Making you feel SAFe®
The Scaled Agile Framework;
No Engineering autonomy is lost, and nobody will penalize you for scrapping parts that overcomplicate your lifecycle.
Despite what the diagrams may suggest, you don’t even need a tie!
A comprehensive vision from scaledagileframework.com:
You don’t have to be a large enterprise to place a high value on deliveries in clear alignment with your Themes and Goals.
Visualizing and managing a Backlog is really helpful, whether comprised of tasks or issues defined as to-do items or User Stories, trouble tickets or customer orders. SAFe accounts for and enables this concept.
A single person, team or even a Team of Teams can only accomplish so much. With SAFe, you can apply “timeboxing” to understand and justify a given workload (and make a case for growth through new hires or acquisitions).
Whether you are making an Adirondack Chair or a Falcon 9, you need to be clear on your product’s Features; what they are, how they’re brought to fruition and how they relate back to those over-arching themes and values.
We can imagine a backlog of tasks corresponding to the component parts and their manufacture; ripping, planing, cutting, finishing…
Sourcing those raw materials and doing the actual cutting, drilling and assembly doesn’t happen by Corporate Mandate, and has little to do with any Grand Vision, but when completed and measured through a Retrospective, we can assess the final outcome.
Did we choose screws that rust? Maybe the team doing the drilling can choose a non-corrosive fastener for the next iteration.
Has a new technology or technique been developed since the last chair rolled out?
Let’s evaluate these new technologies as features in our chair. Do they add measurably to our ability to achieve the goal of selling a high-quality, comfortable chair that can last through many seasons of weather exposure at an affordable price with even better profit potential than the last version?
Let’s see those new developments in the next production release iteration.
Are you feeling it yet?
The Nine Principles of SAFe:
Take an economic view
Apply systems thinking
Assume variability; preserve options
Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles
Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems
Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengths
Apply cadence (timing), synchronize with cross-domain planning
Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers
These are noble principles. Let’s break them down:
1: An economic view is pretty simple with a Capitalism hat on. We’re working, presumably for an economic reward. Profit is nice.
2. I bet You’re already “applying systems thinking”. The chair in our example isn’t produced entirely in-house from a single source. Lumber comes from trees that have been felled, debarked and bucked, and sawn into uniform units for commerce. These commercial units eventually land at the loading dock of Your Chair Factory.
3. Assuming variability and preserving options is also a concern; does your lumber and fastener come from a common supplier? Are you remaining open for a new business relationship or prepared for shortage? Of course you are.
4. Every batch of chairs that leaves your workshop was built incrementally, using a integrated learning cycle. Subassemblies, observations of quality variation between materials from batch to batch and vendor to vendor; these are your learning cycle.
5. Milestones are subjective; “Can I stain it yet?” depends on a fully-assembled chair. Basing that expectation on an evaluation of the complete, end-to-end process is second nature. Identifying it and placing importance on it is all we’re doing in SAFe.
6. How many chairs can we complete with the available board-feet and fastener count? Managing the relationship between material and output cycles informs other decisions; how much to order, how much to keep on hand, what is the consumption rate?
7. Finding a syncopated rhythm across domains is easy when you order operations around the seasonality of an Adirondack Chair. There is a clear cadence to the relationship between fine weather and outdoor furniture. Again, we’re just calling out what’s already there and giving it a seat at the planning table.
The 8th principle; “Unlocking the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers” is an exercise left for the reader.
Now that we’re feeling SAFe, let’s go decentralize some decision making!