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5 Things You Should Know About the Scaled Agile Framework

5 Things You Should Know About the Scaled Agile Framework

5 Things You Should Know About the Scaled Agile Framework

Do you know everything you need to know about the scaled agile framework? Find out more to expand your knowledge today.

Keyword(s): scaled agile framework

Did you know 81% of countries participating in a KPMG global survey show a strong uptake on Agile change in the last 3 years?

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a collection of organizational and workflow principles. These principles are for applying agile techniques in the Enterprise. The framework is a body of knowledge.

It provides systematic instruction on roles and responsibilities. It also provides job planning and management as well as upholding principles.

It's intended to provide a comprehensive knowledge base of proven best practices. These are best practices that real teams have used to build successful software products.

Are you acquainted with the scaled agile framework? Learn more and broaden your horizons now.

A Brief History of SAFe

In 2011, Dean Leffingwell, a software industry veteran, wrote a book 'Agile Software Requirements.' He coined the term "Agile Enterprise Big Picture." The Big Picture explained how to use existing agile frameworks like Lean, Kanban, Scrum, and XP at the Team, Program, and Portfolio levels.

SAFe's concepts aren't really new. In reality, one of the Framework's fundamental features, flow, was first recorded in the 1930s. That was by Shigeo Shingo and Taiichi Ohno as the Toyota Production System (translated to Lean manufacturing).

SAFe has become one of the most popular software development frameworks. It encompasses an entire library of knowledge, and success patterns are available completely free.

Why Scaled Agile Framework?

SAFe encourages big groups of agile teams to coordinate, collaborate, and deliver products. There are three main knowledge bases:

  • Agile software development
  • Lean product development
  • Systems thinking

SAFe provides a structured methodology. That methodology is for scaling agile as enterprises increase in scale.

SAFe Is Constantly Evolving

To keep up with the fast rate of change in the business sector, SAFe is continually refining its concepts. SAFe is dedicated to helping you win in the post-digital economy. That's done by knowing markets, evolving business guidance, and assisting you in supporting others.

It is for this reason that you should seek SAFe training and certification.

Here Are 5 Things You Should Know About SAFe

What is scaled agile framework? SAFe has four core values that outline the culture that leadership must develop and how employees should behave inside that culture.

  • Alignment
  • Built-in Quality
  • Transparency
  • Program execution

These are the four Core Values that define SAFe's effectiveness. These guiding principles guide everyone involved in a SAFe portfolio's behavior and actions.

1. The First Core Value Is Alignment

SAFe mandates that organizations establish planning and pause and reflect cadences suited to the teams' capacity. Just like when your car's wheels are out of alignment, and it becomes tough to steer.

Without alignment, the enterprise becomes more and more difficult to guide. All levels of the portfolio keep in sync by synchronizing people and activities regularly. In contrast to typical top-down command and control architectures, data flows both upward and downward on time.

Empowerment, autonomy, and decentralized decision-making are all enabled by alignment. That allows teams who drive value to make better informed local decisions.

2. Built-In Quality

You should never sacrifice quality for agility in the SAFe framework. SAFe mandates that teams at all levels specify what "done" means for each job or project. Also, that quality development techniques be baked into every product contract.

Some of the essential dimensions of built-in quality are:

  • Flow
  • Architecture and design quality
  • Code quality
  • System quality
  • Release quality

Quality isn't something that can be "added later." Without it, the organization will likely run with big batches of unverified, unvalidated work, which is necessary for Lean and flow. Excessive rework and slower speeds are most likely outcomes.

3. Transparency Core Value

It isn't easy to develop a solution. Things go awry or don't go according to plan. Without transparency, facts become hazy, and decisions are made based on speculative assumptions and a lack of evidence.

A secret can't be fixed. Trust is required to ensure openness. When a business or development can safely rely on another to perform with integrity, especially in tough times, trust exists.

No one can develop high-performance teams and programs without trust. No one can develop (or rebuild) the confidence needed to make and keep acceptable pledges without it. Working environments that lack trust are far less enjoyable and motivating.

