Within Agile practices, companies worldwide have increasingly adopted SAFe (Scalable Agile Framework), to help them scale Scrum. It is a prescriptive method that outlines a highly structured framework in order to adopt and operate an Agile value stream in different settings. It was created in 2011 by Scaled Agile — a company co-founded by Dean Leffingwell — and today it is available on ver. 4.6.
Agile is very broad. According to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, there are several pre-existing methodologies, based on Agile principles and values, such as Extreme Programming, Scrum, Crystal, and Lean Development. SAFe was created as a solution for large organizations because it helps them reach the benefits that Lean-Agile have to offer, as well as its scalability feature. Moreover, it has included a systems-thinking mindset and lean product development approach. By doing so, organizations can expect to see improvements in time to market, employee engagement, quality, and productivity.
Click here to check out the insights of Alistair Cockburn, Agile Development Co-Founder during his visit to Belatrix’s HQ.
Safe to go SAFe
SAFe has a lot of case studies that demonstrate how it can benefit companies from different sectors; from health care and financial services to aviation and software development. This is what happened with Playstation Network: years ago they were facing problems when trying to deliver quality products on time while implementing Waterfall and Agile Scrum in their development workflows. Bearing this in mind, in early 2014, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) leadership chose to deploy SAFe to bring greater organization and collaboration to development. According to Tripp Meister, former director of technology of Playstation Network, “SAFe gives us top-down prioritization based on senior management direction, pulls disparate groups together into common timeframes, and enables us to manage dependencies much better”.
Back in 2015, technology multinational Cisco, used to follow the Waterfall methodology. They used to have separate focus teams responsible for design, build, test, and deploy. Unfortunately, there were a lot of defects, employees suffered from stressful overtime and missed deadlines. Once they decided to use SAFe, efficiency picked up: 40% decrease in critical and major defects; 16% decrease in DRR (Defect Rejection Ratio); 14% improvement in DRE (Defect Removal Efficiency); and most importantly, no more overtime with products delivered on time.
Click here to view Cisco’s official case study.
Belatrix’s approach to SAFe
The biggest benefit of going SAFe is the opportunity to work with a prescribed framework that contains several configurations based on your organization’s maturity that maintains the focus of a set of 9 principles that allow transparency, alignment, and program-execution with built-in quality. As Richard Acosta, one of Belatrix’s director of accounts, likes to point out, in the US, SAFe has several “goodies” to offer which is why 70% of Fortune 100 companies have qualified SAFe professionals.
Richard has been a SAFe 4 Certified Program Consultant since October 2017. He represented Belatrix as the only Latin American speaker invited to be part of the “Lighting Talks” at the Global SAFe Summit held in Washington DC: “I believe attending such courses is important, because while many people consider software development to be an ‘art’, it can’t simply escape its roots in engineering. In order to improve quality, development teams and leaders need to know and apply best practices that include and go beyond leadership, facilitation, empathy and change management. Such courses help us develop these skills.”
Currently, Richard is an official trainer on SAFe courses such as the SAFe Advanced Scrum Master and very soon the SAFe Agile Software Engineer. He attended both courses at the SAFe Global gatherings directly from the creators of these courses: Joe Vallone and Ken Pugh. Click here to check out Richard’s reflections from the event.
SAFe is under constant evolution: Agile professionals are working every day to improve it based on their needs. Along with this process, technological improvements act as a complementary ingredient that helps boost the overall process. It is a long lasting framework that has the ability to adapt in order to meet —and exceed— the requirements of the industry.