Mastering Large-Scale Agile Transformation: Harnessing SAFe® for Optimal Outcomes
Agile transformation at scale is a challenge — especially for large enterprises with complex organizational structures, longstanding ways of work, and multi-faceted dependencies.
Agile adoption has only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not all efforts have been successful. To create a pathway for innovation and new digital business it is highly beneficial to properly implement an agile framework, processes, practices, and tools.
Scaled Agile Framework — SAFe® — is the world’s leading framework for business agility. The system for implementing Agile, Lean, and DevOps practices at scale is used by more than 20,000 organizations globally. Aggregated case studies have revealed major improvements in time-to-market, productivity, quality, and employee engagement, all of which accelerate digital business initiatives and results.
One of the essential keys to success when implementing SAFe is to engage with a strong Scaled Agile Partner with capabilities to provide thought leadership, influence leaders, drive transformation and consult across the diverse spectrum of business agility, leadership, organizational agility, technical agility, portfolio management and funding.
Altimetrik has proven such Agile Transformation capability and has supported several enterprises deploy SAFe. Our expert Scaled Agile Practitioner team is highly experienced in consulting and leading SAFe Transformation as well as partnering with our clients on the ground to drive implementation and transform ways of work to achieve engineering excellence and value driven business outcomes.
Our “Four As” approach – Assessment, Awareness, Adoption and Accelerate – make our client’s scaled agile journey come to life quickly and with more impactful results. First, let’s start with the approach.
Define Your Approach
Our organization has helped many enterprises deploy SAFe® and we’ve seen it not only change the way technology teams work, but also enable better digital business outcomes. To achieve this, collaboration and partnership between business and technology teams is crucial to enable a holistic approach to transforming people, processes, and tools.
The Altimetrik Agile Transformation Roadmap has five key milestones for success:
- Explore the status quo
- Build the approach
- Initiate agile practices
- Scale up agile adoption
- Extend agile maturity
Following this path, enterprises can manage challenges, demonstrate results, measure progress, and justify outcomes.
Assessment: Unlock Quick Wins
Certified scaled agile practitioners can help enterprises strategize, plan, and deliver real and sustainable results through a scaled agile transformation journey. Our practitioners use structured, data-driven tools and techniques to gain initial insights, followed by surveys, monitoring, and a deep-dive analysis. Our Practitioners then compare those insights with industry-best practices and benchmarks to determine a maturity score.
We collaborate with our clients to determine a comprehensive picture of challenges and current ways they work. This snapshot covers demand management, portfolio planning, and reveals how the current system development lifecycle supports business goals.
Our practitioners have industry and domain expertise and can tap into an organization’s technology and talent to quickly engineer and deliver incremental business outcomes. The team can identify and eliminate barriers that inhibit change, freeing organizations to rewrite rules, rewire how they operate, and respond to shifting market demands and competitive challenges.
This collaborative process is designed to envision, prototype, and implement solutions with speed and agility. Our practitioners iterate ideas and solutions with client teams to uncover new ways to create value by applying data, technology, and ingenuity. Delivering quick hit outcomes drives efficiency and innovation.
Awareness: Spread the Practice with Broad Awareness
As a scaled agile partner, we collaborate with organizational leadership to build a cross functional transformation and partnership team that spreads awareness of agile principles and practices. This creates the support structure for practicing agile at scale.
During this phase we support our clients to establish the Agile Project Management Office and Lean Agile Center of Excellence, settle on governance models, and develop specific transformation plans. In parallel, we recommend that the organization nominates internal change agents as we roll out agile awareness workshops and training sessions to empower them to support the transformation.
At this point, implementation is near, and it is critical to clearly articulate commonly understood value streams across the organization so everyone understands the set of tactics that will drive the change the organization is seeking.
Adoption: Springboard from Pilot to full roll out
The adoption phase invariably starts with a pilot implementation to test and learn new agile practices, followed by a continuous launch of Agile Teams and Programs (or Agile Release and Solution Trains when implementing SAFe) and introduction of Lean Portfolio Management.
Our practitioners diligently prepare leaders, key role players and teams for their new roles and expectations, including driving cultural change to shift mindsets and changes through the ecosystem to enable expected business outcomes and goals.
Accelerate: Achieve Wider, Continuous Impact
At this stage, the most difficult challenge facing leaders is maintaining the same energy they brought to the shorter sprints of incremental progress and expanding it to a wider view of implementation. Ultimately, the goal is for the culture of the organization to transform, and stepping on the gas after adoption — not relaxing — will enable relentless improvement.
The emerging operating model and culture will be Lean- and Agile-dominant, ensuring consistent measurement, reinforcement of basics, and progress toward mastery. Organizations must then apply these learning across the enterprise.
Getting this final step right means business agility will spread faster across the organization with recognizable benefits strewn across the company’s portfolio.
To achieve your business outcomes and goals, ensure you’re partnering with certified scaled agile practitioners with a track record of results. When you do, you can optimize operations and customer experiences faster and be better positioned to capitalize on market opportunities.