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With an objective to enable continuous learning and progression for our learners, PremierAgile curated several learning articles. Out of a wide range of topics, you can choose to learn from the real-world experiences by practitioners in the areas of Agile, Scrum, Product Ownership, Scaling, Agile Leadership, Tools & Frameworks, latest market trends, new innovations etc.

How does SAFe Benefit Organizations

Scaled Agile has helped different organizations to remain relevant, execute large and complex projects delivering quality and valuable results. Scaled Agile benefits different organizations in improving production, collaboration and quick response to changes and customers’ requirements. 

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) was first developed and released in 2011 by a veteran Agile software engineer Dean Leffingwell. It is developed for large and complex organizations that want to take advantage of Scaled Agile Framework in the execution of large projects.

There are different frameworks used in scaling Agile but the most adopted framework is SAFe.  

What is SAFe

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a proven Agile framework that allows Agile to be scalable by enterprises or organizations for the execution of plans of the entire organization. It aims at increasing organizations productivity and services. 

The Scaled Agile Framework is based on four core values which are; alignment, built-in quality, transparency and program execution. SAFe combines learning from proven Agile methods to create a plan that quickly meets the customer's requirements as it provides an easy and simple experience for software development. It operates on three levels which include; portfolio management, program and team. On the team level, it works very much like standard Scrum. The teams consist of the Product Owners, Software Developers, Testers and Scrum Masters working to deliver the large solution to customers requirements and complex projects. SAFe involves multiple teams to scale Agile to meet customers requirements and organizations development. 

The teams in SAFe collaborate and cooperate to independently make decisions for the growth of the organization. Each team in scaled Agile is Agile in nature. The team usually consists of 9 to 11 members who are Agile, working on a specific software goal. A system team is responsible for delivering and testing software after every 1 to 2 weeks which are called Sprints or iterations. The content for the Sprint is determined by the Product Owner who is in charge of the Product Backlog. The Sprint begins with a planning meeting where the team comes together to decide which User Stories they will be able to fully deliver by the end of the sprint. After the plan or User Stories have been set out, the team meets each day to discuss their progress. At the end of the Sprint, the team got together with the Product Owner to demo what they had done to be sure they had carefully delivered what the Product Owner wanted. The team gets together again to continue discussing and reviewing their previous user stories to know what they can improve on before starting to recycle again with a new planning meeting. 

The team planning meeting is guided by a Scrum Master to ensure that the teams collaborate and cooperate smoothly within the process and make sure it keeps improving both in knowledge and agility.  At the program level, a team is composed of multiple teams working together to deliver valuable services. The number of teams can range from 50 to 125 people which includes all the roles and infrastructure needed to deliver good working, tested, and system-level software. These teams also time box their efforts into potential Program Increment (PI) to deliver bigger and better working software. The Program Increment duration is 8 to 12 weeks. Each Program Increment is a multiple iteration time box with which a significant valuable increment of the system is developed and delivered. At the program level, the value of SAFe is delivered by Agile Release Trains (ART). ART is the primary vehicle for value delivery at the program level. It helps deliver a value stream to the organizations. The train is controlled by a Release Train Engineer who acts as the Train’s Scrum Master and also the Program Manager at the program level. The third level of a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is portfolio management. It involves the collective ideas and values of the organization. It helps provide basic budgeting and other control mechanisms for increases and returns necessary for the organization. This level helps dictate directions to all the team members by simply allocating budgets along with the investment teams and creating a backlog of portfolio-level epics that need to be addressed by the train's Product Manager. Portfolio Management has the highest level of interest in SAFe. 

How does SAFe benefit organizations?

With the large and a great number of benefits associated with Scaling Agile Framework, different organizations have resorted to using it to increase their services and in the execution of large and complex projects. The broad knowledge and experience offered by the Scaled Agile framework can bring lots of benefits to the teams and organization.  The Scaled Agile framework helps in improving the working process and also provides valuable results and services. Here are some of the benefits of a Scaled Agile framework.

Increase in quality

In an increasingly volatile world, organizations and software engineers have attempted to keep up with the rapid changes and increasing products quality and services by using a Scaled Agile framework. SAFe has good quality practices that help organizations to remain relevant and stay afloat. Scaled Agile Framework helps to improve or add quality to the services of the organization to the customers. The increased quality helps to ensure longevity, how long the product and services can perform. Organizations use quality to strive for excellence and perfection, as it helps organizations remain relevant and afloat in a rapidly changing and competitive environment.

Increase in productivity  

Increased productivity means greater output from the same amount of input. Organizations benefit from Scaled Agile Framework as it helps in the collaboration and smooth cooperation of team members. This helps them to have a clear understanding of the product plan and be able to execute it properly thereby increasing production. SAFe also empowers the team to eliminate unnecessary workloads and delays.

Transparency 

Scaled Agile Framework brings transparency to the organization as it breaks down the traditional silos of development, operations and also facilitates cross-functional operation. Organizations benefit from SAFe as it makes the top management and team members transparent, sharing their ideas and knowledge openly. This also generates confidence imperative for innovation, development, and continuous improvement. 

Short time to market 

The use of the Scaled Agile Framework allows organizations to deliver valuable services to their customers quickly. Scaled Agile Framework helps in quick decision making concerning how to make available the customer’s requirements. 

Alignment 

This is one of the core benefits of a Scaled Agile framework. Organizations benefit from it as it aligns all the levels of the organization involved in solution development. SAFe ensures that both the top management and the members of Agile teams share the same goal and vision. Thus, making the organization focus on the most important topic or project at hand.

High customer engagement 

The Scaled Agile framework helps the organization to meet up customers’ criteria. The customers are involved in the planning of organization development as they send their reviews and suggestions on the previous services. These reviews from the customers will help the organization know what and where to improve on.

Conclusion

SAFe is a proven framework. The adoption of a Scaled Agile Framework has helped different organizations to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. It has helped organizations improve in quality, increase production, and also smooth cooperation of the Agile team members. Scaled Agile Framework(SAFe) helps large organizations to meet the organization's primary goal and as well provide a good result. Software development organizations and software engineers have resorted to adopting a Scaled agile framework in order to enjoy the benefits brought by this framework so as to remain visible in the ever-changing marketplace and also achieve their competitive advantage.

References 
  1. https://scaledagile.com/what-is-safe/scaled-agile-benefits/
  2. https://www.wrike.com/agile-guide/what-is-safe/
  3. https://medium.com/serviceclarity-kpis/6-benefits-of-applying-scaled-agile-framework-31dfd5814ec2


Author

Paula

Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.