4. Program Execution

SAFe's program execution is at its core, and it drives everything else in the ecosystem. Teams and projects must be able to deliver high-quality, functional software and business value consistently.

None of SAFe's other features matter if teams can't execute and generate value consistently. As a result, SAFe focuses heavily on working systems and business goals.

Many companies begin the change with individual Agile teams. But as those teams fail to provide more meaningful amounts of solution value, they become disillusioned.

Having an aligned, transparent, and built-in quality ethos will enable the team to focus on execution. Using the Inspect and Adapt sessions to continuously assess delivery and make changes when required, without doubt, strengthens the development of high-quality products.

5. Leadership Is Important

The active backing of Enterprise Leadership and a Continuous Learning Culture are prerequisites for successful SAFe development. Individuals and teams are empowered to fulfill their full potential by SAFe leaders. These leaders should create and sustain organizational change and operational excellence.

They are the only ones with the authority to change and improve the processes that regulate how work is done. Also, only these leaders have the ability to foster a climate that allows high-performing Agile teams to thrive and add value.

As a result, leaders must internalize and demonstrate leaner methods of thinking and acting. That is so their teams can benefit from their guidance, coaching, and support.

Get Training!

Agile scaled agile framework approaches have proven to be adaptable to small teams. But most firms today work across joint projects, complicated systems, and geographic boundaries.

This necessitates a scaled agile framework across the organization. That is to take full advantage of; faster delivery, higher-quality products, and faster response to customer inquiries.

However, due to a lack of suitable structure and processes, agile transformations on such a big scale are prone to failure, resulting in agile implementations not having the desired impact.

Contact us if you require training or consultancy services in the following categories: Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Strategy audit & implementation, as well as Agile Program/Portfolio management.

What Does It Mean to Be SAFe Certified?

What Does It Mean to Be SAFe Certified?

What Does It Mean to Be SAFe Certified?

Lean-Agile enterprises want to know that their potential hires are trained and able to do work. A SAFe certified candidate has credibility. Here are the details

Keyword(s): safe certified

In a global market, every edge counts when you’re trying to accelerate time-to-market and enhance customer experiences. Many companies have turned to agile frameworks to help them improve their development speed and quality.

This means learning how to work in an agile environment can improve your career prospects, both in terms of salary and job opportunities. Becoming SAFe certified shows your commitment to the framework and that you can handle a role in an agile environment.

But what does it mean to be SAFe certified? How do you get it, what’s involved, and how do you benefit? Let’s take a look at this globally recognized designation and what it can mean for your career.

What Is SAFe?

SAFe is an acronym for Scaled Agile Framework, which is certified by Scaled Agile, Inc. It’s the leading framework in use today with more than a third of companies around the world deploying it in some fashion.

The SAFe method integrates lean and agile principles within a structure of workflow patterns for companies to follow. The goal is to make it easy for companies to scale agile across their organization to meet project and strategic goals. While it started in the software development world, you’ll find the concept applied in many different departments these days at enterprise and government agency alike.

Companies turn to SAFe because it provides a well-documented and proven framework for running projects. The structure provides a people-centric view focused on delivering quality products and a clear structure for roles and events.

What Is SAFe Certification?

SAFe’s professional certification is a means of assessing the skills, knowledge, and mindset of those who work in agile environments. Certified professionals have shown their ability to support company initiatives and transformations in a lean and agile enterprise.

To get certified, you have to pass a special test to show you understand the SAFe principles as they relate to your role. These certifications can build on each other as they come in three levels:

  • Foundational
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

There are specific courses you are required to take before you can sit for the exam, most of which are now available online. These include SAFe for Architects, Advanced SCRUM master, and project management. For most exams, you also have to have work experience in specific areas before you can sit for the test.

The focus of the exams is on showing you have the skills and knowledge to perform the job. Beyond the course, you’re encouraged to read recommended books and tap into videos and other resources to study.

