software development, Design and Implementation are considered to be the core activities in the software process.
- One thing that separates Agile from other approaches to software development is to focus on the people doing the work and how they work together.
- In software application development, Agile is a methodology that anticipates the need for flexibility and applies a level of approach into the delivery of the finished product.
- Agile requires a shift in many companies because it focuses on the clean delivery of individual pieces or parts of the software and not on the entire application.
Lean product development:
Product development teams are responsible for designing new products that improve the lives of their end customers. This is a complex space, where the gap between development, delivery of value, and feedback can be wider than other industries. Lean Product Development, or LPD, utilizes Lean principles to meet the ever-growing challenges of Product Development. The lean product development focuses mainly on these core concepts:
- Eliminate waste: The key principle of LSD is to eliminate waste. Waste in software development is any work we do that does not contribute to realize value.
- Empower the Team: The team possesses the superior knowledge of the technical detail and thus should be trusted and empowered to make “localized” decisions.
- Build quality in: Every team wants to build quality into their work. But unless this is part of a disciplined practice, it’s far easier said than done. In trying to ensure quality, many teams actually create waste — through excessive testing, for example, or an excessive logging of defects.
- Amplify learning – This is all about doing and communicating – often. Execute, re-think, LEARN, re-group and then do it all again, but with increased knowledge.
Systems thinking are a learned skill that requires practice. Lean thinkers, by nature, are systems thinkers. Establishing a systems thinking mindset requires the ability to comprehend the whole and how individual components work together for the benefit of the whole. In real terms, this means establishing clarity around the purpose of the organization and understanding how each system, function, and team supports achievement of the purpose. It also means establishing balance throughout the system to assure that no individual component becomes optimized at the expense of the overall organization.
We understand intuitively that a business is a complex set of functions and processes that are interconnected and dependent on each other. As systems thinkers, we are very interested in how the overall system will be affected by our actions. This means we are cognizant of the intended consequences of our decisions, but also the unintended consequences of these same decisions. It is this perspective that allows us to understand total performance across the extended value stream and total cost across the extended value stream.
ADVANTAGES OF SCALED AGILE FRAMEWORK
- Offers opportunity to get into a relatively lightweight framework that creates efficiency in software development.
- Helps teams maintain alignment with business goals and achieve higher transparency
- Helps cross-functional teams collaborate more effectively
- Highly suitable for large organizations.
A good agile team chooses the management and technical practices that best work for them. When trying to adopt agile practices, there will be a lot of excuses as why it won’t work. Those who understand the real benefits of the approach will gain an understanding of the Lean-Agile mindset and why it’s so effective in today’s adapt-or-die marketplace. They’ll also get practical advice on supporting agile teams and programs, empowering a Lean Portfolio, building a continuous delivery pipeline and DevOps culture, and coordinating large solutions.
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