As a part of the “Different Scaled Agile Frameworks Series, this article provides an overview of Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe® )combines Lean, Agile, and DevOps practices for business agility.
SAFe provides 4 Configurations Essential, Solution, Portfolio and Full.
The diagram below shows the focus and coverage differs for each configuration level
Figure : Four Configuration Levels Of SAFe
- At the team level, SAFe Teams generally practice combination of Scrum and various XP (eXtreme Programming) practices. Teams can opt to use some Kanban practices to manage their work.
The program level coordinates efforts across various teams with team with quarterly (8-12 weeks) Planning Interval (PI Planning) and an overarching team called the Agile Release Train (ART), Release Train Engineer, as a servant leader and coach who facilitates the ART events. At a Minimum the teams need to use an ART to use SAFe. This Level or Configuration is called “Essential SAFe”
- If you are working for a large product needing more than 50-125 people to develop, you need to Split the people into multiple ARTs. SAFe adds a concept called solution train to coordinate the various ARTs and a Solution Train Engineer whose role is similar to the RTE’s but at a more integrated level. This Configuration is called “Solution Level”
- The portfolio level manages development streams and coordinates with the other levels to ensure that agile release trains and solution trains align with strategic goals at the enterprise level.
Prescriptive Nature of Scaled Agile Framework
Many agile practitioners consider SAFe overly prescriptive and complex.
It does indeed prescribe many roles, events, and practices. They add quite some complexity and require significant investment and commitment to adopt. And to some extent, the added overheads do impact flexibility and individual teams ability to self manage
However, for large enterprises this can be a blessing in disguise. SAFe’s so called prescriptive nature provides concrete guidance. This guidance does not cause you to immediately overhaul your enterprise’s organizational structure or your product’s architecture to help minimize team dependencies. This means SAFe will guide your organization to maintain the stability and efficiency of the erstwhile