The certification process works as follows:

  • Attend the course required for the exam
  • Study with the materials provided
  • Take the practice test
  • Take the exam
  • Join the SAFe community

Who Gets SAFe Certified

If you’re already working in the SCRUM and agile world, you have likely considered SAFe certification as a means of moving up the career ladder. With more than 700,000 people trained in SAFe, it’s a stable career path to take.

Because there are so many different types of certification, a wide range of people who work in different roles might go for certification. Which you choose will depend on the job you do, will do, or want to be doing after you get certified.

For many roles, certification can make the difference in whether you get the job or not. It gives employers a sense of security to know the person they hire has proven their ability to do the job.

If you are or want to be a SCRUM master, there are two different certifications depending on your current level of experience. For product owners, there is a specific certification just for you.

For members of a development team, the practitioner certification guides you to understand your role within a large-scale agile environment.

SAFe even has certifications targeted to those at the manager, director, or executive level. These courses and certificates are designed to help people in those roles understand the framework from a management perspective so they can manage the company’s agile strategy.

Benefits of Certification

Because most people getting certified are trying to advance their careers, SAFe is a popular choice of certification as it is globally recognized. The name SAFe gives you immediate credibility as most employers recognize the value of the SAFe certification process.

Certification almost guarantees you will be able to get a higher salary package no matter where you work. In fact, you might find your work prospects grow as you will be in higher demand and have access to the SAFe community to network. Any job that requires certification will now be open to you, and you’ll be able to add a digital badge to your resume to show your achievement.

Begin Your SAFe Study Today

If you’re interested in becoming SAFe certified and advancing your career, you have a lot of options with different types of certifications and training courses. Your choice should be dictated by the career path you plan to take and where you have weaknesses to shore up or knowledge gaps to overcome.

Today, it’s easier than ever to get the SAFe coursework out of the way as we have started to offer most of our coursework online. Contact us to talk to our team about which certification is right for you and which course you need to complete to sit for the exam.

A Beginner's Guide to Lean-Agile Leadership

A Beginner's Guide to Lean-Agile Leadership

A Beginner's Guide to Lean-Agile Leadership

There are many elements of Lean-Agile leadership, but what do you need to know? Here is a beginner's guide to Lean-Agile leadership.

Keyword(s): Lean-Agile leadership

Are you a manager wanting to learn more about the scaled agile framework (SAFe®)?

You may have tried motivating your team in the past with various incentives. Have you considered lean-agile leadership?

According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), workplace stress affects 80% of workers on the job. 42% of surveyed workers even reported yelling and verbal abuse as commonplace.

Stress in the workplace also contributes to poor management and communication. Performance and team cohesion may also suffer. What if there was a way to clarify objectives and empower individuals throughout an organization with a growth mindset?

If you want to transform your company culture and model the tools of success, you need to read our guide. We'll show you how to encourage growth, seek improvement, and unleash team potential. Keep reading!

Lean-Agile for Beginners

Lean-agile leadership focuses on giving individuals the tools to thrive as a team. By demonstrating these key skills, the lean-agile leader becomes a role model for success.

Lean-Agile thinking is a paradigm shift that revolutionizes operations. This is achieved while inspiring the rest of the team to follow the lead. Lean-agile is about discovering new working practices that are superior to old habits.

Managers must believe in the exceptional potential inside those they lead. Furthermore, they must bring it out. Not only does this aid personal growth, but it also adds value that fuels business growth

A fixed mindset will need to become flexible, though. This is a fundamental shift necessary to achieve a growth mindset.

Managers may feel start to feel redundant within an organization that is becoming agile. This couldn't be farther from the truth, however. Although the management role will change, managers are still essential.

The lean-agile mindset centers on constant and never-ending improvement. Evoking this change falls squarely on leadership since they have the power to steer these improvements.

Those in leadership roles are therefore tasked with cultivating an atmosphere of growth. This, in turn, fosters productivity.

 

Encouraging Growth

Managers engaging in lean-agile leadership generate a new culture within the organization. This is because an agile mindset flows through all aspects of daily decision-making.

Employees should feel empowered to live up to the example set by those who govern the change.

