Resources on Agile at Scale

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.  

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Have a topic of interest that's not on the list or need a free-consult on SAFe?  Contact Al Shalloway

See our most recent SAFe® related webinar: Using SAFe™ as a Framework and Not a Solution

Resources

Enterprise

Overview

Here are some webinar recordings that can be useful to someone in understanding SAFe:

Transitioning to SAFe

Organizational Transformation

Portfolio

Business Discovery & Portfolio Selection

  • 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.

Metrics

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.

Program

PI/Release Planning

Implementing A PI

Team Process

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.

Scrum or Kanban?

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.

Improving Scrum

  • 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

Kanban

  • 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.

Estimation Methods

Alternatives to Planning Poker

Architectural and Other Technical Issues

Enterprise and System Architectural Issues

Test-First

  • 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.

Agile Design

Roles

Shared Services

Shared Services in SAFe

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.

Team Methods

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.

DevOps in SAFe

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

Transition Agent

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:

  1. the importance of systems thinking in scaled Agile
  2. business driven software development
  3. using Kanban to incorporate shared services and dev-ops into SAFe™
  4. how to create teams when it doesn't look possible
  5. going beyond practices - achieving outcomes
  6. a discussion of the enterprise portfolio and when to start there
  7. 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.