The good thing about SAFe is that it provides guidance to anyone who feel the task of finding out “what works for us”, or even answering “where do we start”, too daunting. While there’s a lot of criticism to SAFe, there’s may be merit in using it as a starting point. It will numb down Scrum to some simple mechanics that the engineers should adopt, which is a bit sad, but if you can see beyond this oversimplification - then this is may be a good first step on your path to agility.
If found this very good summary:
At the highest level, the SAFe sales pitch is: “SAFe is Scrum AND.” They’ve productized agile.* in a way that makes it very clear and thus easy to buy. They back it up with techniques to actually do these things.
* == release mngt, portfolio mngt, managers, architecture, product mngt, etc, etc, etc
That obviously doesn’t mean it leads to increased agility. Adding “agile” to the name of something doesn’t make it agile to follow a predefined set of practices. SAFe probably will help organizations /do/ something, eventually get something out the door and perhaps open some eyes to the world of agility. It probably will not help make organizations agile.
Or as I overheard on the internetz (forgot the source):
a sure, safe and sound way to adapt “agile” to your organization’s short comings.
What follows are links to articles, blog posts etc on SAFe.
- Lyssa Adkins provides here from an Agile Coach point of view, I see issues with Agile Manifesto principles (“best architectures … emerge from selforganizing teams” vs Architectural Runways, to name one)
- Comparison of SAFe and LeSS (slides).
- Summary of 41 things … about SAFe
- Make sure you read the comment by Tomas Mayer (Agilist at Yahoo amongst other things) on whether SAFe has cracked the Large Agile Adoption nut.
- ThoughtWork’s Mingle team is both positive and not as positive.
Thinking of behavior and capability rather than process conformance will help organizations deploy and scale their agile adoptions. It might be easier to measure process adoption than underlying competency, but […], it is not really about the process.
Clearly Have Something Against SAFe
- Is SAFe Bad? Is it unsafe? Is it Agile? Are there alternatives?
- Dave Snowden: “Put brutally SAFe seemed to be PRINCE II camouflaged in Agile language. SCRUM as an approach was emasculated in a small box to the bottom right of a hugely overcomplicated linear model. The grandiose name of a dependency map was applied to something which is no different from a PERT chart and in general what we had is an old stale wine forced into shiny new wineskins.”
- Good Resources on Scaling Agile and Scrum
- On the topic of Cost of Delay and prioritizing (not ordered backlog) Weighted Shortest Job First
- LeSS Course Feedback - Unfortunately, frameworks like SAFe® and DAD, have moved away from certain Agile principles in order to compromise with existing reality of large organisations. It is true, one cannot just simply introduce Agile principles and values in large organisations, unless structure and culture is also fundamentally changed. Since we know how difficult this is, these frameworks have adjusted Scrum and many practices in order to make a fit with existing structures and culture.