SAFe 4.0 Introduction


Creating organizational adaptive capacity and building enterprise agility for the fast-moving world is a hot topic right now. We're seeing some opportunities to improve the way individuals and organizations adopt and apply Lean-Agile practices however - with some unhealthy anti-patterns emerging in current Agile Transformation efforts.

Agile promises much value and can (and routinely does, when applied appropriately) yield benefits in terms of reduced cycle time, increased productivity, better quality, increased engagement not to mention genuinely turning the organization into a true learning organization with the capability to pivot quickly at the strategic level when situation or environmental context changes.

However, there are some challenges. Agile is the most misunderstood (and subsequently, misapplied) management paradigm I've seen in recent history. Try it. Get 10 people in a room with post-it note and pen and ask them to write down the definition of Agile. And as for application, well, for most, Scrum = Agile and the ubiquitous Agile Coach (and we really mean Scrum Coach) is the main way organizations start their journey. To be clear, Scrum does not = Agile. If you want true enterprise agility, we recommend Scrum (it's great and has a place!) but its about 8% of the equation to true enterprise agility and adaptive capacity - i.e. think about strategy development, lean-agile budgeting, HR, portfolio Management, DevOps etc. Scrum does not address those areas nor was it designed to. And just be aware of the Agile Coach. Everyone and their grandmother seem to be an Agile Coach these days. Let me just truncate that thought by saying no-one I work with is an Agile Coach.

I'm not advocating it as a panacea or silver bullet, those really don't exist. But SAFe is the worlds de facto standard in Agile at scale for a reason: It's proven, over hundreds of enterprise level adoption initiative globally. Its a modular, freely revealed knowledge base and we have a very clear view of SAFe for the typical enterprise (3-level SAFe), larger enterprises (4-Level SAFe) and we'd encourage you to ask us about Essential SAFe, the minimal viable subset of elements (we've boiled it down to 10) to leverage the benefits of Lean-Agile in your people and across your organization.

By way of whetting the appetite, we recommend people spend just a few minutes skimming this SAFe 4.0 Introduction document. If some of this model pique's your interest, then we'd like to explain it a little more from a systems perspective, answer any questions you may have and demonstrate some of the behaviors, practices, techniques applied and how your organization can adopt an enterprise operating model.

And for those ready to take the next step, join us in Vancouver for Canada's first SAFe Advanced Scrum Master class (think Agile Program Management) for a strong and value-added entry point into understanding SAFe.

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