Achieving business agility is not a tough task. Thankfully, SAFe is not a hard-to-understand framework. Before they understand the rewards, they can get from SAFe, organizations will have to practice a Lean-Agile mindset. They should comprehend and apply Lean-Agile principles. Also, organizations should spot the:

  • Lean-Agile mindset
  • Value streams
  • Agile Release Trains
  • Implement their Lean-Agile portfolios 
  • Build quality 
  • Establish a mechanism for the ongoing flow of value delivery and
  • DevOps

Also, the culture should evolve at the same time. An organization’s transformation towards complete business agility needs the change leadership insight to generate tenacious people practices. It is also important to generate the mindset required to stand by the change. Such a change also needs a proven and practical guide that brings the change into consecutive action reinforced by a sturdy guiding alliance. 

On the basis of verified organizational change management strategies, the SAFe implementation Roadmap describes the crucial moves an organization will have to take. Following the roadmap, they can successfully implement SAFe, dependably in an orderly manner. 

SAFe Implementation Roadmap

The SAFe implementation roadmap encompasses different steps. The first step is Reaching the Tipping Point. Following this first step, organizations will have to follow 12 other steps. Out of the 13 steps in the SAFe implementation roadmap, the 13th step is “Accelerate”.  You can learn more about the SAFe implementation roadmap accelerate here:

Accelerate In SAFe Implementation Roadmap

As you are in this phase of the SAFe implementation roadmap, it can be understood that you have completed all 12 steps before this step. By this time, your organization should be in good shape. You might have your Lean Agile Center of Excellence, Lean-Agile Leaders and SAFe Program Consultants in place. Also, most of your executives and stakeholders would have got the required training. Further, you and your team might have split the portfolio of your organization into different Agile Release Trains and Value Streams. The SAFe framework might have been applied at all levels of your organization. Right from individual Agile teams to the top executives of your organization would be following this framework by now.

Have you started seeing results following SAFe implementation? Is there an improvement in the quality of your solutions? Have your teams turned more productive as compared to what they were before? Are they able to deliver things quicker when also increasing their engagement in the work? Now, your answers to all these questions would be affirmative. The thing left now is to put an icing on the cake. 

Yes, to realize real business agility, your organization should take the wins from program increments and individuals. Also, your organization should start applying them to the long-term organizational vision. 

According to the Scaled Agile Framework, organizations can make sure of ongoing improvement by following the 5 steps listed below:

  1. Measuring the performance of your portfolio
  2. Reiterating the fundamentals
  3. Marching towards mastering 
  4. Anchoring fresh behaviors into the organizational culture
  5. Applying things learned across the organization

By following these methods, you can accelerate flow with SAFe. When you do this, you can achieve true business agility. Here are some details about each step listed above:

1. Measuring the performance of your portfolio

In this first step, what you are going to do is to make the good things better in your organization. The better things are going to turn out better in this section. Already, the Scaled Agile Framework has helped your organization improve. But it is time to spot, where it has helped you achieve the best improvement and where has it helped the least. You can use this phase of Accelerating your SAFe implementation to make your good improvements even better. Let the best improvements achieve greatness.

To measure, you can rate your improvement on the following competencies:

  1. Enterprise Solution Delivery
  2. Agile Product Delivery
  3. Lean-Agile Leadership
  4. Team and Technical Agility
  5. Lean Portfolio Management
  6. Continuous Learning Culture
  7. Organizational Agility

2. Reiterating the fundamentals

In the SAFe implementation roadmap, the previous step to Accelerate SAFe is Launching more Agile Release Trains and Value Streams. When you reiterate the fundamentals, you can restart the implementation roadmap by identifying value streams and Agile Release Trains. You can do this for every additional Agile Release Train. The reason is that when you start to launch more and more Agile Release Trains, you will start facing bigger challenges. 

So, in this process, you might lose some basic principles. Scaled Agile Framework experts have created a subset of Essential SAFe that talks about the 10 crucial factors for the success of Agile Release Trains. You will have to assess these 10 factors and reassess them as you continue to implement more Agile Release Trains.

3. Marching Towards Mastering 

Once the previous step is completed, you can march towards mastering. You will have to focus on the 7 core competencies listed above to become a master in the Scaled Agile Framework. Once you are through with the basics, you can follow the pro tips given by Scaled Agile Framework for strengthening each competency mentioned above. With the guide given by SAFe, you can accelerate your SAFe implementation.

