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What is the Scaled Agile Framework? A Guide on the SAFe Process

The Scaled Agile Framework, often referred to as SAFe in short, is the leading framework that helps companies in scaling agile. Agile is a time-boxed, repetitive safe process of software delivery that builds software incrementally from the inception of a project, instead of all at once.

The Scaled Agile Framework is a set of guidelines for executing agile and lean policies at scale. It is also is one of several frameworks possible for adopting agile methods at the enterprise level. This article discusses more on the Scaled Agile Framework methodology, so read on!

What Do of Agile, SAFe, and Scrum mean?

Let’s break it down here. Agile is a group of behaviors and techniques used to deliver as much business value as possible in a given amount of time that uses an empirical approachScaling models add extra layers of communication and controls to allow people to use agile methods in large groups. SAFe is a catchy acronym for the Scaled Agile Framework, which is a branded version of a scaling model, and Scrum is a type of agile practice.

SAFe wants to make Agile more usable by larger companies. The method uses the agile approach but works to reduce its weaknesses. It wants to create super project management by implementing the best practices into one product. In a nutshell, SAFe leverages traditional, Scrum, Lean, and Kanban methodology, and that uplifts project management brings it to the next level.

What is the SAFe Process? 

Scaled Agile, Inc. developed and launched SAFe® in 2011. Including at more than 60 of the 100 companies at the top of the Fortune 500 list, the framework now supports thousands. The SAFe process is a freely available online knowledge base. It allows anyone to apply lean-agile practices at the enterprise level.

SAFe was formed from nine fundamental principles taken from Lean and agile’s existing principles:

  • It uses an economic view that allows for the best lead-time while giving the best quality and value

  • Implement systems taking into account all aspects of development

  • Assume market and technical differentials by saving choices and encouraging innovation

  • Build using steps with fast, integrated learning cycles to permit customer feedback and reduce risks

  • Base breakthroughs on unbiased estimates and evaluate working systems to ensure there is an economic benefit

  • Limit the quantity of work in progress, reduce batch sizes, and control queue lengths to allow the constant flow

  • Use flow (timing), synchronize with cross-domain formation to identify business possibilities and permit for corrective action as needed

  • Unlock the natural motivation of knowledge workers to achieve their hidden potential

  • Decentralize decision-making to grow more agile and efficient

Who Benefits from the SAFe Process?

As already mentioned, SAFe is usually implemented by enterprises and large companies, and once you comprehend the system, you will understand why. It gives the team flexibility, and this helps to manage any of the challenges that more substantial organizations present when practicing agile.

With the right team members, you can use the SAFe process effectively. You needed established leadership that will bring projects and releases to fruition, and without it, your business is likely to miss deadlines or have to scale back. Examples of critical roles include:

  • Product manager: the team member with full authority over the content and product

  • System architect: has design authority over the program

  • Release train engineer: makes certain team members are in agreement

  • UX designer: gives design elements to the project and helps multiple functions

  • Release management team: the people involved in the release and who secure smooth development and successful launch

Why is the SAFe Process Effective?

It is easy to find a SAFe practitioner providing training for project managers. Did you know that Guru99 put up an excellent tutorial on the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and breaking it down into small bits for teams?

Advantages of SAFe include:

  • Easily approachable and useful across teams

  • It provides valuable connections to conventional agile methods

  • It blends the experience of agile development with enterprise practices and cultures

  • It improves transparency at all levels and advances possibilities for feedback

SAFe in Action

There are plenty of resources available when to learn about SAFe and how it can be used in your industry. There are many case studies from a variety of sectors. One, specifically, is Air France – KLM, where they wanted to scale agile practices across their business to increase its time-to-market with enterprise applications. The results were immediate:

  • SAFe teams were able to release apps 17 times into the live environment in seven months instead of once each six months

  • The deliverables were 20 percent more efficient than waterfall teams

  • The company realized a 20 percent market share increase in the small and medium logistics market

How Does SAFe Differ From Other Agile Practices?

The Scaled Agile framework is different from other agile practices in many ways. For example:

  • It’s publicly accessible and free to utilize

  • Ready for use in a convenient and usable form

  • It’s lightweight, practically demonstrated results, and specific to the level

  • It continuously or regularly modifies and manages the most commonly used agile practices

  • It offers useful extensions for standard agile practices

  • It keeps agile practices focused on the enterprise context

  • It provides a complete picture of software development

  • Visibility or transparency is more on all the levels

  • It offers continued or regular feedback on quality and improvement

When you want to maintain operational efficiencies, you must continue to explore and take advantage of new technology that improves the way you work. Enterprise leaders should continue to operate in a Lean agile mindset. As the authority for the teams, the ultimate duty is adoption, success, and ongoing improvement in systems efficiency.

For scaling Agile, SAFe is the industry-proven and value-focused method.

What’s Next

It helps to resolve inquiries like “How do we plan?” “How do we budget?” and “How do we grow to be cross-functional in architecture and DevOps?” SAFe means a centralized approach combined with the decentralized agile development execution.

When you want to learn more about the Scaled Agile Framework, or how to implement a SAFe process, get in touch with a SAFe practitioner who can help from the start. Check back here for more articles like this one.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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