Rob Pinna and I go way (and I mean way, way) back. I was interesed to see his perspective on the Scaled Agile Framework that he just published in a recent blog post. I thought he did a pretty good job of summarizing, but you can judge for yourself here.
Our colleague and SPC, Mark Richards from Australia has just concluded his case study of SAFe adoption at a large IT shop down under, now with Part 5: Conclusion. (for more on this and other case studies, check out Case Studies on SAFe).
In Part 5, Mark summarizes some key findings, and most importantly publishes some quantitative results. After all, in the end, that’s all we really care about. In order not to keep you in suspense, here’s the high level summary of business benefits:
- Average delivery cycle time down from 12 months to 3 months
- Frequency of delivery increased from quarterly to fortnightly
- Cost to deliver down 50%
- 100% of projects delivered on time and on budget
- Happy project sponsors (NPS 29)
- Happy teams (Team NPS 43)
Wow! And those are great Net Promoter scores.
Yeah, implementing SAFe is hard, but it’s always good to be reminded of why we do it. Thanks Mark!
I’ll be guest hosting an upcoming free SAFe webinar “Accelerating Enterprise Agile Adoption with the Scaled Agile Framework®” with VersionOne on May 13 at 12 noon EDT. I’ll provide a general overview of the features and benefits of the Scaled Agile Framework, and how you can apply it to accelerate value delivery in all of your most important value streams.
It’s actually a webinar in two parts. On Wednesday, May 22 at 12 noon EDT, VersionOne will be describing how their product specifically supports SAFe, with particular focus on the Program execution and Portfolio planning.
This two-part series should provide the guidance you need to help successfully deploy SAFe and tool it with VersionOne. You can register here: http://pm.versionone.com/AgileLIVE-SAFe2.html
Our colleague and SPC, Mark Richards from Australia has been continuing his excellent case study of SAFe adoption at a large IT shop, now with Part 4: In-play Work and the Program Level Feature Wall. (for more on this and other case studies, check out Case Studies on SAFe).
In this post, Mark focuses on the practices they put in place to track features as they move through sprints and onto delivery. He highlights what is essentially a logical, and always-current, extension of the Program Board that is typically developed during Release Planning. Though supported by more in-depth tooling with Rally, this board is the primary visual tracking and communication mechanism on the program.
(Important Note: in this case study, they don’t actually time box the work into PSIs; it’s a more continuous, rolling-wave look at about the next 10 weeks of work. It has some advantages over PSI planning, in that its more continuous flow and features don’t have to be forced to be split into PSI cycles, simply it’s a more Continuous Delivery (or at least continuous development flow) model. But it has some disadvantages and some restricted contexts too, many of which are compensated for with alternative cadence and synchronization practices as Mark describes in Post 3. )
In this fourth post, Mark describes the Feature board and how some of the other SAFe practices are implemented without the PSI construct, including
- Continuous Improvement
It’s an interesting post, and more importantly, a real in-depth case study, which highlights some implementation exceptions to SAFe as we describe it, but it works because it still follows the underlying lean and agile practices that SAFe is based on, illustrating, yet again, that the right principles trump practices every time.
And, of course, you can expect to hear more from us about Continuous Delivery in the near future.
I just finished reading a new book Managed Agile Development: Making Agile Work for Your Business, by Chuck Cobb. This is a useful and approachable new work that describes real world applications of agile at scale at places like Valpak, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and General Dynamics UK. Chuck comments “the book recognizes that many companies make the mistake of force-fitting their business to some kind of canned textbook approach where the right approach is to go in the other direction and fit the methodology (or combination of methodologies) to the business. Doing that requires a lot more skill, but it results in an approach that is more aligned with a company’s business. It also recognizes that a predefined framework, like SAFe, that can be easily customized to fit a company’s business, can go a long way to make it easier to design an approach to fit the business, rather than starting totally from scratch to figure out how to put the pieces together.”
