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How Does SAFe® Benefit Organizations or Enterprises?

How Does SAFe® Benefit Organizations or Enterprises?

SAFe was created way back in the year 2011 by Dean Leffingwell and it was primarily created for large organisations to take advantage of the Agile process. These days, almost all prominent enterprises out there have undertaken Agile procedures to use specifically in their IT operations. However, in today’s competitive & fast-changing world, you’ll require much more than that. Thus, becoming a truly Agile and lean organisation is the best way for any company to achieve success and such a scenario calls for a framework that supports such ambitions. 

Even though Agile was a major step in allowing enterprises to achieve success faster, it was primarily designed & developed for small-sized teams. And that’s why it doesn’t scale truly well with large teams. So, how can an enterprise implement Agile that can work with hundreds of teams and thus allow those teams to align and communicate with each other properly? Well, that’s where SAFe or Scaled Agile Framework comes in. 

The differences between Agile vs SAFe

In case you’re unaware, then you must know that Agile is a specific type of product development procedure that allows for continuous delivery of products that are assigned. When working in an Agile environment, development teams work from a single backlog and thereby divide the work into Sprints. Sprints are nothing but smaller time-defined tasks, which makes it easy to reach the final objective. All these features of Agile lead to increased productivity and success. 

The core values of Agile are:

  • Acknowledging change
  • Collaboration with the customer
  • Working software
  • Interactions among individuals

The core values of SAFe are:

  • Program execution
  • Alignment
  • Built-in quality
  • Transparency

Therefore, it can be easily seen that both the core values of Agile & SAFe are on the same level.

But, since Agile is only created for small team sizes (teams having ten or less than ten members), SAFe is what came to the rescue for larger team sizes that operate on an enterprise scale. Since companies hire hundreds of employees, SAFe made the perfect sense. This is because SAFe is suited to solve enterprise-related issues as it keeps the size of the team in perspective while also making the planning procedure efficient, increasing team productivity, allowing better team collaboration, and taking care of customer feedback. 

The reasons why organizations should scale up from Agile to SAFe

To understand the impact of SAFe, you have to first learn what happens when teams tend to get larger. Firstly, when teams get larger, the overall number of relationships tends to increase due to the number of team members. And since each team member adds his or her perspective into the creation of the product, the communication channels also increase. 

However, with SAFe such issues don’t become a challenge anymore because it goes beyond the team aspect. As a result, SAFe leads to better collaboration, alignment, decision-making, and workload visibility across teams. Ultimately, the enterprise will be able to make correct predictions based on the market behavior and the needs of the customer. 

Additionally, team leaders can make proper decisions on what features that the teams should be working on and thereby create an efficient & effective project improvement process.  

The merits of SAFe for enterprises

  1. The quality

For any organization to rapidly develop products and thus deliver to the ever-changing business environments of today, quality is of paramount importance. When the Agile framework is utilized by individual teams, they will run the versions that work for them, and thus the enterprise will be able to enjoy good results. 

However, when the need for scaling up will arrive, that’s when using Agile will create issues because each version of Agile (for individual teams) will not be aligned properly with each other. This is because every team will cater to a different timetable and they’ll also be using different practices based on their technical disciplines. That’s not all though because the reporting procedure and the Project Management tools will also be different, leading to quality differences between the teams. 

But, if the organization can train its employees in the SAFe technique, the above-mentioned issues can be solved easily. This is because SAFe has in-built quality practices. As a result, quality assurance guides will be created, so that every team could cater to the standards of the enterprise. 

  1. The focus

As has been discussed previously, SAFe allows teams to develop software with a common goal or intent. The team members will learn the ideal ways to utilize Agile and lean procedures, for the development of software. Every team will have the same mission to accomplish and thus such a common focus will lead to better quality products so that customers can turn out to be happy. 

  1. The speed

Since the SAFe configuration keeps everyone on the same path, every team will be able to work on a similar strategy inside the enterprise. As a result, organizations will be able to ship products into the market quicker than ever before because all the progress barriers will be removed. Moreover, a set timeline can be introduced so that there’s no delay.  Businesses using the SAFe foundation enjoy an almost 30-75 per cent increase in the product development speed. 

Moreover, working in such a faster format will allow teams to identify mistakes or failures earlier in the product life cycle, making the issues easier to solve especially when they’re less challenging & at a nascent stage. Enterprises can also proceed to ship products in increments, so that customer feedback can be achieved gradually. As a result, the development team can only focus on providing the features that users care about and not the other way around. 

Lastly, it’s much easier to generate a return on investment by working at a fast & steady face with incremental improvements. 

  1. The creativity & productivity

One of the key reasons why most enterprises look forward to implementing SAFe is the increased productivity of their employees. In the SAFe substructure, teams work in proper alignment with each other on a product (or multiple products), meaning each team member knows what needs to be done and the procedure for performing that task. As a result, teams tend to stay focused and time is not wasted on other, unnecessary projects. 

Furthermore, using SAFe allows developers to work within the boundaries of the stakeholder expectations, leading to a proper balance between what’s expected and what’s being worked upon. 

  1. The transparency

Most enterprises out there tend to work in a silo environment, which means the communication channels are not that great between different teams. Each team works on its project in its preferred method. Even though such a scenario leads to functional independence in every department, it doesn’t foster any cross-team communication or collaboration. 

But, with the implementation of SAFe, such an issue can be resolved. There’s no denying that when multiple departments work together, product innovation takes the centre stage. And thus, SAFe promotes transparency in an organization. Every team will know what the other one is working on. 

  1. The cooperativeness

The SAFe foundation focuses primarily on team effort rather than individual effort. SAFe cannot work if an enterprise doesn’t have functional teams in place. When using the SAFe support, teams can easily organize themselves so that they can ship products fast, using excellent communication skills and planning. 

Moreover, when teams tend to collaborate, they’ll be able to create a strong vision, allowing the team members to stay motivated to fulfill that vision. Besides, using the SAFe foundation, teams can now have a proper understanding of the project requirements and the roles needed to suit the project’s progression. Ultimately, better planning could be carried out regarding human resource issues, leading to successful product delivery.

  1. The versatility

With the utilization of SAFe, enterprises can now expect to easily scale up and down their projects, as per the requirements of the stakeholders. Business agility will not be compromised anymore. There will be no difficulties faced during the scaling process and both small & large teams can work together in perfect harmony, even after implementing the changes. 

The after-effects of SAFe implementation

  • Teams will become increasingly confident in providing predictions and estimations regarding the delivery of their projects. 
  • Team members will experience empowerment to accomplish their goals and undertake work-related decisions.
  • All possible methods of communication will be leveraged by the team members, so that a constructive impact could be applied to the project that they’re working upon, leading to higher effectiveness & efficiency. 
  • Team members will continue to stay focused on their objective, leading to an increase in speed, productivity & individual improvement. 

Conclusion

At the end of the heyday, it should be realized that even though development teams tend to experience a fair share of a challenge when trying to implement SAFe, the payoff was soon visible when the team members started to understand its advantages. 

Furthermore, SAFe has truly helped individual Agile teams to understand business priorities and requirements. Earlier in the day, the message got changed along the way or lost in translation – but now, everyone is aligned on the same page. With the help of the SAFe foundation, every person – from individual Agile teams to the upper management – will share the same goal & vision. As a result, the enterprise can focus on the most critical tasks that require attention.