Viewing entries tagged
SAFe

Confessions of a De-Scaler

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Confessions of a De-Scaler

This is a bit uncomfortable for me to admit, but I have some confessions to make…

  • I’m a SAFe SPC;

  • I’ve attended a 2-day Nexus training;

  • I plan on attending / co-teaching Scrum @ Scale with Don MacIntyre in September;

  • I’ve studied (I mean studied!) and contrasted DAD and LeSS;

  • I’ve actively coached SAFe organizations;

  • I’ve been leveraging simple scaling techniques (Scrum of Scrums, bits of SAFe) for well over a decade.

So, it’s fair to say that “agile scaling” is in my bones, in my DNA, and that I’m fairly experienced. And it’s incredibly easy for me to meet a larger scale client and begin discussing scaling aspects quite early in our coaching relationship.

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What’s Safe in SAFe?

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What’s Safe in SAFe?

To be fair, I’ve been fairly critical of some aspects of the Scaled Agile Framework. And even though I’m a SPC, I still don’t blindly install SAFe in many of my clients. That being said, there are a majority of my clients who are using (or planning on using) SAFe, so I get exposed to it quite often.

While I personally struggle with the agileness of much of SAFe, in the spirit of fairness, I do think there are concepts in the framework that are healthy and useful. So let me share a few of those...

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Revisiting Sprint Reviews...

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Revisiting Sprint Reviews...

I honestly believe that having high-energy and high-impact Sprint Reviews truly differentiates high-performance agile teams and organizations. It's very much of a "Show Me the Money" moment for the team. It allows the team to be transparent and demonstrate their results. It allows the organization to provide feedback. And it serves as a progress baseline / milestone so as to measure progress towards established goals. And finally, it should be cause for "celebration".

In many ways, agile delivery is about Earned Value, and EV is demonstrated one sprint at a time.

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Forecasting: Is it EVIL in Agile Portfolio’s?

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Forecasting: Is it EVIL in Agile Portfolio’s?

I’m often quite wordy in my blogs. I’ll pose an initial question in the title, throw out a thousand words or so, and then present a conclusion. I’m not going to do that here. Instead I’ll be much more succinct.

Is forecasting evil in agile portfolios?

YES!

The context for this conclusion and subsequent discussion is three-fold:

  1. Forecasting when you are just building your agile teams OR are in the early stages of an agile transformation;
  2. And, when you’ve been doing agile for awhile, and you’ve become overconfident with your capacity awareness;
  3. And forecasting in this sense is anyone determining how large or how long something will take and NOT fully engaging their team in the estimation, planning and forecasting. 

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Reactions from my SAFe SPC certification class

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Reactions from my SAFe SPC certification class

Last week I attended a 4-day Scaled Agile Framework class with a result of sitting for my SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) test. A few days after the class, I received an email telling me I passed the exam. I am now a proud and newly minted SPC. This enables me to teach several SAFe courses, to kick-off and coach Agile Release Trains (PSI’s), and to generally coach organizations that are adopting SAFe.

But to be honest, I’m still digesting SAFe. It’s not that I’m having trouble with the concepts or approaches. It’s more so that I’m having a challenge fitting them into my own experience in a useful way. You see much of what I learned in the class I’ve been using and doing for a long time in my own agile journey. But I’ve couched those techniques under Scrum of Scrums for agile scaling—and with fairly good success.

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Scaled Agile Framework - Is it SAFe?

I attended an Agile Leadership Network (ALN-Raleigh/Durham) meeting a few weeks ago where Dean Leffingwell presented the Scaled Agile Framework. It was a solid meeting and quite thought provoking.

As with any "good" meeting, I went away thinking about what I heard, the contrasts against my own experience, and tried to sort through my reactions - both good & bad.

I've written some of them down in this article. I hope it comes off even handed, while still clearly communicating my concerns.

I guess the point is: Is SAFe...safe? I'm not quite sure yet ;-)

Thanks for listening,

Bob.