Key Characteristics that Enable Lean-Agile Enterprises to Deliver Values FAST!
Agile approaches to manage projects and deliver values are getting wider acceptance worldwide. Many articles have highlighted that the Agile innovation methods have greatly increase success rate in software development and other industries, improve quality and time to market over the past ~30 years. Many enterprises are also scaling the Agile teams for bigger projects, and adopting Lean-Agile approach to streamline and deliver values to customers fast, and foster innovation! One of the leading Lean-Agile framework is the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) for scaling Agile across the enterprise, from portfolio to program and team levels. There are a few key characteristics that contributes to the great success of SAFe® implementation in many enterprises. We highlights a few of them below:
The Lean-Agile Mindset is critical, it is the combination of beliefs, values and actions of SAFe leaders and practitioners who embrace the concepts of the Agile Manifesto and Lean thinking. It is the leadership foundation for adopting and applying SAFe principles and practices to enterprise. SAFe is based on Agile development, systems thinking, and Lean product development ( www.scaledagileframework.com ). In addition to Agile mindset and approach, the broader and deeper Lean-Agile mindset is required to support Lean and Agile development at scale across the entire enterprise!
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Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)
As the industry matures its Lean-Agile practices, more enterprises are now implementing Lean Portfolio Management (LPM). This involves a more extensive application of SAFe principles to formulate strategies, identify and fund value streams, evolve the governance structure, and align Agile teams to delivery values at a faster pace. The Lean portfolio process includes the Portfolio Kanban, as it defines the flow of new enterprise initiatives within a portfolio. The Kanban implements Lean-Agile principles on this level and describes the roles and activities of the portfolio process.
Aligning to Program and Agile Teams
SAFe® provides comprehensive guidelines for work at all enterprise levels, and can be configured depends on organization’s needs. In the Portfolio Configuration, there are 3 levels: Portfolio, Program and Team.
At the Portfolio level, the LPM formulates strategies, identifies and funds value streams, which then fuels the Agile Release Train in the Program Level.
At the Program Level, SAFe defines the Agile Release Train (ART). The ART can consists up to 12 teams (~125 individuals) that serves as the program-level delivery mechanism. The value stream in the Portfolio level funds and enables the ART to plan and continue to deliver values to customers. The ART aligns teams to a common mission, provides a routine of 8 to 12 weeks of Program Increment (PI). Each train has resources to define, build and test system solution every two-weeks, and can release software at the PI or any time the market demands.
The ART consists of many Agile teams. At the Team Level, Scrum framework with XP engineering practices are used. The team defines, build and test an increment of the software in a two-week time box. Each iteration is conducted in the context of an ART, which align multiple teams and iterations to a common mission!