The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Date: 24/08/2021| Category: Best Practices Glossary| Tags:

The Scaled Agile Framework is a body of knowledge that includes structured guidance on values, planning and managing, roles and responsibilities. The framework aims to sustain the implementation and scale the use of agile practices at enterprise level. SAFe combines the body of knowledge of Agile, Lean and DevOps.

SAFe is built on values and principles and core competencies. The framework promotes alignment, collaboration and delivery across agile teams. It is designed to offer more flexibility to any agile team and help manage challenges that come with practicing agile.

History of SAFe 

The Scaled Agile Framework originates from 2011, when the framework was developed by Dean Leffingwell. Since 2011, the framework has seen five major updates. The current SAFe 5 dates from January 2020.

SAFe aims to help organisations design better systems and software that better meet customers’ changing needed. SAFe has grown with the marketplace and adapts to new and better ways of developing software and systems.

Today SAFe is one of the most popular agile delivery frameworks and has a worldwide community of practitioners that continue to evolve it.

Why SAFe 

The Scaled Agile Framework is designed for large organisations. Scaling is only suitable for organisations where several teams work together on delivering a product. SAFe aims to increase coordination of employees and agile teams whilst maintaining value delivery.

It is a general belief that organisations that master business agility are the ones that will thrive, as they are more likely to adapt to their changing environment. Business agility happens when the entire organisation uses agile practices to continually and proactively deliver innovative solutions faster than competitors. The Scaled Agile Framework sustains this objective by;

  • Building strong agile teams
  • Allowing teams to continually engage with stakeholders
  • Continually seeking the alignment of multiple agile teams
  • Using best practices of agile, lean and DevOps
  • Not surpassing the Scaled Agile Framework values
  • Following the core competencies
  • Providing quality and a faster time to market

Scaled Agile Framework core values 

SAFe has four core values which are:

  • Alignment
  • Built-in Quality
  • Transparency
  • Program execution

Alignment

Alignment must rely on the organisation’s business objectives and cannot lie with agile teams itself, no matter how good the team is. It is important that all teams follow the same objective and are aligned. Especially now that teams are working from different locations and have to keep pace with fast change and disruptive competitive forces.

Built-in Quality

Quality is not something that should be added at a later stage of the product life cycle, but something that should be integrated from the start. Built-in quality ensures that every element and every increment of the solution reflects quality standards throughout the development lifecycle. Without built-in quality, there is a higher risk of unvalidated work that has to be re-processed and slow down the complete lifecycle.

Transparency

Transparency creates openness and trust. Both are needed to create high-performance teams. SAFe encourages trust-building behaviour, including faster problem solving, real-time visibility and inspect and adapt rituals.

Program execution

Teams need to execute and continuously deliver value. That is why the framework focuses on working systems and business outcomes. This way, SAFe enables a focus on execution for the team and sustains execution improvement during each program increment.

QRP offers two types of SAFe certifications, Leading SAFe and Implementing SAFe

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