4. Anchoring fresh behaviors into the organizational culture

In this step, you can confirm your fresh way of working within your organizational culture. It is the responsibility of leaders of the change to take care of this step with personal attention. The reason is that they are the protectors of the fresh working methodology within the organization.

When things get hard, with the old habits and fresh way of working and processes begin to get complicated, leaders should guide the entire team. They should motivate the team towards a fresh working methodology. 

Leaders should remember that there will be threats consistently to work on the SAFe implementation. But, when the 7 core competencies are in line and they become part of your organization, you will not be affected by outside threats. Examples of outside threats include market threats. The threats can come up within the organization as well. Employee or leadership turnover for instance is a threat to address. 

5. Apply Learnings Across the Enterprise

Many organizations from across the world carry more than a single portfolio. Once the SAFe framework is extended to the portfolio level, the next requirement comes into the picture. It is to extend the framework further to the enterprise level.

However, the thing to remember here is that the success of one portfolio cannot assure the success of all others. So, the idea here is to use your existing SPCs from the successful portfolio in the fresh ones. They can take their findings and learnings and can employ them in their following implementation. They will have to begin from the start. However, by now, they are experienced in implementing SAFe in the business, which was not present earlier.

Lean Thinking Principles

In short, to accelerate the SAFe implementation across the organization and optimize business agility, your business will have to get back to the foundations of the business agility value stream. In turn, you can understand how it helps your organization to get innovations to the market at a faster pace. In the Scaled Agile Framework, principles of Lean Thinking and Value Stream Management are the keys. They can quicken value delivery to customers for sure. 

The reason is that they frame everything that your organization works on to turn into a resilient and adaptive market leader. According to the Scaled Agile Framework, to accelerate your SAFe implementation, here are the steps you will have to follow:

  • Accurately specify value by particular product
  • Spot the value stream for every product
  • Make value flow without any breaks
  • Allow the customer to pull value from the producer
  • Pursue perfection and improve relentlessly

You can learn more about a few of these practices below:

Accurately Specify Value by Particular Product

Value Stream thinking and practice are the core of the Scaled Agile Framework. The initial practice of Lean Thinking wants your organization to clearly state the value you deliver to your customers. According to SAFe, the strategy is to understand what services or products your organization sells and to whom. You might think this knowledge to be simple. However, for some organizations, it can be hard to spot what is a product and what is not. The end of each value stream is to identify what your products are. Also, you should know about the connected KPIs. When you do this, you can get a clear idea of the whole purpose of your portfolio.

Identifying The Value Stream for Each Product

Once you refine and revisit the value by product, you should get a closer look at the value streams. When you do this, you can build and maintain those products. Some value streams might need a few changes. On the other hand, some might need considerable refreshment. These products might need the formation of an entirely new value stream. You should check whether the present organizational model serves its purpose. Check whether the markets and products have improved. Otherwise, you will have to reorganize around value. 

In short, acceleration of value delivery needs a comprehensive strategy. Only then, you can achieve relentless improvement across flow, outcomes and competencies. With these, you can achieve the intended acceleration in implementing SAFe in your organization.

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Frequently Asked Questions

"Accelerate" is a specialized framework in SAFe designed to address the unique needs of organizations looking to rapidly scale Agile adoption and achieve high levels of Business Agility.

"Accelerate" focuses on principles like value stream identification, Lean portfolio management, and continuous delivery, among others, to expedite value delivery.

"Accelerate" is ideal for organizations that need to quickly adapt to market changes, scale their Agile efforts, and drive innovation in complex environments.

"Accelerate" introduces Lean and Agile practices that optimize value streams, reduce waste, and foster cross-functional collaboration, resulting in faster delivery cycles.

"Accelerate" can be incorporated into existing SAFe implementations, enhancing their effectiveness and responsiveness.

"Accelerate" addresses challenges related to bureaucratic processes, slow decision-making, and a lack of adaptability, empowering organizations to become more Agile.

Yes, "Accelerate" emphasizes the importance of a culture of continuous improvement and provides practices to encourage learning and adaptation.

Organizations have reported reduced time-to-market, enhanced customer satisfaction, and improved business resilience as a result of implementing "Accelerate."

While "Accelerate" is beneficial for many, organizations with a genuine commitment to Agile transformation and a desire for rapid results tend to benefit most from its principles.

Starting with "Accelerate" involves a strategic assessment of the organization's current state, identification of value streams, and the adoption of Lean and Agile practices. SAFe consultants and coaches can provide valuable guidance.
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