A toxic work environment is often dictated from the top down by a handful of leaders who are drunk with power. Blame is projected outwardly, and managers seek personal glory all for themselves.

Conversely, to breed the desired employees on the ground floor the tone must be set by management.

A positive mental attitude is critical for optimal performance. Rulebooks that focus on negative repercussions are an outdated model. They are unsuitable for today's fast-paced environment.

Individuals will be more wholly invested in an organization that chooses to open up doors. This will radically change their future behavior.

To generate this change there must be cooperation throughout the organization. The goal is to build a sense of shared responsibility.

There should be no fear of failure. Most innovations require multiple attempts to pave the way. Testing should be performed frequently, with findings being incorporated straight away.

When managers and employees collaborate, valuable new perspectives are brought together. Opening up others to the fresh challenges of the journey is no simple task.

This goal is unachievable without first removing roadblocks. Any obstacle that drains the team's energy and enthusiasm must go.

Relentless Improvement

Lean-agile principles prioritize value and seek to cull waste from the production process.

Leaders should always show that they are committed to high-quality work. Any internal thinking that crushes motivation must be eliminated. Creative thinking must be free to flourish.

Cutting-edge knowledge is a highly-sought commodity with this mindset. Education must be an ongoing pursuit. A continual commitment to learning and betterment prevents an organization from becoming stuck in the past.

Incorporating new and better principles into everyday business practice is an essential advantage.

Lean-agile leadership should promote training opportunities and self-learning among team members. Stipends for educational books, courses, and seminars are just a few ways to have team members feel excited about the change.

Complex problems require complex solutions.

No single individual should control every aspect of a business process. The whole team should pool their knowledge, skills, and experience. Only then does an organization have the necessary power to succeed.

Any walls or ceilings that limit team potential need to be broken down, or this essential talent is lost.

To get the whole team in alignment with a core vision, communication is a key component. Regular briefings can provide a chance to ensure that everyone is on board with the solution.

Unleashing Potential

Those with direct knowledge of a process are often uninvolved in relevant decisions.

This is a great mistake that is present in many organizations. These individuals are actually in the best position to inform the solution. Bringing this first-hand experience into the equation as much as possible is vital.

Of course, some decisions are not appropriate for delegation or joint input. Striking a balance will take practice but will facilitate an efficient operational flow.

Lean-agile leadership should be modeled authentically. If others are to invest in the mindset, they need to see it in action.

Agile leaders should show emotional intelligence and keep negativity in check. This is important if they seek to motivate others. They need exceptional social skills to mold others into responsible decision-makers.

As a leader, be as transparent as possible. This encourages honesty and responsibility in everyone else.

Would you like to develop a scaled agile-framework skillset? If so, register for our recent course "Leading SAFe Live Online." SAFe reveals the patterns of success so you can implement this knowledge in your organization immediately.

Lean-Agile Leadership

We've shown that lean-agile leadership is a must for organizations to maintain an edge. Don't let outdated policies and practices hold you back from explosive growth.

If you're a leader or individual and you want to invest in yourself, we can help. We offer scaled agile courses so you can achieve your business goals to world-class standards. Our highly experienced team also provides consultancy and training services in lean-agile transformation.

Enroll today in a scaled agile course.

Agile Product Management: What Is It and What Are the Benefits?

Agile Product Management: What Is It and What Are the Benefits?

Agile Product Management: What Is It and What Are the Benefits?

What is agile product management and what are the benefits? We explain the answers along with details how to get certified here.

Keyword(s): agile product management

Are you considering becoming an agile product manager? Or is your company considering adopting the agile framework to improve your production process?

If so, then you're in the right place. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about agile product management and how it can help you further your career and business today.

What Is Agile?

The agile framework isn't just for software engineers anymore. Did you know that two-thirds of companies surveyed said they used some form of agile in their business?

Before we go too much further let's lay down a foundation so we're all on the same page. First, agile isn't as much a process as it is a culture in your workplace. While there are certain guidelines, there isn't one specific series of steps you need to take to declare your company agile.

