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Understanding the SAFe® Agile Principles

We’re what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, isn’t an act, however a behavior.” – Aristotle 

The Scaled Agile Framework has since its inception offered large enterprise advantages to organizations implementing it. This has pushed the necessity for SAFe professionals who can efficiently leadvert Agile transformations in organizations by implementing this framework 

Based on Scaled Agile, Inc. greater than 800,000 practitioners have been educated in SAFewhich additional proves the credibility and demand of this certification. On this weblog we try to know the SAFe ideas and how they assist companies to maximise worth, drive innovation and create excessive performing groups.  

SAFe Agile Framework Core Values:  

It is not laborious to make selections when you realize what your values are.” – Roy E Disney.

SAFe lays out four core values that enterprises have to imbibe earlier than they begin their scaled agile journey. These values characterize the basic beliefs which can be going to be crucial in figuring out the effectiveness of the SAFe implementation. It does assist dictate behaviour and motion for everybody who participates in a SAFe portfolio. 
Safe Core Values

SAFe Lean-Agile Ideas: 

SAFe leans closely on the application Lean and Agile at scale. On this explicit article, we’re going to deep dive and faucet into the nooks and crannies of what’s actually the muse of any profitable SAFe implementation – The 10 underlying Lean-Agile ideas of SAFe. Earlier than, we have a look at these (depicted in Fig 1 under), want to spotlight that Scaled Agile, Inc. has listed these ideas as ‘immutable’ – which means these ideas are usually not anticipated to vary over time.

Ten SAFe principles as defined by Scaled

Detailed rationalization in regards to the SAFe Agile Ideas: 

Now that we all know what the ten SAFe Lean agile ideas are, let’s try to perceive what every precept brings to the desk, when it comes to enhancing agility and imbibing lean ideas on the core of your groups work tradition.  

  1. Take an financial view: Understanding key worth streams throughout the enterprise supply framework goes to be of utmost importance to enable resolution making that can have the least influence and ship the most worth to the shopper. By doing so, we be certain that every worth stream opens a broader financial framework.  
  2. Apply programs considering: The concept right here is to collect a factual holistic view of the system being developed or enhanced, with the intention to guarantee precept #1 is met, when it comes to maximizing its financial end result. SAFe additionally recommends that to get this proper, programs considering must be utilized not solely to the programs being developed but additionally to the group that’s constructing the system.  
  3. Assume variability; protect choices:  In a real agile trend, conserving the enterprise design light-weight and evolving over varied phases of product growth will lead to faster adaptability or course correction with respect to a risky market state of affairs.  
  4. Construct incrementally with quick, built-in studying cycles:  Maintain your iterations brief to permit time for enhancements and buyer suggestions. Time to market is at all times a key facet and it doesn’t damage pondering commonly over the development actions with respect to cycle instances of particular person work packets. This allows sooner built-in studying cycles and the groups have to be coached on leveraging varied instruments that assist with this.  
  5. Base milestones on goal analysis of working programs:  The mindset to measure success appropriately and quantitatively is achieved by adoption of early and steady integration processes that may be utilized iteration after iteration in a close to manufacturinglike setting.  
  6. Visualize and restrict WIP, scale back batch sizes, and handle queue lengths: This can be a fairly straightahead Kanbanish apply proper out of the Lean strategy. Mentioned under are the three steady circulation enablers, as given in Scaled Agile.  
    1. Visualize and restrict the quantity of labor in professionalgress (WIP). This will increase throughput and limits demand to precise capability.  
    2. Scale back the batch sizes of labor to facilitate quick and extra dependable circulation.  
    3. Handle queue lengths to scale back the wait instances for brand new performance. 
  7. Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning: This precept lays significance to the means and strategies of cadenced synchronization that’s wanted to make sure a number of challenges are resolved amicably. An ideal mixture of synchronising in a cadenced method is like an orchestra, which helps with the cross-domain planning orchestrated by an RTE, thus enjoying lovely music to the ears of the stakeholders.  
  8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of information employees:  Growth of extra contextual data and making use of them throughout varied domains will assist with eradicating SME dependency and in addition cross skilling groups extensively. It additionally syncs up with right now’s hyper aggressive world the place it’s all about efficient worker engagement 
  9. Decentralize decision-making: Whereas some selections which have lengthylasting implications are finest stored centralised (like offering a steer at an enterprise degree of the tech stack adoption)  the overwhelming majority of the choices under these should be decentralised and left to the groups. This ensures one doesn’t fall into the pit of a command-and-control hierarchy.   
  10. Set up round worth:  Measuring enterprise outcomes will assist achieve a aggressive benefit which is what enterprise agility calls for. Lean ideas give attention to shiping the utmost buyer worth within the shortest sustainable lead time, while offering the best attainable high quality to the buyerGetting the best product out into the best market on the proper time, is completely crucial.

Why the Give attention to Ideas? 

A query which will come up in your thoughts now could be “Why ought to I’ve or bear in mind one other 10 ideas, after I have already got the 12 guiding ideas from the Agile Manifesto?”. Truthful sufficient, however let me clarify.  

The creators of SAFe acknowledge and re-iterate on the truth that SAFe was constructed on prime of the prevailing lean agile ideas and many different data our bodies that varied thought leaders have left behind of their journey of Agile.  

