Project Management

The FLEX Playbook For SAFe

From the Manifesting Business Agility Blog
by
This blog concerns itself with organizations moving to business agility—the quick realization of value predictably and sustainably, and with high quality. It includes all aspects of this—from the business stakeholders through ops and support. Topics will be far-reaching but will mostly discuss FLEX, Flow, Lean-Thinking, Lean-Management, Theory of Constraints, Systems Thinking, Test-First and Agile.

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SAFe often achieves unjamming dev orgs that hadn't been able to work together. However, true organizational agility requires the creation of a network of semi-autonomous teams working together to deliver value to customers. After organizing people into ARTs that have the abilities to build products it is important to be able to decompose these ARTs into smaller teams, each aligned to a particular product. SAFe, unfortunately, provides little guidance in how to do this, often resulting in a stagnated SAFe adoption. 

FLEX's playbook for SAFe is designed to accomplish the decomposition of ARTs to align to business stakeholders, shorten the horizon for planning and allow agile budgeting,all the while simplifying SAFe. This playbook has 4 phases:

1. Improve in place. Use 2 new concepts &a few plays to improve SAFe’s core practices.
2. Restructure teams & shorten their planning cycles. Use Lean thinking to decompose ARTs into dedicated product teams
3. Align teams to business stakeholders. Achieve the desired network of semi-autonomous teams aligned with business stakeholders. Move to agile budgeting as possible.
4. Guided continuous improvement. Continue tuning your methods, trains and workflows by attending to flow.

Posted on: April 23, 2020 08:58 PM | Permalink

Comments (3)

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Very interesting., thanks for sharing

Hi Ai,

So yo are trying to fill the gaps of SAFe , how is the SAFe community receiving these advice's? are open minded or they have an answer to every solution that is recommended ?

Alexandre Costa

Alexandre - thanks for the question. The start is filling the gaps. That's easy and I have had several people tell me that my suggestion to use Minimum Business Increments, Dedicated Product Teams and look at SAFe from a value stream perspective (workflow) have made huge improvements in their SAFe implementations. This is essentially phase 1- improve in place.

But SAFe has a couple of fundamental challenges with it that works against becoming truly Agile. Those are in the later phases.

So it's more than filling in the gaps, it's changing much of the paradigm of SAFe.

There are three "SAFe communities".
1) SAI trainers and SAFe fellows. These folks don't like me because I'm hurting their brand. Over the years they've taken many of my ideas and incorporated them into SAFe, but that seems to be lessening (I was the first SPC Trainer outside of SAI, a contributor to SAFe and a gold partner).
2) SPCTs - many use my ideas and agree with me, but can't speak out because that would violate their terms of agreement with SAI. I like to help these folks when I can
3) SPC doing SAFe. Many of these folks try to take on my ideas. Many have drunk the cool-aid and don't attend to me.

My intention is to help practitioners and open-minded trainers.

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