The agile workplace is one in which collaboration and improvement are valued over strict workflows or lengthy linear plans. In an agile environment, your team makes decisions that will improve the product. By empowering your team in this way you ensure that quality and efficiency are always the end result.

Short iterative sprints are the main framework of an agile process. Your team continually works with your client to regularly deliver smaller increments of the final product. The client feels listened to when they have questions and concerns through transparent communication.

In this collaborative environment, communication is key. Short, daily meetings are encouraged. Many people associate stand-up meetings with agile, although again, this isn't a requirement but rather a guideline.

What Is Agile Product Management?

As a product manager, your focus is on delivering a quality product that ensures customer satisfaction. In the agile framework, that focus doesn't change, it improves the process.

Product management encompasses several different areas of your business. And streamlining efficiency when you're connected to so many different working pieces can be difficult. However, the agile framework lends itself to this task through its focus on collaboration and communication.

As the saying goes, nothing happens until somebody sells something. But you can't sell something if you haven't created and launched it yet. The product management team is responsible for the entire lifecycle of your product, from ideation to creation to delivery.

The product manager is the glue that holds everyone together. From the manufacturing team to the research and development team and the sales and marketing team. By using the agile framework you can empower everyone on your team to improve their process and streamline delivery to your clients.

What Are the Benefits of Agile Product Management?

For many companies, the top benefit of an agile framework is that it lends itself to creating a quality product that the client loves. Improved efficiency and cost savings are key benefits as well.

And, because your team works in short sprints, you also realize more gains in productivity will relatively low risks. Flexibility is increased because you're not locked into a long waterfall workflow that is set in stone for years to come. The shorter sprints allow your team to make adjustments and improvements as they see fit or necessary.

As a product manager, you often find yourself explaining why things need to happen the way you've mapped them out. Within an agile environment, however, you can show this visually through story maps. And with daily stand-up meetings, everyone from the various teams can see what everyone else is working on and how their piece to the puzzle fits into the big picture.

Many companies have come to find that this collaborative and autonomous environment also lends itself to higher employee morale and job satisfaction. So if improved product quality, improved efficiency, and improved employee morale are important to you, then agile is the answer for your organization.

At the forefront, however, is the continual focus on delivering the best product to the client quickly.

How to Improve Through Certification

The workplace is changing and you need to keep adapting if you want to keep up. As a product manager, learning agile implementation can be key to staying in demand in your field.

From sprints to roadmaps to iterative development, there are many aspects of the agile framework that you need to master. If you want to improve your production process with agile, then you need to master the concepts first. To do this, you need to take a course from an expert so you can become the expert in your organization.

As you work to improve your skills consider certification. A certification on your resume can highlight your skills and show your employer that you're a valuable asset to their team. There are several different ways to get a certification, but a great option is to take an online agile product management course.

Life is busy, your job keeps you insanely busy, and recent events have shown us that learning online is a great option. You don't have time to take a week off work, and you don't want to waste your next long weekend at a seminar. Instead, look into an online option and you can improve your career with an agile product manager certification.

Stay Competitive With Agile

An agile environment can help your organization to stay competitive with other businesses. And, as a product manager, you can stay competitive in your field, by becoming an expert in the agile framework. The field of agile product management is growing and you need to grow along with it so you don't get left behind.

So, if you're ready to get started, consider an agile product management course today. Your career will thank you as you follow your dreams and become certified in the agile framework.

8 Advantages of Agile Software Engineering

Advantages of Agile Software Engineering

8 Advantages of Agile Software Engineering

Agile software engineering is a reliable way to get the most bang for your buck in software development. Learn 8 key advantages here.

Keyword(s): agile software engineering

Did you know that 80% of CMOs reported an increase in productivity after implementing the agile framework? Have you been wondering if your team could benefit from adopting agile also? If so, then you're in the right place.

So, stop wondering what is agile software engineering: we've got you covered. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about agile software development.

There are several benefits of agile software engineering. We list eight of them here for you.

