The Scaled Agile Framework for enterprises (SAFe®) offers integrated, proven, scaling patterns that have helped many organizations around the world solve their business problems related to speed, multiple teams alignment, adaptability & quality, and progress with successful Agile delivery.
The SAFe Implementation Roadmap includes 12 critical moves for successful embracing of Lean-Agile principles and mindset, and their application throughout the organization.
Figure1: SAFe® Implementation Roadmap
12 Steps for Successful Implementation of SAFe®
For organizations to reach the tipping point, they must embrace the need for a change instead of resisting it. For the process to begin, there also has to be a clear and compelling need for change supported by a vision for the future to ensure everyone is motivated and aligned towards a common purpose. The success of the transformation initiative greatly depends on communicating the benefits it would deliver, and on having the support of a senior leadership team that would serve as a guiding coalition.
As we mentioned in the first step, the process of transformation can begin once a powerful SAFe coalition has been established. There are eight stages that organizations need to follow to ensure the success of the coalition:
- Establishing a sense of urgency
- Creating the guiding coalition
- Developing a vision and strategy
- Communicating the change vision
- Empowering employees for broad-based action
- Generating short-term wins
- Consolidating gains and producing more change
- Anchoring new approaches in the culture
To effectively implement the change, the organization would have to train its change agents, executives, managers, and leaders as they would be the main group to drive the transformation activities and inspire the whole organization to move forwards.
All stakeholders would have to be trained to gain the needed knowledge to lead the implementation, to remove any impediments, and to provide sponsorship if needed. It would be crucial for them to adopt the Lean-Agile Mindset and to show through their actions the respect they have for people and culture, flow, innovation, and relentless improvement.
The successful integration of SAFe within the organization depends on ten principles that leaders must embrace and learn to apply.
The Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE) represents the main team that is devoted to the implementation of the SAFe Lean-Agile way of working. The team is mostly responsible for supporting and driving the change within the organization by changing the culture and behavior of the enterprise towards a more Lean-Agile environment.
In this step, it is of great importance for the organization to identify all operational value streams and the systems that support them as well as the people responsible for their development and maintenance. The people responsible for the delivery of the business solution within the development value streams also need to be recognized for the Agile-Release Trains (ART) to be formed. The latter serves as the basic organizational structure that would support the transformation by delivering incremental value to the end-user.
Once the idea of the change has been formed the organization is ready to start taking action towards its implementation. This is done by picking the first value stream and selecting the first ART. By acquiring new knowledge and experience, a broader implementation plan might start to emerge, and additional ARTs and value streams would form.
For the ART to be launched successfully, there is a need to set the launch date, prepare the program backlog, and train the employees who would be taking the main roles such as Product Managers, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and System Architects. Moreover, individuals would have to be organized into Agile Teams, which would work on the value creation, and product development once a certain degree of readiness has been achieved for the launching to begin.
Next, Agile teams would have to be trained for the ART to be launched. There might be many ways for the latter to take place, however, the ART Quickstart approach has proven to be quite effective and successful. The timespan for this approach is one week in which the teams manage to finish their training as well as enter into their first PI Planning.
Now that all employees have been trained and the organization has held its first PI Planning it is time for the Agile Team to receive further coaching from the Certified SAFe® Program Consultants (SPCs) on the rest of the events and rituals such as Iteration Planning and Reviews, backlog refinement, daily stand-ups, systems demos, and Scrum-of-Scrums to effectively deliver value to its customers in shorter periods. The ART goes through the same process of coaching by the SPCs but regarding events an rituals that are on the Agile-Release train level. Here it is essential for the ART leaders to shift their focus on the Continuous Delivery Pipeline and continuous improvements of the organization’s capabilities.
By now, the organization should feel comfortable launching more ARTs to realize certain value streams. The teams on the new ARTs would have to repeat all the previous steps of training and preparation to ensure the success of the transformation. To better visualize its progress, the organization could use the SAFe Implementation Railway, which shows all the ARTs and their current stages. The organization should also address any impediments the second they arise to draw attention to the problem and to encourage the finding of an appropriate solution.
All the previous steps have led to the acceptance of the new agile way of working, but for the organization to fully embrace the Agile mindset, some of the traditional legacy approaches would have to be changed. Once again, the SPCs play an important role in providing the needed leadership to overcome any impediments and to successfully establish the Lean-Agile Principles throughout the organization.
The last step is to ensure that the culture of the organization has completely transformed and that the leaders continue to maintain the same level of energy and enthusiasm. For this to happen, the SAFe framework offers a couple of key activities that could accelerate the shift towards business agility. The activities include setting KPIs to measure performance, anchoring the new way of working in the culture, encouraging continuous learning across the organization, maximizing the performance, and reinforcing the basics.
ITCE’s 20+ years of premier consulting services in the area of Agile complements our SAFe® expertise, to support scaled organizations in their enterprise-wide transformation journey.
To help organizations realize the benefits that SAFe® offers, ITCE has designed its SAFe® Implementation Roadmap offering which includes:
Agile & SAFe® maturity assessment of companies at different scale
Executive and Leadership SAFe® awareness sessions and advisory services
Strategic planning and Lean Portfolio Management consulting
Building and mentoring of Lean-Agile Transformation team within the organization
SAFe® implementation consulting, coaching and on-the-job support
Collaboration and streamlined planning and monitoring of activities using ServiceNow® Scaled Agile Framework
Variety of SAFe® official trainings
Our team of SAFe® Program Consultants, coaches and trainers will collaborate with you to script and implement the critical moves towards successful Agile transformation at scale.
Managing Partner & Senior Consultant
Nina is a highly qualified consultant and leader with more than 20 years of experience in leading highly complex projects and transformations. Nina is a well-known name in the field of Agile, Business Analysis, Enterprise Architecture and IT Service Management.
Consultant & Trainer
Svetoslav is specializing in Agile Frameworks, Agile Service Management, DevOps, ITIL, and ServiceNow. He has a strong (10+ years) IT Service Management background in large scale organizations, particularly in the areas of transitioning and operating services as well of managing relationship with customers and stakeholders and managing service desk teams.
Partner & Senior Consultant
Orlin is a very well-known name in the IT and Management circles in the region due to his extensive experience as a consultant for numerous large scale and complex projects in the field of IT Security and Service Management. He is a very well respected ITIL® trainer, known for the high success rate of certification of his students.
Alexandra is specializing in project management, business process consulting and administration on the ServiceNow platform. She is a ServiceNow Certified System Administrator and ServiceNow Certified Implementation Specialist. She has participated as a consultant in large-scale, complex implementation projects where she has worked on the analysis, design and implementation of ITIL processes.
Nikoleta Zdravkova graduated from the American University in Bulgaria with a major in Business Administration and concentration in Management. She is currently specializing in the consulting of Agile and Scaled Agile projects and takes the role of a facilitator for some of the simulations during the trainings. Nikoleta is also involved in the marketing of the SAFe trainings and consulting services.
Our consultants have achieved certifications by some of the leading accreditation bodies in the field of Agile, DevOps, Enterprise Project and Portfolio Management.
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