Improving Team Agility is indispensable for SAFe

2022-06-15 14:08:10
ZenTao ALM
Original 92
Summary : Scaled agile is to program what Scrum is to agile teams. To create high-quality business solutions, enterprises must improve their capabilities, enhance team and technical agility, and achieve actual scaled agile.

Scaled agile is to program what Scrum is to agile teams. To create high-quality business solutions, enterprises must improve their capabilities, enhance team and technical agility, and achieve actual scaled agile.

Agile Release Train

Achieving team and technical agility first requires agile teams to unite around a common achievement goal.

Here, the "Agile Release Train (ART)" is extended: on the ART, there are reliable train schedules, fixed development rhythms, standard agile release speeds, and predictable plans. In addition, the personnel on the agile release train include Scrum Master, Product Manager, System Architect, etc.

In the agile release train, a virtual, self-organizing large organization composed of 5-12 agile teams conducts centralized development through a fixed development time to reach value delivery of the product. Since the entire train is moving in one direction, the people on the train all work at the same pace and keep their progress synchronized. This ensures that the people on the train have a shared vision and direction and can come up with a final solution.

The "release train" creates an environment that maximizes value delivery, innovation, and sustainability, unites the team around a common goal, and applies it to the established delivery model.

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SAFe Values

Under the guidance of agile values, each agile team shortens the feedback and delivery cycle through small batch and frequent delivery and adjusts the release plan according to changing user needs. Moreover, in the whole organization, each agile team is cross-functional, and all team members can quickly adapt to the skills required for cross-function, eliminating the possibility of handover and delay.

Typically, agile teams use various agile methods, including Scrum, XP, and Kanban, and most choose to configure their work events using the following Scrum practices.

  • The iterative cycle of the work is usually two weeks;
  • Breaking down work into small user stories;
  • Opening of planning meetings;
  • Holding stand-up meetings;
  • Ongoing presentation sessions;
  • Giving feedback and discussing improvements to the process.

In the premise that every team practices agile, SAFe puts forward several core values:

  1. Alignment - an agile organization is not a simple overlay of agile teams; its work must be based on the business objectives of the enterprise and bring out the power of 1+1 > 2, which requires Alignment among groups and a consistent action schedule based on the enterprise strategy.
  2. Transparency - it is necessary to show trust in other members of the team at work, and work transparency is the driving force to establish the mutual trust model among members of the group;
  3. Built-in Quality - Built-in quality drives the lean goal of delivering value in the shortest sustainable delivery time. Quality standards are present in all development processes and exist alongside project implementation and development.
  4. Program Execution - The agile release train was created to strengthen the team's ability to execute and continuously improve the delivery value.

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Built-in Quality

Built-in quality is of great significance in value delivery and is therefore extraordinarily important. Agile teams must create high-quality solutions and define their built-in quality practices, whether software, hardware-related, or otherwise. To prevent rework and delays, quality must be "built into" value creation with a built-in, stable standard that avoids the separation of value creation from quality standards.

There are several ways to practice the built-in quality:

  1. Establish Value Circulation Pipeline

    Agile teams need to eliminate the phases in the product development process that impede the flow of value to achieve rapid development and release of high-quality products.

  2. Collective Ownership and Its Criteria

    Collective ownership means that the development process is shared within a team or among multiple groups, and the absence of a single member does not affect product adjustments or development progress. Likewise, during the development process, production targets and their standards are set due to team members' deliberations and are not easily changed once they are established.

  3. Definition of Completion
    Unlike the production metrics and criteria mentioned above, a product can only be considered complete if the artifacts and larger value increments demonstrate that it meets quality standards and integrity.

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Although agile teams can achieve a good product integration effect within their groups, when multiple agile teams are combined, the agile implemented in small teams cannot connect the units, which will lead to a decline in development speed and product quality.

The "team and technical agility" emphasized by scaled agile requires all teams to focus on improving the built-in quality and cross-functional teams and build a solid and reliable bridge for scaled agile.

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