I found Part III of the book, Making Agile Work for Your Business, particularly interesting as it describes cultural, organizational and change management impacts of an agile transformation, along with strategies for implementation (which SAFe doesn’t go into). Part IV represents some new thinking also, as it describes three “Management Level Agile Frameworks” including the Scaled Agile Framework, the author’s (Chuck Cobb) hybrid Managed Agile Development Framework and Ambler’s Disciplined Agile Delivery. Here’s a summary of the applicability of these methods from Chuck’s perspective.
Figure 3 from Managed Agile Development
Valpak SAFe Case Study
Speaking of interesting (at least from my perspective!) Chapter 14 is a case study of the application of SAFe at Valpak (www.valpak.com). Chuck and Valpak’s Director of Agile Leadership Stephanie Stewart, have graciously allowed me to post a summary of that case study below.
Chuck Cobb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via his blog at http://managedagile.wordpress.com/.
Stephanie Stewart can be reached through her blog at www.iamagile.com. (I bet she is, too!)
Our colleague and SPC Mark Richards from Australia has been continuing his excellent case study of SAFe adoption at a large IT shop, now with Part 3. Program Level Pipeline Management and the Program Kanban. In this post, Mark describes the use of a Visual Kanban system at the Program Level (for a discussion of the Portfolio Kanban example, see Part 2 of the series.) used to track the flow of value and initiatives through the Release Train. Though SAFe doesn’t call out a separate Kanban system there, it can sure make sense for better visualization and status tracking of Epics as they get broken down into Features and are implemented by the ART.
This (eventually) five part case study is loaded with practical tips and extensions (and some exceptions) to SAFe. It’s the deepest and broadest written case study we have to date of the real world challenges and successes enterprises can achieve with the framework. Perhaps Mark will stitch it into a SAFe Guidance article for us someday, but in the meantime, I thought I’d summarize the links here for easier reading.
Case Study Miniseries Part 2: Scaled Agile Framework Applied – Demand Management and Portfolio Kanban
Here is the next detailed, extremely illustrative post on that mini-series case study from SPC Mark Richards in Australia. This one covers the setup and use of a visual kanban system (you can actually see through this one) for portfolio management.
Check it out at http://www.agilenotanarchy.com/2013/02/scaled-agile-framework-applied-25.html
Thanks Mark. Well done!
My colleague Mark Richards, an SPC in Australia, is starting a blog series documenting his efforts, challenges, and successes in a multi-instance SAFe rollout at a really large software/IT shop in Australia, (who shall remain unnamed for now.)
Here are his comments and the first link.
” I have decided to write a blog series on how the implementation works with the group I’ve been guiding. Only have the intro/context post up so far, but since we’re dealing with many similar problems thought I’d share the starting post with you so you’re on the journey.” – Mark Richards
Since solid, documented evidence of SAFe rollout at scale is hard to gain in “publishable” format, I’ll try to keep you posted as Mark continues his journey and blog.
We’ve just opened up a few new SPC Certification and Training classes for spring. The Feb 5 class in Boulder is sold out, but:
- Drew and Colin will be doing a certification in Silicon Valley 12-15 March, 2013. Register here:
- My next class will be in Zurich at GOTO Zurich, 8-9 April (Leading SAFe) and 12 April (Implementing and Certification). You can register here. (note: select the three days of training option and then my class will pop up). I’ll also be doing a keynote on SAFe on April 10.
- After that, the next class I’ll be delivering will be in Boulder again, 14-17 May, 2013. Register here.
- After that, I’ll be in Berlin 10-13 June as part of the annual ScrumDays conference. The conference isn’t open yet, but you can pre-register here:
We are in the process of scheduling classes in other regional locations throughout the US this year, but we aren’t opening any of them them until we secure the venue. For planning purposes, we are aiming at something like this:
- Washington, DC: 16-19 Apr
- Los Angeles: 18-21 June
- Boston 9-12 July
- Atlanta 17-20 Sep
- Chicago 22-25 Oct
- Boulder 16-19 Dec (I’ll be doing this one)
But again, none of these latter classes are certain until we can book the venue. They will be posted here as they become available.