What is Scaled Agile?

5 Oct · 4 min read

What is Scaled Agile?

The Scaled Agile Framework (or SAFe) is an Agile development framework that allows you to implement lean Agile and Scrum practices for various leading enterprises. Created by Dean Leffingwell and others, the framework is a leading solution for medium and large organizations. The framework is not a standalone methodology but a comprehensive knowledge base including guidance on roles and responsibilities, planning, and managing the workflow effectively. Although, there are many versions released for Scaled Agile Framework in the past years while the latest edition is the 5.1 version which was released in February 2021. In this article, we will discuss benefits, and important insights related to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) for better knowledge.

Benefits of Scaled Agile Framework

1) Reduced Time to Market

The implementation of the scaled agile framework in enterprises helps them in shorter time to market. The framework has the capability to align with cross-functional teams to fulfil the requirements of the customers. In fact, the adoption of SAFe® will ensure better decision-making, and effective communication to focus on the end-user in an appropriate manner.

2) Enhanced Productivity 

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) results in increased productivity as it ensures smooth collaboration and communication across teams. It empowers team members in a way that results in high-performance achievement. The use of SAFe® enabled strategy will reduce the unnecessary employee workload, continuous improvement along with the right implementation of several workflows.

3) Improved Quality 

The first and foremost reason every organization focuses on is to deliver and develop products that guarantee quality. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) consists of the best in-built quality features across all business environments. Quality is required in every step of the development cycle. It serves as a vital component especially for large enterprises to avoid rework and interrupted bugs.

4) Ensuring Transparency 

Maintaining transparency throughout the implementation of the Scaled Agile Framework makes each process to be intact. Transparency sets a strong foundation across development teams to boost innovation and creativity. Tracking the progress of the framework will result in effective communication across teams to highlight what works and what does not.

5) Employee Satisfaction

Incorporating the Scaled Agile Framework into your organization will make your team happy with streamlined workflows. The practices involved in SAFe® are focused on aligning teams with a common mission to produce high-quality software. Organizations using SAFe® have appropriate tools to reduce employee workload and ensure satisfaction.  This makes life of employees easier and free from hassle. 

Now, it’s time to explore different levels of the Scaled Agile Framework in detail. 

What are the different levels of SAFe?

There are four different levels of Scaled Agile Framework which are as follows: 

1) Essential SAFe: This is the basic level that sets the strong foundation for all other configurations. It works on two different levels for both product managers and team members. Essential SAFe is the perfect fit for enterprises in search of maximum simplicity while transforming into an Agile-driven organization. 

2) Large SAFe: This is the level defined above Essential SAFe. Large SAFe is specially designed for enterprises that are focused on building large-scale solutions and complex applications. It incorporates transparency and organized workflows to ensure successful development throughout.

3) Portfolio SAFe: Portfolio SAFe is the level where strategies are aligned with development solutions through one or more value streams. It works at three different levels for portfolio managers, product managers, and various team members. This level consists of roles, artifacts, practices, events, etc. You can easily implement agile and lean practices to deliver your best portfolio work. If you’re a portfolio manager, you can monitor and track activities by accessing the Portfolio SAFe level on SAFe board.

4) Full SAFe: Full SAFe is the comprehensive level that integrates all four levels. This level is specifically used by large enterprises to maintain portfolios of complex and large solutions. It is used by large teams working on solutions that require the development and maintenance of multiple workflows. 

Is it SAFe for Your Company?

With the promising offerings, SAFe is surely becoming the game changer for organizations undergoing the agile transition. However, implementing SAFe is not everyone’s cup of tea as it requires a lot of planning and documentation. Many big companies such as Cisco, Fitbit, Barclays, Ericsson, John Deere, and so on are killing at scaling agile with their right mind set and structured approach. With improved collaborations and cross-team alignment, these companies have cracked this framework to pivot quickly into a dynamic environment. Thus, making SAFe indeed a safe option for your organization. 

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