The massive growth of software business is indeed a boon to society. But, at the back end, there are a lot of challenges faced by the team at all levels. Digital transformation is a great shift and it demands adaptability and looking for a fluid way to work effectively. Agile methodology provided relief with its iterative process. However, again complex system started struggling and that’s when the concept of scaling became important.
Many scaling frameworks were introduced mainly the LeSS, NEXUS, SAFe, etc. Among them, I would consider SAFe as the best framework. Let us see why it the best and what are the benefits it offers.
SAFe is the abbreviation for Scaled Agile Framework. Will not talk about what is SAFe and other fundamental details which we have already in StarAgile Blog. First, let us compare SAFe with other frameworks and then look at SAFe’s benefits in detail.
Why Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)?
The SAFe concept revolves around two primary things namely the iterative development approach of agile and the lean manufacturing mindset. Lean thinking focus on utilizing less resource, increase productivity, delivery quality, and improve ROI.
Find the image below designed by “Scaled Agile” clearly indicates that the framework improves productivity by up to 50%. Enhances quality to a maximum of 50% and time to market increases by 75%. Also, makes the team more engaging in leading to job satisfaction. Time, quality, team morale and productivity are the four key to a successful project. All are addressed in this framework concurrently and hence it is needless to tell why it is important for organizations to embrace this framework.
SAFe Vs Other Scaling Frameworks – Analysis
Why do we consider SAFe as the best framework, while there are other scaling frameworks, are also there in the market? It is because to our knowledge SAFe is the only method that helps the company to scale and other frameworks let the company, not scale but grow.
So what is the difference between growing and scaling?
Growing – Hiring more resources proportional to the rate of including revenue. In simple terms, business models that hire people when they win more clients to deliver results. They get revenue and there is no second thought about it. But, they increase the cost as they hire people. So this is called growing and not scaling.
Scaling – Here the company will win more clients and deliver results on-time to get more revenue. But they don’t add many people but add incrementally. Revenue addition must be exponential and people addition should be incremental. Only then we can proudly tell that we have scaled up our business.
Now, we need a framework that looks at things in a holistic manner. There must be a complete implementation, lean thinking, and managing constraints at the same time.
We can clearly confirm that SAFe pays attention to the entire system and not just the development part. It helps to identify the complete flow, implementation, and value chain. Further, it connects the company strategy and daily operations. The integration of portfolio management is unique and is done by SAFe alone. This is the key to enable business scalability.
With these points in mind let us now in detail discuss the top 10 benefits offered by the scaled agile framework
Top 10 Advantages of Scaled Agile Framework
|2 Agile Practices|
|3 Codified Extended|
|4 Grounded in Enterprise Context|
|7 Free to use|
|9 S/w development picture is available|
|10 Continuous Upgrade|
1. Accessible in both usable and approachable manner
All you need to do is reach their website and click on explore framework and there you can take a look at the SAFe for lean enterprise in an essential, large solution, portfolio, and Full configuration using the drop-down menu.
Every detail about each definition is given as an explanation and it is easy to understand and begin working. Some basic knowledge about agile methodology will help you understand the SAFe framework.
2. Agile practices are codified quickly
The practices of agile can be codified easily using SAFe framework and hence even a beginner can master the concept quickly. For instance, the definition for an agile team, a (Product Owner) PO a (Scrum Master) SM can be understood just in a click. It is good that these terms are explained in the website letting all user start from the basics.
3. Agile practices are given an extension
If you know agile a bit more than a learner, then you will agree that the millennial team and the practitioners prefer using scrum and XP as the primary agile practices. Therefore SAFe has safely extended the agile model to the portfolio and program level. Again SAFe did not use any new techniques but codified existing elements including user stories, features, and epic hierarchy. This means SAFe can be adopted even by a naïve team and there is no additional training required.
At the same time, novel concepts like Agile Release Train (ART) were introduced and used at the program level. In short, the ease of use and introduction to modern concepts makes SAFe a very popular and adaptable framework.
4. Agile practices are grounded in enterprise context
As already mentioned when many frameworks focus only on the development area, SAFe as a holistic approach but at the enterprise level. Understand this with an example. SAFe recognizes that estimate must be done at the program or the portfolio level. Also, it agrees that estimates depend on the features and epics. Only later on it descends to the story and points. While practitioners might consider this as disrespect when they look at the team level. However, SAFe grounds agile practice at the enterprise level and embrace the concepts correctly.
5. Very specific
SAFe thus codifies, extends and grounds the agile practices for complex systems at ease. Concurrently, it offers terms, practices, and concepts in particular and not generalize to allow developers to use them precisely. The primary focus of SAFe is to tie the knot between agile and lean practice and develop software.
People who are keen on developing software than debating methodology will love the way SAFe plays.
6. Lightweight framework
One does not need to spend ages in mastering the concept of this framework. It is lightweight in the sense, the graphics presented on the home page will direct the user to a web page. It contains the definition, concept, reference links, and all details. Therefore learning becomes mastering within no time. Organization need not worry about resource availability with SAFe working knowledge but can handpick talented resources and recommend them to do SAFe certification training. It is easy to learn and implement.
7. Openly available without any restriction to use
The ideas and concepts posted in the scaled agile framework company website can be read, used, and implemented without paying a penny. However, it is copyright protected and stealing the details for redistribution is a violation per policy.
8. The practical framework which can be quickly used by practitioners
The scaled agile framework is not a generalized one and does not offer a strategy for process development. Instead, it offers the best approach to develop the process itself. Practitioners can directly write process and not wait for any process development training sessions.
9. Software development picture is made available completely
The model includes the role of system and enterprise architect. You can find them under architectural epics, features, and runway. The DevOps team and the user experience (UX) teams are given the role to play and to understand the development picture clearly. Both product managers and product owners will get a chance to look at the entire representation of the development. Even the non-functional requirements are presented in the model.
In a nutshell, SAFe is simple but not basic. It is an exhaustive framework that includes all the components required for the development and delivery of the software. Perfectly suits for a modern enterprise software development.
SAFe version gets continuous upgrade not to change the basics but to include evolution on a yearly basis. Find their progression in the image given above taken from their website (scaledagileframeᴡork.com). Each new version upԁates concepts based on the experience with the model and not hypothetically.
Upon listing the 10 benefits of the scaled agile framework, we would like to share our final thoughts with you. For companies, begin SAFe in your organization at a functional team level and then progress to cross-functional teams. Take help from the right coach and you can certainly scale your company.
For individuals, we suggest you master the art of implementing the framework by attending SAFe training in the right institute. Here you can obtain a lean-agile mindset and thus help the company scale their business.
Also don’t get confused with terms like SAFe Certification, SAFe Agilist Certification, Leading SAFe and SAFe Agile Certification, All are same.