All About the SAFe Scaled Agile Framework for Architects

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Some estimates say that 85% of projects go over budget. This includes construction projects, development operations projects, and software programming projects.

Companies of all sizes struggled for years to find ways to finish projects under budget. They developed processes to maximize efficiency, but there seemed to be something missing from the equation.

A couple of the project management methods companies found success with are Agile and SAFe Scaled Agile Framework.

This guide is an introduction to the SAFe Scaled Agile Framework. Keep reading to learn what it is and what you can do with it.

A Comparison of Project Management Methodologies

A good place to start is to take a quick look at project management methodologies that companies deploy. Once you understand these, you can see how the scaled agile framework fits into the big project management picture.

Let’s start with Agile since that’s the standard of project management methodologies. About 84% of developers use Agile to complete projects.

Agile was actually adopted from the car manufacturing industry. It was introduced by Toyota, which used it to find success and profitability. It could reduce inefficiencies in the manufacturing process.

The result was that it delivered projects on time and under budget. It was so successful, other car manufacturers would visit the company to learn more about this method.

Agile made its way into the IT and development fields, especially since these departments became the backbone of many companies.

Agile takes a goal and gives you guidelines to follow in order to achieve the goal. These guidelines put the focus on people, not processes, to achieve the goal.

Within Agile lies other project management methodologies, with Scrum and SAFe among them. SAFe stands for Scaled Agile Framework.

SAFe and Scrum are very similar in terms of structure, but the application of these frameworks set them apart. Scrum is used often in software development projects because these projects have a start date and end date.

You take your software development timeline and break it down to specific goals. For instance, between weeks 1 and 6 of a project, you want to complete the user interface. Then between weeks 7 and 12, you should test the user interface and make adjustments.

There are sprints that you use to reach each goal. Everyone on the team has roles and responsibilities to meet the goals.  

Where Does SAFe Fit in Project Management?

SAFe has a very specific application in the project management world. It uses very similar steps and guidelines as Scrum and Agile. However, it works within an enterprise organization.

Scrum is used to great success because it’s applied to project teams. SAFe Scaled Agile Framework encompasses many teams within an enterprise.

It’s all about getting all stakeholders in an organization stepping into an Agile methodology. It’s a slow and sometimes painful process. Once it’s complete, the organization sees incredible results.

SAFe Scaled Agile Framework gives managers the opportunity to create workflows guided by the principles and values of Agile.

SAFe and Enterprise Architects

Enterprise architects have a unique role in implementing SAFe because they’re the ones responsible for aligning systems with business strategy.

 There are three architect roles within SAFe. The Enterprise Architects manage the portfolio of systems within an enterprise. For instance, there’s business architecture and application architecture, and information architecture.

They are high-level managers of the portfolio. Their main responsibilities are to create a vision, communication that vision, and get everyone within an organization on board with that vision.

Solutions Architects develop large-scale solutions across the enterprise. They’re the ones that see a problem, test technologies, assumptions and recommend a solution.

They coordinate the implementation of the solution and work across teams to make it happen. They might work on improving supply chain management, IT infrastructure, or a variety of projects.

System Architects are also called Technical Architects. This role is responsible for the actual implementation of the solutions provided by the Solutions Architect.

You can see how the roles are clearly defined and move from something intangible like strategy and values to something tangible, like a software program.

How to Implement SAFe Scaled Agile Framework

Do you think that SAFe is right for your business? You have to get buy-in from the executive team before you move forward.

You should already be familiar with the values and principles of Agile. Your organization should have used it on small-scale projects before you implement it across the enterprise.

There also has to be a drive for change. Your organization’s leaders might want to create a Lean-Agile organization. At the other end of the spectrum, your organization might be in a difficult spot with very few options.

Once everyone decides to move forward, Enterprise Architects need to choose people in the organization to fill the other roles. They all need to get training in SAFe for Architects to learn the responsibilities of each role and how to carry them out.

The executive team undergoes training as well to implement SAFe. The other steps include planning and preparation leading up to the launch.

The entire organization needs to get training on the values and Agile methodology. It will impact how they approach their work, but it’s well worth it.

What Is Scaled Agile Framework?

Businesses have tried to reach a point where they’re completely efficient and avoid cost overruns. One of the ways to do that is through SAFe Scaled Agile Framework.

It’s a methodology that aligns strategy, values, and systems to help enterprise organizations perform better. It allows everyone within an organization, from the C-Suite to the shift workers.

Everyone follows the same set of principles to improve processes. At the end of the day, you have a stronger organization.

Be sure to visit the blog for more great content today!

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