Nonetheless, it is essential to focus on that nearly 20 years in the past when the lean agile ideas had been laid down, there wasn’t a lot distributed (offshore/onshore) growth taking place, no less than to not the extent it’s taking place now. Enterprises right now have gotten larger and extra refined, therefore SAFe actually needed to synthesize this present foundational physique of information, together with the teachings realized from lots of of deployments. 

Not all challenges that enterprises face throughout their scaled agile journey might be fastened by the practices taught by SAFe. Each problem could also be distinctive in its personal manner and therefore the need of the 10 underlying ideas, which might be referred to as a information, which the groups can fall again on, and make it possible for they’re shifting constantly on the trail to the objective of the Home of Lean: “shortest sustainable lead time, with highest quality and worth to individuals and society.”

SAFe adoption challenges – 14th Annual State of Agile report by VersionOne

One of many most imminent challenges that organizations will face with SAFe adoption, is lack of efficient management. The highest two challenges listed in the latest State of Agile report by VersionOne additionally displays the identical.  

Ample administration assist is vital earlier than embarking on any massivescale transformation and that’s precisely why we’d like the SAFe ideas to assist emphasise the position of Lean Agile leaders within the transformation. True SAFe leaders perceive and embrace the Lean-Agile Mindset, apply systems considering, induce enterprise considering and operation, and impart these to others 

It’s not sufficient that administration commit themselves to high quality and productiveness, they have to know what it’s they have to do. Such a duty can’t be delegated. —W. Edwards Deming 

Why and when to make use of a Scaled Agile Framework?  

SAFe adoption has naturally elevated through the years. The newest annual State of Agile report mentions anyplace between 5-6 % within the final 12 months alone, one thing that organizations ought to take discover of. One thing is clearly working for organizations which have adopted SAFe as their scaling framework.  

 A superheo meme depicting the popularity of SAFe in the current industry.

Numbers don’t lie, and SAFe is clearly the main framework in terms of organizational agility scaling. Whereas there are a number of different scaling frameworks like DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery), LeSS (Massive Scale Scrum), NexusSoS (Scrum of Scrums) and so on, that are additionally fairly efficientSAFe continues to be the main framework for a cause. Whereas I want to dedicate a separate weblog for that, let me give a fast preview as to WHY!  

SAFe dwells deeply into defining heterogeneous software program supply pipelines that govern enterprise worth circulation with the best mixture of individualsprocess and know-how. Any disruptions within the circulation of enterprise worth should be monitored by way of applicable metrics while conserving traceability again to enterprise necessities at every step of product growth.  

SAFe adoption has increased by 5% over the last 12 months – 14th Annual State of Agile report by VersionOne

SAFe is a framework. It’s known as a framework since there’s a large distinction between a framework and a technique and clearly SAFe is to not be understood as a technique. It is not a algorithm or gadgets in a guidelines you could cross off after which say that you’ve got mastered the trail of attaining enterprise agility. NO! It is not as easy.  

Whereas working with and organising a sequence of largely impartial crossuseful Agile groupsnew impediments will start to emerge and each shall be completely different. SAFe won’t have a readymade answer for this and therefore it is essential to know that SAFe can’t be utilized the identical manner in each context!  

Variations Between SAFe and Different Agile Practices 

Not like different scaling approaches, SAFe may be very prescriptive. It offers organizations with a step-by-step strategy of easy methods to go about their SAFe adoption. It additionally offers completely different ranges of scaling with roles and occasions that assist the execution and alignment at varied ranges. 

The precise variations and comparisons of SAFe with different scaling approaches is a separate subject in itself however in precept, the first factor that stands out with respect to SAFe is that it encourages the apply of flow-based roadmaps. This requires making adjustments one at a time, determineing gaps and handleing them by coaching groups at each a talent and cultural degree.  

SAFe helps get traction of the broader imaginative and prescient/targets and therefore makes groups work collectively to ship worth  not just for one another, however the finish buyer as nicely.  

Key takeaways: 

  • SAFE is a Framework – not a technique: It’s important that you just consider that SAFe will put you on a path that’s actually agile. You could re-think why you thought of SAFe within the first place. It could herald some readability.  
  • Configure SAFe as per your organizational wants: SAFe as a framework may be very a lot configurable. Use it to your benefit. Use our personal deep contextual data to create new approaches which shall be beneficial as a step in the direction of enterprise agility. 
  • Develop Lean Agile leaders: Solely efficient leaders can change the system. Practice and educate the management who can then actively drive the change. Adopting a lean agile mindset helps create efficient leaders that empower each particular person of their groups and that’s when innovation and creativity will flourish. 
  • Keep in mind SAFe isn’t relevant for each given context: Only implement SAFe in these elements of the organisation the place it is sensibleIt is not a one-stop answer for all of your issues. 
  • Struggle complexity with SAFe and never vice versa SAFe can get loopy with phrases and terminologies and its fairly pure to get overwhelmed, as you’re scaling up the method at varied ranges. Therefore its essential that the best set of change brokers (SPCs) are employed to hold out SAFe adoption. This may be certain that complexity is addressed on the very starting.  


SAFe recommends implementation steps together with its core values and immutable ideas. All these must be intently examined and tweaked (the place mandatory) to the wants which can be particular to your group. Solely then will you obtain the true advantages of this most generally used scaling framework.