Everything you need to know about Essential SAFe
Organizations thinking about scaling their agile teams and progress with their digital transformation often come across the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). SAFe was developed to enable and carry agile processes beyond the entirety of the actual development teams. While SAFe is a great starting point to kick off your agile journey, it can be quite complicated to find your way through at the beginning. Anyone getting familiar with SAFe® processes for the first time might feel overwhelmed by the abundance of terms and components. In practice, all these elements should fit together and mesh to ensure an optimal process.
SAFe® can be implemented in four different configurations. Your choice depends on individual requirements, size of the organization, and the scope and number of products. These configurations are Essential SAFe® (the heart and the core of SAFe®), Portfolio SAFe®, Large Solution SAFe®, Full SAFe®. Today we're going to take a closer look at Essential SAFe.
As the name suggests, Essential SAFe® is the essential foundation of the framework. The vast majority of people involved in product development work in teams, which in turn are grouped into a "Team of Teams." Agile Release Trains enable the delivery of functionality to an entire value stream. As an agile framework, SAFe® creates an environment in which as much decision-making power and responsibility as possible is delegated to the teams through decentralized, strategy-compliant decision-making.
Let's start with the teams that are involved. Most development teams work with Scrum and/or Kanban. If this is the case, they manage their sprints (or iterations) as usual - keeping in mind that SAFe® requires the same cadence. Teams use their Jira boards to plan, execute, and review their development tasks, organize stories, and stay on track.
What are Team Reports? Team Reports present relevant team metrics. This is done in the form of tables in an overall view, according to SAFe® specifications. Each team has an automatically generated view, maintained with real-time data, for each of its respective team projects.
Agile Release Trains (ARTs)
The idea of enabling interdependent teams to jump on an Agile Release Train and create value incrementally-iteratively and on a large scale in a shared cadence is the very heart of SAFe. This is where the magic happens.
There is no SAFe without PI Planning. This event is one of the most important components of working with the Scaled Agile Framework. Everyone involved in an Agile Release Train meets in person for a two-day planning session to gain a shared understanding of mission and vision, development, business goals, identify dependencies between teams and beyond, and plan the overall cadence in advance.
The event marks the change between PI's, e.g., in a 10-week rhythm. The Release Train Engineer (RTE), who acts as a Scrum Master for the entire ART, is responsible for the event.
The benefits of Essential SAFe for your organization
There are many benefits to starting with Essential SAFe for everyone involved in the transformation process. Essential SAFe provides the relevant roles, artifacts, events, and mindset for ARTs to deliver one or more desirable, feasible, viable, and sustainable Solutions or parts of a Solution. The ART's long-lived, flow-based, self-organizing nature is what powers SAFe and ultimately enables Business Agility.
Starting out with Essential SAFe can provide the following benefits:
- Enables teams to align their vision around product features
- Provides a clear visual of the most critical prioritizations
- Ensures short-term wins are generated as soon as possible to convince more stakeholders and lead the change
- Aligns all team members on what’s most important at any given time
- Keeps track of specific product launch and release dates.
- Ships a product and solve issues relatively quickly
- Brings constant value to stakeholders and customers.
Essential SAFe with Agile Hive for Jira
When starting out with SAFe, it often comes down to the question, "how do we this for our systems and processes?". We designed a simple and flexible, SAFe solution for Jira.
Agile Hive helps you integrate the Scaled Agile Framework as an agile scaling concept, roll it out across the entire enterprise and make the best use of it in the long term. As an app for Jira, it provides the required hierarchy levels, artifacts, and workflows, as well as help processes and to aggregate relevant evaluations.
Learn more about SAFe®
Want to get a more in-depth look into Essential SAFe and the other SAFe Configurations? You can download our Whitepaper or look at our other SAFe Ressources.
SAFe® with Atlassian tools: Get to know Agile Hive now!
Would you like to know more about Agile Hive and the software-supported implementation of SAFe®? We would be happy to discuss your requirements for enterprise-wide agile product development and product management with you. Take a look at our Implementation Project documentation to see an overview of what an implementation would entail.