In essence, SAFe or Scaled Agile Framework refers to the approach of developing an agile software framework based on integration of knowledge patterns for the purpose of scaling across an enterprise. Functioning on the principle of Lean-Agile Development, the SAFe framework is incorporated for providing guidance at team, program and portfolio levels.
Regardless of all the criticism associated with it, SAFe has been found to be exceedingly adaptable to the different needs and requirements of the various different companies.
What Is SAFe?
The SAFe projects are essentially driven towards coordinating delivery, collaboration and alignment for a massive number of associated agile teams. The concept was developed for the organizations to deal with the problem of product scaling. The SAFe projects typically incorporate three different strategies including systems thinking, lean product development and agile software development for the purpose of scaling at the enterprise level.
Developed by Dean Leffingwell, SAFe was first published as an official public release back in 2011. The latest version referred to as the SAFe 4.5 has been unveiled only recently back in the month of June, 2017.
How Does SAFe Work?
There are two different implementation types for the SAFe version 4.0 known as the SAFe 3-level and the SAFe 4 level. While the 3-level SAFe is typically incorporated for smaller establishments involving less than 100 people, the 4-level is associated with the maintenance, deployment and development of several hundreds of knowledge workers.
The 3-Level SAFe
Under this type of SAFe, there are three major levels namely the Team, Program and Portfolio.
- Team: From the architectural team to the Agile development team and systems team, all the teams in SAFe are typically referred to as the Agile teams. The teams utilize XP or extreme programming methods for the purpose of defining, developing, testing and delivering value. Unlike the conventional scrums, the agile teams work in close collaboration with one another.
- Program: A total of around 5 to 10 SAFe teams come together to synchronize an Agile Release Train and deliver working systems once in every two weeks.
- Portfolio: Often defined as a collection of value streams, the portfolio is used to budget lean agile budgeting mechanisms.
The 4-Level SAFe
In addition to the aforementioned levels, the 4-level SAFe also integrates an additional level known as the Value Stream in between the Portfolio and Program levels. The additional value stream level makes the 4-Level SAFe highly useful in organizations that are committed to building extensive systems.
What Are The Ways Of Successfully Managing SAFe Projects?
Here is a list of 10 best practices that must be followed in order to successfully manage SAFe projects.
- Investing in team coordination
- Taking an economic view
- Applying systems thinking
- Assuming variability; preserving options
- Building incrementally with integrated cycles of learning
- Establishing the foundation for milestones on working system objective evaluation
- Visualizing and managing queue lengths, reducing work in progress and restricting batch sizes
- Applying cadence for the purpose of synchronization via cross domain planning
- Unleashing the self-motivation of all knowledge workers involved
- Decentralizing the process of decision making