This page represents our approach to Agile at scale that we've been doing since 2005. We can incorporate SAFe® into this approach or not, as fits your organization. Click here for webinars on Agile at scale.
See our most recent SAFe® related webinar: Using SAFe™ as a Framework and Not a Solution
Here are some webinar recordings that can be useful to someone in understanding SAFe:
- An Executive's Guide Agile. A great introduction for director level's and above as to why Agile is good and what some of the challenges in achieving it are
- An Executive Overview of SAFe. Assumes you have the understanding of why Agile. First half similar to prior webinar.
- The Need for Leadership in Scrum to be updated.
- How Delays Cause Waste: A Main Tenet of Lean. Lightning talk on how Lean is not really about eliminating waste - it's about not creating it in the first place.
- A List of Meetings in SAFe
- How Successful Pilots Often Hurt An Organization's Transition to Agile. Too many pilots focus on demonstrating Agile at the team, only to literally make a full transition more difficult. Learn what not to do.
- What You Must Attend to to Achieve Agile at Scale: And How SAFe Does.
- Not Doing SAFe? No Problem. Not Doing These? Big Problem. This blog lists critical issues one must attend to - regardless of approach. Knowing that SAFe is designed to help you manifest these helps you understand SAFe. This list also helps explain why SAFe works.
- What To Look At When Starting an Agile Transition
- Blogs on cultural issues of the transition
- Books on cultural change
- William Bridges - Managing Transitions
- Heath brothers - Switch: How to Change Things When Changing Is Hard
- Maurer - One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way
- Mike Rother - The Toyota Way
- We've added the concept of Minimum Business Increments to the SAFe model. Learn what MBIs are and how they help you implement SAFe better with them than without them.
- Minimum Business Increments: The Why of Enterprise Agility. Regardless of what you call them, MVPs, MBIs (minimal business increments), ... you must understand why smaller batches of work are essential for Agile to be effective.
- Weighted Shortest Job First - a 13 minute video on how to use and calculate WSJF.
SAFe's metrics are a pretty good start. We have some additional metrics we use based on our business driven software development approach. If you are a client of ours and want more information, please contact Al Shalloway for more information.
Creating Teams. SAFe is based on Scrum teams working within a context. However, it is often difficult to create true, cross-functional Scrum teams with all of the roles needed. These blogs discuss both the importance of cross-functional teams and how to create their equivalent when it at first appears to not be possible.
- Cross Functional Teams Eliminate Waste and Manifest Lean
- Creating Teams When It Does Not Seem Possible
- Attending to Teams Is Important
When to Use Scrum or Kanban. While Scrum is the preferred approach, many organizations either can't create true teams, have to share some people or, when shared service teams (e.g., infrastructure) are involved, true Scrum can't be followed. See The Scrum to Kanban Method Spectrum: Deciding Which Approach To Use to help decide what to do.
- Why You Need a Hybrid System. SAFe requires that team work together within a context. However, not all teams should work in the same way. This blog is about teams using hybrid methods but it provides insights on how teams can be tailored to work in the way they need to while working within the context SAFe creates.
- Making Scrum SAFe is a blog that describes the difference between classic Scrum taught by many non-SAFe partners and the Scrum that SAFe requires.
- Lean-Scrum: The Next Generation of Scrum. While this article was written for Scrum teams in general, teams doing Scrum within SAFe should be following Lean practices - so this is very useful for them as well.
- SAFe Scrum/XP Pocket Guide. We are building a pocket guide for the adoption of Scrum/XP within SAFe.
- Why You Must Prepare the Backlog
- SAFe Kanban blog on how to use Kanban at the team level in SAFe.
- SAFe Kanban webinar which is both a great intro to Kanban as well as how to use it in SAFe.
- Mapping a value stream to a Kanban board. Lightning talk on the process of mapping a value stream to a Kanban board and why both are important in improving business-driven software development.
Architectural and Other Technical Issues
- The SAFe Architectural Runway
- What It Takes to Do Large-Scale Technical Agile. This article discusses the technical practices required in any large scale Agile undertaking. Knowing what these are will help you both understand SAFe and how to implement it.
- Acceptance Test-Driven Development is a cornerstone of SAFe as well as being useful for any development approach. This resources page provides a lot of information about ATDD.
- Sustainable Test-Driven Development is an approach to TDD that increases the understanding of what is to be built, improves the design quality of what is built and does not bog down as more and more tests are created.
- Can Patterns Be Harmful? A good introduction to design patterns, describing what they really are, not merely solutions to recurring problems in a context.
- Avoiding System Bankruptcy: How to Pay Off Your Technical Debt. Amir Kolsky introduces the concept of technical debt, what practices and attitudes cause it, and what we can do to prevent it or pay it off.
- Essential Skills for the Agile Developer. Core practices that will make you more effective as an Agile developer.
- Avoiding Over and Under Design. Learn the essence of Emergent Design - having sufficient design with high quality code so as to enable efficient change.
- Commonality-Variability Matrix article and webinar. An effective method of abstraction that, with the Analysis Matrix, can be used to create a conceptual architecture of your system.
- Analysis Matrix article.and webinar. An analysis tool that can capture a high view of requirements or design issues.
We'll be writing more in the near future. In the meantime, if this is a significant problem for you, set up a free consultation with us.
Kanban is typically the best approach to take with shared services and DevOps. Look at 'When to Use Scrum or Kanban' above to help make your choice. See the Kanban section above for more on Kanban.
We'll be writing more, but until we do, take a look at The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
On Becoming a Coach. Net Objectives' page on how to be a better coach.
On Becoming an Agile Coach. The essential learnings of how Net Objectives looks at Agile different than most other Agile consultants.
If you are transitioning to SAFe you will quickly discover that SAFe, as good as it is, it is insufficient. Because of this we no longer offer the standard 2-day Leading SAFe course, but instead offer a 3-day extended version that covers:
- the importance of systems thinking in scaled Agile
- business driven software development
- using Kanban to incorporate shared services and dev-ops into SAFe™
- how to create teams when it doesn't look possible
- going beyond practices - achieving outcomes
- a discussion of the enterprise portfolio and when to start there
- when not to use SAFe™ inside of a SAFe™ organization
You can learn more about these extensions here:
1& 2 Systems Thinking and Business Driven Software Development - Effective Agile At Scale Session 1: An Executive's Guide to Agile
3 Using Kanban to Incorporate Shared Services and Dev-Ops Into SAFe - Check out our Kanban Clinic in general and our SAFe Kanban in particular.
4 Creating Teams- Read the blogs at Cross-Functional Teams Eliminate Waste and Manifest Lean
5. Going Beyond Practices - Read The Real Reason the Agile Wars Are Destructive, It's Not What You Think.
The last two you'll have to come to the course to see.