What is Scaled Agile Framework?

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Also known as SAFe, the scaled agile framework is a type of development methodology created by the team at Scaled Agile. When they first developed this framework, they did so from a perspective of utilising principles both agile and lean, and also by using a specific template.

The reason why proponents are so excited about this methodology is its ability to create greater engagement amongst employees, brings products to market much faster, improves the overall quality of development projects, and it also helps with increased productivity.

As you can see, this methodology is obviously very powerful for the right organisation. It can help teams improve in a number of different ways. To help you understand Scaled Agile Framework even better, we’ll talk more about what it is and the advantages and potential disadvantages it creates.

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What is Scaled Agile Framing?

In a nutshell, SAFe is an excellent tool that many develop teams are going to be happy to utilise. Since it relies so heavily on principles of agile and lean, the creators naturally created nine SAFe lean agile principles that include: taking an agile view, applying systems thinking, incremental building with quick, integrated learning cycles; applying cadence, synchronising with cross domain planning, base milestones or objective evaluation of working systems, decentralised decision-making, assuming variability while preserving options, unlocking intrinsic motivations of knowledge workers, and managing queue lengths, reducing batch sizes, visualising and limiting WIP.

Clearly, this framework is valuable to those focused on creating lean and agile teams. It’s definitely worth investigating further if you currently have a team utilizing these principles or plan to develop one in the near future.

The Advantages of SAFe

As with any methodology, it will provide certain advantages to the developing team utilizing it. Some powerful advantages of Scaled Agile Framing include:

  1. Incorporates agile and lean tactics into traditional companies. SAFe was developed around agile and lean principles, so traditional companies may experience a major cultural shift once they adopt this methodology. Utilising it doesn’t require a total organisational restructuring, but you will need to develop virtual agile teams in order to utilise these principles to their fullest.
  2. It won’t cost you a penny. The team at Scaled Agile provides a wide range of training courses to help organisations and individuals learn how to use SAFe. These training programs are free of charge 100% of the time.
  3. Short-term deliveries are emphasised in this development methodology. So you can focus on reaching your short-term goals, as opposed to the typical longer-term goals that most large organisations have. The default delivery time period for agile team products with this methodology is typically 10 weeks.

The Disadvantages of SAFe

On the opposite side of the coin, most methodologies also present specific disadvantages for organisations. Some potential Scaled Agile Framing disadvantages include the following:

  1. The methodology is highly prescriptive. If you’re going to use SAFe to its fullest, you’ll need to follow specific rules and practices. The program itself does not offer much room for customising the plan and tailoring it toward your organisation. Sometimes people and organisations find the strictness of the rules stifling.
  2. The SAFe website pushes training and certification. Critics understandably feel the focus on revenue can potentially dampen implementation and methodology growth. Other methods are much more open in comparison.

Conclusion

Clearly, Scaled Agile Framework definitely has its benefits for many organisations. But on the flipside, some companies may find the highly prescriptive, certification and training focused methodology too stifling for their liking. You have to give it a try to find out if this methodology is the right fit for you and your lean, agile team.

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Wendy

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