Author: Helen Lubchak
SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) is the most popular scaling agile framework, which has been confirmed by the research conducted by the leading companies of the years 2017 – 2019. And yet we still hear a lot of myths related to the framework which we would like to debunk, shall we?
Myth # 1: It is an overly difficult framework
SAFe is a construction kit with 4 configurations easily adapted to a variety of companies, products, and projects. If you have a relatively small team (e.g., 50+ people), you should consider Essential SAFe consisting of two levels, with one of which you are already familiar, namely, the teams’ level.
And if you have thousands of people, it makes sense to get acquainted with Full SAFe (to operate budgets, organize flows of business idea validation, etc.) or with Large Solution (if you face only the organizational part of business without getting too much into its business one). However, if there are up to 125 people and you need to organize budgets, validation of hypotheses, etc., then you should consider Portfolio SAFe.
Myth # 2: SAFe is solely for an Enterprise
Undoubtedly, when you see such giants using SAFe as SONY, KLM, HP, Intel, and the like, you immediately feel that the framework itself is monstrous and hard as if having been built specifically for them. Not quite 😊
Due to its flexibility and a particular approach to the framework as to a construction kit, it is as suitable for small-sized companies as for large ones. In our consulting experience, small-sized companies with 30 to 50 people have successfully utilized SAFe. The same applies to similar projects in outsourcing for 30 – 50 people.
Myth # 3: Communication is hard, especially when it comes to making it possible between 20000 people
We all remember well the schedule where the number of communications in a team is growing rapidly along with the increase of the number of people involved in the team. However, despite all the difficulties there are efficient ways to better this process. In SAFe there extra ceremonies (PI Planning, ART Sync ups, Inspect & Adapt workshop, etc.) which are minute-precise.
And the actual existence of such a precise timing in a schedule and such a detailed list of questions to be discussed allow to focus on communication. Besides, the roles of moderator and facilitator are becoming increasingly popular. And here is when the additional roles are introduced, namely, RTE, STE, whose main tasks are specifically to facilitate and moderate such events. Hence, the framework itself embraces special roles, ceremonies, artifacts to simplify the communication process.
Myth #4: SAFe is inapplicable in Ukraine as we do not have such major projects
And here we are ready to bet on the fact that we do have such large projects in Ukraine. Our specialists have been working on a variety of projects since 2014. Moreover, our colleagues have successfully worked not only in Kyiv with the framework but also in Lviv, Kharkiv, and other cities. Nowadays, SAFe has become a sort of a mainstream, and it makes complete sense that more and more companies employ it in their work.
Myth # 5: There is no safe and easy way to implement Scaled Agile Framework
The question is to the culture of implementing a change at your company as a whole, rather than the framework. As once you take change management professionally, there are people who realise how and why something needs to be done, and implementation plan is first developed and then executed while you actively work with all the resistance and hear feedback, then you should not experience any problems with the implementation 😊 And if it is a certain unpredictability you fear of, then SAFe is here again to your rescue as it already provides an already developed Implementation Roadmap which you may always customise to your specific project or company.
We do hope that we have managed to debunk at least some of the myths. We will be happy to see you at our Certified Training Leading SAFe 5.1 and to discuss this subject in person!