Being SAFe…

New job, new abstraction level (EA) and among the first points on the agenda is an introduction to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®)

As someone who has previously only had a high-level conceptual exposure to agile – but has always found the thinking behind quite appealing – actually seeing it work (or at least being implemented) is a bit of a revelation.

What strikes me is that it is very stringent, and at the same time very sensitive to context. At first glance SAFe® itself looks like a very detailed playbook, but go a little deeper and I don’t really see a prescriptive way of doing things here anyway. The (excellent) glossary of explanations is peppered with “context-based” words like “fit for purpose”, “excessive”, “combination of” and so on. So really, the success of the framework in a given organisation relates very closely to the ability of the organisation to interpret these variables and find the right level of application for the specific context. Now those previous struggles I’ve seen with making agile work in practice suddenly make a lot more sense…

Another thing that makes an impression is the extreme reliance on dedicated resources to ensure minimal delays in execution and communication. The culture clash with the world I came from where everyone is constantly booked on five projects at the same time is plainly obvious… and the changes required to the corporate culture in order to execute a successful pivot to agile methods in a single department (let alone a full enterprise transformation) are staggering!

Looking forward to seeing where this is going – it’s going to be both fun and highly educational I’m sure 🙂

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