1. Focus on Value

The original agile manifesto declares that software developers will focus on value and commit to delivering a great product to the customer. To do this, you must first begin by defining what your values as a corporation include. This way everyone within your organization understands why they're doing what they're doing.

When you define what value means for you and your client, your team can make rapid decisions without second-guessing. They don't have to wait for approval from you or their upline. They can rapidly change and develop the product, knowing that their decisions are in alignment with the values defined at the beginning of the project.

2. Improve Quality of the Product

The first principle in the agile manifesto clearly states that the number one goal when implementing agile software development is to develop and continuously deliver, valuable software to the client. You will find that you can improve the quality of your product by working more collaboratively with your client. You will also find that your team can more quickly adapt to anything thrown their way during development because you defined the highest values of the client as outlined above in benefit one.

To do this, you will stick to using short phases and smaller iterations developed and delivered to the client. The client can then give their feedback and request any changes or updates. Your team can then take the feedback from the client and continue to work on the next sprint continually improving the final product through each individual iteration, delivery, and feedback cycle.

3. Improve Customer Satisfaction

When you work with this level of transparency your customer satisfaction will naturally improve. Clients will feel heard and will appreciate when their feedback is taken into consideration. As you continue to develop the final product you will take the time to listen to the client as they test each iteration.

You will never again deliver a final software product to the client and hear that it isn't what they wanted. You will work together with your clients in a collaborative manner to ensure that they are completely satisfied with the final delivery.

4. Increase Customer Engagement

Many clients feel like once they sign the large contract and hand over their money, they are left in the dark until the final product is delivered. However, thanks to the full transparency as outlined in the third benefit above, stakeholder engagement is increased and encouraged.

You and your team will work closely with all of the stakeholders in each project. This can include not only the final client or end-user but also internal stakeholders as well.

In the agile environment, internal stakeholders are siloed away from each other. Instead, they work in collaborative teams to deliver the best final product for the client.

5. Decreases the Risk

Because you're working in short iterative sprints and delivering smaller versions of the final product, you also decrease the risk of larger projects. When you work in long cycles you run the risk of investing more time and money into a product that the client isn't happy with.

However, as established above, with agile sprints you present to the client more often. This decreases the risk of spending too much time or money on one feature or aspect of the software program that the client doesn't end up liking.

6. Increases Efficiency

The agile process also increases efficiency. The more you educate your team and encourage them to work collaboratively together, you will continually increase your efficiency on every future project as well. A quality online agile software engineering course can provide your team with the information and framework they need to successfully work in the agile environment.

The agile process is only as good as the team implementing it. Take the time to offer your team agile software engineering courses, so they can continue to increase their efficiency over time.

7. Predictable Schedule and Delivery

It can be hard to predict what everyone on your team will be doing three months down the road. However, with shorter agile sprints your team can better schedule their time and ensure on-time delivery of each shorter iteration.

Each sprint is between two to three weeks and everyone on your team is crystal clear about their contribution and time expectation at the beginning of each sprint. Everyone can adequately schedule their time to ensure that they're not pressed for time or going over the deadline for each delivery.

8. Decrease Costs

Additionally, because your schedule is more predictable, your budget is also more predictable. This will decrease your costs and avoid any costly overages that come from delayed delivery.

You will also decrease costs with each agile sprint. Because you're working in shorter iterative sprints and delivering smaller aspects of the software program to your client over time, you don't find yourself sinking too many funds into features that aren't feasible or offer value to the end-user.

Yes, You Can Benefit From Agile Software Engineering

If you're ready to take advantage of the many benefits agile software engineering offers you, then you need to start educating yourself and your team. Don't wait another day to start reaping the rewards of agile for your corporation.

Don't worry: you don't have to jump in alone. We help businesses like yours to learn the right way to adopt the agile method. We're here to help you too, so reach out to us today so we can show you how you can start to incorporate agile software engineering in your business today.

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Agile Center provides consultancy and training services in the following areas: Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Strategy audit & implementation and Agile Program/Portfolio management.

Agile Center is a brand of Advised Skills Ltd.

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