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In recent years, more and more organizations with different kinds of businesses have adopted the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to scale Agile to the enterprise level. The main reason is that it has provided them with a tried and tested way of Agile enterprise transformation. When multiple Agile teams work together, organizations need a framework to tackle the flaws that may creep in due to many teams. More teams mean more problems. So, here SAFe provides the best cost-effective framework for scaling Agile practices across the enterprise. With many Agile teams working on the same project or product, which may be distributed across geographical locations, issues may arise about their working and interaction between them. Organizations may find it easier to address these issues if they have a framework within which all the teams can operate and coordinate simultaneously. This is where SAFe plays the most important role and benefits the Agile teams and the organization. There are many strong reasons why Agile teams need the Scaled Agile Framework. We will have a look at all of them in this article.
Reasons for Agile teams to adopt SAFe:
Agile teams must adopt SAFe because it provides solutions to the weaknesses observed in the traditional methods of Agile. It has incorporated certain important features like objectives and replanning. This makes developing a high-quality product easier while simultaneously maintaining agility. Other plausible reasons make SAFe essential for Agile teams. We have presented those reasons below.
1. SAFe offers adaptability:
Adapting to ever-changing economic conditions and fast technological advances takes work. Companies must do a lot of rejigging both in the processes and the products to cater to the market and customer demands. This rejigging is not easy and may lead to delays or customer dissatisfaction. So, companies need quick solutions to these issues. SAFe offers precisely that. SAFe has been designed to support fast-changing economic situations and quick-paced technological advancements, thus providing a mechanism for companies to stay relevant and competitive.
2. Helps in aligning the teams toward a common goal:
Alignment means that all the teams are moving in the same direction to achieve a common goal. This is crucial for achieving organizational goals. Since an Agile Release Train (ART) in SAFe consists of many cross-functional teams, all must be aligned properly to avoid any pitfalls in the development process. SAFe makes sure that this kind of close cooperation is achieved between the teams and that they move seamlessly towards achieving the goal.
3. SAFe encourages collaboration between the teams:
Collaboration between different teams working on the same product or project is vital for success. Teams need to share transparently and trust each other so that more can be accomplished in terms of results. SAFe promotes collaboration at all levels of the organization and among all the stakeholders so that everyone works with complete transparency and every team supports the other. SAFe builds a common thread that binds the teams and the management.
4. Facilitates visibility across the enterprise:
In SAFe, different backlogs (product or program) and Kanban teams are connected by the Agile lifecycle management solutions. This means that the teams can manage their tasks in a better way. This, in turn, promotes visibility across the enterprise. Everybody knows what is happening and knows the work’s status. So, work goes on without any impediments.
5. SAFe helps speed delivery:
No organization wants to be left behind in the competition. And precisely for this reason delivering value to the customer as quickly as possible is the objective of every enterprise. They would like to put their best foot forward in delivering value. Here, SAFe provides an alternative to the traditional ways of product management. Putting the principles of Lean and Agile in practice, SAFe facilitates faster delivery of value, thus enhancing the organization’s standing in the market. And it is not only the quantity of value but also its quality that is ensured by SAFe through its regular retrospectives.
6. Teams work together with close coordination:
SAFe promotes harmony between the teams through close coordination and a culture of cooperation. All Agile teams are bound with a shared vision and goal that drives them to provide the maximum value to the customer. Each member of every team in SAFe works earnestly to achieve this end. They cooperate wholeheartedly with each other to overcome obstacles. The product development and management teams share strategies so that all of them think alike. All this again promotes seamless working and faster delivery.
7. SAFe helps in managing cross-team dependencies:
Cross-team dependencies can produce many problems. These can often result in missed deadlines, urgent meetings, etc. SAFe provides tools for dependency management. The interdependency of the teams can be related to business or technical. These dependencies are managed by constantly analyzing and working to reduce the complexities arising out of the dependence of the teams on each other. When the teams work with synergy, they regularly validate each other’s work, which helps reduce risks and unnecessary impediments to the progress of work. With better management of cross-team dependencies, SAFe enables teams to be more cooperative and understand each other’s needs.
8. Enabling cross-domain planning:
Most organizations need help with team planning. Program Increment (PI) planning is the element of SAFe that provides the solution to this. Here, all the teams that form the Agile Release Train come together and hold a meeting to plan the roadmap. They plan to work on the existing features and any new ones that need to be incorporated. The PI planning meeting helps face-to-face interaction between the teams that promote collaboration and building trust, which is vital to achieving a common goal. This also aids in faster decision-making which helps the teams in completing their tasks more quickly.
9. Consistency and regularity are achieved:
Right planning, efficient execution, and fast delivery are keys to the success of any business. And consistency in all these three areas helps the organization get an edge over its competitors. When an organization consistently plans right, executes efficiently, and delivers quickly, it gains customers’ confidence. SAFe helps organizations develop a consistent approach to planning, execution, and delivery. Another hallmark of SAFe is the regular delivery of value. The cross-functional teams under an ART deliver a working product at specified regular intervals (usually every two weeks).
10. Productivity improvement:
Productivity is always the concern of every enterprise. There can be many causes of low productivity, managing the cross-team dependencies in delivering a PI. Problems in aligning the enterprise vision at the team level and the product vision at the enterprise level. Or there may be issues with syncing deliveries. Focusing on and improving these issues through SAFe helps enhance the organization’s productivity. It also improves efficiency and quality and reduces the time of the production cycle, thus ensuring the fast-to-market movement of the product.
11. Feedback and innovation:
SAFe encompasses regular feedback from the customer. This facilitates the building of a good business relationship with the customer. Regular feedback also gives the team scope for improvement throughout the process. Also, when regular and effective feedback is received, the team can adopt some systematic innovative approach to adjust as per customer requirements. This is one of the main strengths of SAFe.
We have provided ample reasons why SAFe is essential for Agile teams. It ensures that teams do as much work on a given task as necessary. Moreover, SAFe being flexible enables teams to adjust according to the customer’s ever-changing requirements. The best part is that SAFe enables scaling Agile at all levels of the organization. It is a cultural shift in the organization that enables it to embrace Agile practices. The Scaled Agile Framework helps enterprises to produce superior quality products, increase productivity, and achieve unity and cooperation between the Agile teams.
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