Inspect and Adapt in SAFe

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Sep 15, 2023

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What is inspect and adapt in Agile?

The Inspect and Adapt (I&A) is a significant development undertaken after every Program Increment (PI), during which the trainer demonstrates and evaluates the present status of the Solutions. The teams then use a systematic problem-solving session to discuss what they did well and could do better.

People have natural agility and intelligence. More than in our professional life, our personal lives often demand us to show that we can adapt to new situations. It's a waste of time to inspect without adopting any modifications. Transparency is required for it and developed by the inspection and adaptation process. Nothing makes sense about adaptations that aren't based on real-world observations but on a fictional reality. They even risk aggravating a matter, as they promote obscurity rather than transparency. 

Inspecting without adapting is meaningless

Scaled Agile System covers I&A procedures only at the process level while considering the Inspection and Adaptation workshops. However, to ensure that your staff members are inspecting and adapting, some actions may be undertaken at every organisational level:

  • Portfolio—A systematic Performance Analysis (or assessment) should verify that the Program Portfolio meets the expected performance and compares business results to predefined KPIs. As a result of the findings, some modifications (or adaptations) to the plan may be necessary.
  • Program— Workshops on I&A are a perfectly acceptable activity regarding inspection and adapt operations; the programme level isn't the only level where the I&A activities should occur.
  • Team— As improvements are proposed, the performance development team should look back at the process to see where it worked and what needs improvement. While at the implementation level, we emphasise I&A operations on identifying solutions modifications, at the organisational level, we concentrate on what we must do to improve team collaboration and communication and boost team velocities.

A crucial part of bringing agile into the workplace is identifying and assigning individual problems to specific teammates at every point during the process, which allows for greater project efficiency while also improving the system's performance.

In most cases, a more favourable upcoming PI is the result of carefully inspecting and enhancing the product and the process. It's a vital part of continuous development and the perfect way for ART to discover and resolve systemic issues. Leading SAFe Agile certification helps you expand agile across the organisation to enhance time-to-market, employee engagement, and quality.

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Principle of Inspect and Adapt

The SAFe Lean-Agile Principle and strategy is based on the Agile Manifesto's concept that continuous improvement is essential: "At predetermined intervals, the group takes time to reflect on how they may become more efficient, and then they modify and alter their behaviour under those considerations."

Your capacity to discover new perspectives and approaches to accomplishing a single task expands as you gain experience through continuous improvement. This opens the door to personal development. In addition, SAFe Agilist training fosters confidence in one's ability to adapt to changing circumstances and remain ahead of those requirements.

Each Program Incremental plan concludes with an Inspect and Adapt process.

It is a problem-solving event in which the existing system developed by Agile Release Train team members is assessed.

It is the ideal occasion to think back on the errors that have been committed and figure out how to prevent them from happening again. Indeed an intrinsic component of SAFe, backlog items is enhanced and added to improve the speed, quality, and reliability of the subsequent Program Increments.

SAFe stresses this principle by making continuous improvement one of its four pillars. Iteration Retrospectives are an excellent example of an endless opportunity to improve, but it's also essential to set aside time to think about what could be done better across various teams.

The inspecting and adapting phases

The House of Lean includes Inspect and Adapt SAFe as one of its essential components. I&A drives continual development via team assessments and input from stakeholders. Teams take in information from different sources and put the stuff to improve the product as a whole, which benefits everyone involved.

Continuous progress is achievable when a team adopts an inspection and adaptation mindset.

Every modification will now be the focus of the next inspection. Every decision you make is merely the beginning of a new experiment. You gain the ability to make minute tweaks and analyse the outcomes of your experiments to fail fast and continue to learn from your mistakes. 

An I&A is carried out to evaluate the product and the process to make enhancements in preparation for an upcoming PI. The I&A can be broken down into the following three sections:

1) A Demonstration of the PI System: Analyse and Customise the Product

2) Quantitative Measurement: Analyse the procedure with the help of metrics

3) Workshop on Problem-Solving Strategies - Customise the Procedure

Phase 1: PI system demonstration

Product management takes on the demonstration's facilitator at this point in the process, ensuring that it covers the entire integrated system. The primary objective is to show how the system has evolved through time.

In contrast to the sprint demos, which take place every two weeks, this demo presents all the functionalities that have been developed as a result of the PI to a broader audience that comprises entrepreneurs, sponsors, stockholders, and portfolio leaders, in addition to market representatives. Each Agile team collaborates with these stakeholders to assess the business performance achieved.

SAFe suggests that each project team present their piece of functionalities in under sixty minutes. Although every team should have their moment of glory, the ultimate result can frequently leave a sense of disconnection. The objective here is to maintain audience interest. Make sure your presentation is concise, don't get entangled in the facts, and don't be scared to adopt a creative technique to keep the audience engaged and interested.

Phase 2: Quantitative measurement

ART products and processes are evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively in the Inspect and Adapt strategy step. The engineers are primarily accountable for collecting and evaluating the performance measures that the teams have initially agreed to and analysing the information in yet some other sixty-minute section.

The Scaled Agile Framework Performance measures page lists enterprise portfolios, plans, solutions, and team information.

But keep in mind that numbers won't reveal the complete story, regardless of what you choose to measure. Instead, discovering the narrative can quickly be done by examining the metrics.

For instance, the team and its leaders may view their outcome as having a 67% predictability rate. However, even though the teams failed to meet expectations, that doesn't represent the whole story. 

Phase 3: Retrospective analysis and resolution of issues

In Inspect and Adapt's retrospective phase, teams evaluate problems and process difficulties. Then, they focus on a few significant challenges at the team or program - level.

Challenges at the process level typically attract participants from various functional areas who are immediately affected by the issue and are consequently more driven to find a solution. This provides a broader opinion on the situation and a more excellent pool of inventive solutions.

Root-cause assessment is the next step in a problem-solving workshop since it helps you find out what's causing the issue.

Workshop on the Problem Level

The Engineer is in charge of organising a Problem Level Workshop, during which the methodology of Root Cause Analysis will be utilised to solve significant issues that arose at the Program Level. This training session will last for a total of two hours.

The method for accomplishing this objective can be divided into the following stages:

  • It starts with a clear explanation of the problem and a commitment to solving it.
  • After that, run a Root Cause Analysis, where the problem is put on top, and the procedures, people, resources, or systems that contributed to the problem are listed along its branches.
  • Using the Pareto analysis method, which is a methodology in which participants of the team vote on the main reason creating the significant effect, determine which major cause is the most effective at this point.
  • The new problem has been presented transparently, and subsequent steps involve using brainstorming to discover a solution to it.
  • Once a solution has been identified, the elements in the schedule are revised such that they can be implemented in the following Program Increment.

Tips for a Successful Inspect and Adapt Workshops

1. Real-time simulations add excitement to PI System demos.

2. Keep your attention on the broader context.

3. Make use of your metrics to explain the PI's situation.

4. Provide the organisers of the problem-solving workshop with training or experience.

5. Use the Inspect and Adapt Event Template

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The System Demo initiates the Inspect and Adapt phase of the process. It is a well-organised event for a large audience. It shows Agile Release Train's solution. The audience for one of the System Team's representatives' presentations consists of all stakeholders, entrepreneurs, consumers, and adaptable teams. Attendees at the I&A session cannot include all because of the number of people on a Solutions Train. 
Instead, stakeholders who are best qualified to handle that context are chosen as participants of the workshop. In addition, representatives from the numerous ARTs and Suppliers are included in this group. Professionals will gain the knowledge necessary to adopt and operate the Lean-Agile Approach if they obtain their SAFe certification and training.

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