Some of the recent stats say that 71% of companies have implemented Agile, including several Fortune 500 companies and software developers. The widespread adoption of Agile isn’t a secret anymore.
However, despite its popularity, not every company can adopt Agile. Especially the large enterprises. The reason?
Agile methodologies aren’t meant to provide solutions for large teams and multiple departments. Agile in a large organization can create issues like- a lack of communication, issues in managing complex projects, prioritization issues, and many more.
That’s why SAFe was created to help large enterprises successfully implement Agile and drive business agility. In this post, we’ll talk about the different core values of the Scaled Agile Framework and how you can achieve them.
So, let’s start reading to guide your organization to the right path!
4 Core Values of Scaled Agile Framework
Scaled Agile Framework has four core values to help you implement its practices and succeed in your enterprise. These four values are Alignment, Built-in-quality, Transparency, and program execution.
These four core values of SAFe will help you understand how you should behave and act in a SAFe environment.
As the name suggests, Alignment indicates that an entire organization should have a clear and aligned vision of where it’s moving and what actions are taken to reach that vision.
In today’s VUCA world, businesses constantly face competitive forces and disruptive environments. Especially the geographically distributed teams have to evolve continuously to stay afloat. In such scenarios, agile teams can be effective, but relying solely on the agile team is not enough for alignment.
SAFe suggests that alignment needs to be guided by the enterprise’s business objectives. Enterprises should put all the planning and reflection in place at every enterprise level. This way, everyone in the organization will understand the business goals, current status, and how everyone should work to achieve the goals.
Now if an organization is misaligned, it won’t respond well to this ever-changing market. Even if they think their team is working towards the same goal, misalignment won’t help them achieve either goal.
In the Scaled Agile Framework, alignment encourages a decentralized organizational structure. Be it marketing, sales, or developers, all the departments or multiple teams in any large organization must stay clearly aligned towards the same business goal.
How you Can achieve Alignment
To achieve alignment, SAFe has various strategies, for example-
- SAFe begins alignment with portfolio-level strategy and investment decisions and reflects its strategic themes, portfolio visions, and portfolio backlog. In turn, this information informs the vision, roadmap, and backlogs at every level of SAFe. SAFe supports alignment by continuous exploration, using customer-centricity and design thinking. It ensures that the backlog items contain economically prioritized and refined work that is ready for teams to implement. All work is made visible, debated, resolved, and transparent.
- SAFe supports alignment by using clear lines of content authority. Starting with the portfolio and ending with product and solution management and product owner roles.
- SAFe uses PI objectives and iteration goals to communicate commitments and expectations.
- By synchronizing activities using cadence, SAFe ensures that everything is aligned. If something gets misaligned, it remains within reasonable economic and time boundaries.
- Architectures, user experience guidance, and governance help ensure the solution is technologically sound, robust, and scalable.
By using these strategies, SAFe makes sure that enterprises or large organizations maintain alignment at all levels.
The second value of SAFe suggests that every solution your business provides should reflect the highest quality standards.
Many organizations make the mistake of considering quality as an afterthought. But according to the Scaled Agile Framework, throughout the development cycle, quality should be checked in every increment. Quality should be built-in.
If you don’t prioritize quality throughout the development cycle, you’ll deal with reworking sessions and inaccurate and slow-paced work. The five aspects you can consider to maintain built-in quality are:
- Architecture and Design Quality
- Code Quality
- System Quality
- Release Quality
These five aspects are all interconnected. For example, enterprises can achieve flow using a test first practice and continuous delivery pipeline. They can achieve code quality using Test Driven Development and pair programming. And architecture and design quality will help the team achieve code quality.
And code quality will improve the overall system quality. Also, having a continuous development pipeline will improve release quality, and this will end up keeping the entire organization in flow.
How you Can achieve Built-in Quality
In SAFe, you can achieve built-in quality by following the below strategies:
- Quality should be a key metric. Teams should be accountable for measuring quality as a KPI at every level.
- Implementing Continuous Delivery Pipelines, teams can detect defects in the early stage. Also, gathering rapid feedback helps to resolve issues quickly.
- By encouraging Test Driven Development, teams can focus on quality, identify roadblocks early, and deliver a high-quality product.
Transparency is one of the most important values of SAFe. Transparency in any work environment builds trust and helps make the organization robust and resistant to failures.
While building any product or solution, you may encounter various adverse circumstances or fail to achieve your goal. But if you don’t share these issues with your team, it won’t help in decision-making.
To ensure your organization is transparent, you must focus on building trust. And trust can only be built when both businesses and development depend on each other’s work ethic.
How you Can achieve Transparency
- Make sure the program logos and portfolio Kanaban are visible to all the stakeholders and management.
- Train all the stakeholders and management with Agile Solution Train and PI (program increment) objectives.
- Ensure the ARTs can access the teams and Programs backlogs.
- Ensure everyone is clear about the velocity of teams and WIP.
The fourth and final value of the Scaled Agile Framework is Program Execution. All three core values of the Scaled Agile Framework won’t work if your teams are unable to execute them properly.
Since more than one team works together to build or develop a product, SAFe focuses on the working system and the business outcomes.
Even if your company maintains alignment and is highly agile, it won’t be beneficial if you’re not developing consistent value streams. That’s why continuous delivery, integration, and deployment play an essential role in SAFe.
How you Can achieve Program Execution
Effective program execution results from other SAFe core values like built-in quality. When you maintain the quality during each phase of the development cycle, your team can avoid errors, identify roadblocks faster, and develop solutions quicker. Also, the Agile team can conduct tests at all stages of development from the user stories, features, and code. This will ensure faster delivery, time to market, and business agility.
Now, you know about all four SAFe core values and how you can achieve them. Also, make sure to remember that, to make these values work, your organization will need powerful, agile leadership and teams. A proper alignment transparency between the management and teams can only lead a company to quality program execution.
So, if you are ready to implement SAFe, first adopt these values throughout your organization. And if you need practical knowledge and actionable guidance to implement the Scaled Agile Framework successfully, register for SAFe certification training and add agility to your organization.
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