CGI cosponsored this year’s European regional SAFe Summit in Frankfurt, Germany from June 25 to 28 where more than 300 participants from the scaled agile world came in to listen to world class speakers and case studies, participate in workshops and do networking as well as attend the newly released SAFe training course on DevOps. It was the first European summit organized by the scaled agile organization outside of the United States. We also participated in two special events with our own booth. The first of these was a special forum at which German telco customers could talk about how their scaled agile transformation is progressing, their main challenges and possible solutions. The second presented the Telia case study for scaled agile transformation, in which CGI has played a major role since 2014.
After the two days of conferences, case studies, training and lightning talks as well as many intense informal discussions. Here are our key takeaways that we have regrouped around four topics such as people, leadership, methods and lean budgeting:
- People still think that the main purpose of a scrum team is to tell stories, but actually it is to define and work towards a sprint goal.
- We should have the courage to start fast and actively apply our Agile Release Train learning to change the culture and increase agile maturity.
- People need to understand the difference between being agile and applying agile methods, it’s not because that you are using scrum or SAFe methods that you have an agile mindset; it is also important to understand the difference between being willing and being able which are not the same thing (I want to versus I can), people might be trained in scrum, does not mean they see the value to apply it. It takes both top-down and bottom-up change management approaches to achieve real change.
- People need to see and feel the difference.
- A key task is to decentralize control while ensuring alignment. It’s important to achieve an appropriate balance of alignment and initiative.
- In most organizations today, 80% of the project work efforts are spent on governance and internal alignment. It’s necessary to get people out of management and into doing, and to focus on outcomes instead of methods.
- Our brains can certainly distinguish content management from funding, so let’s take the money issue off the table so people can focus on delivering value.
- We should remove features to simplify our solutions, and we should design our architecture for speed.
- We do sprint retrospectives but don’t integrate them in the work backlog for eliminating impediments.
- We should focus on flow efficiency instead of resource utilization metrics.
- We have to use established scaled agile models and avoid inventing local frameworks or using consulting firms to design special ones for us. We need to reuse what already exists and collaborate to improve our shared knowledge.
- Test a hypothesis first and do it fast with Minimal Viable Product and Minimal Marketable Feature, but don’t confuse the two: one is for testing the product idea, the other looks at the validity of new features.
- Avoid the death spiral of adding more features to generate more benefits, because there might be competition among different business cases, increasing the required effort and unrealistically inflating everything.
- Lean management of financial resources should be assigned to business and IT.
- Lean portfolio management implies that overlapping projects and competing priorities have to be eliminated.
- Return on Investment is a lagging indicator; the best proxy is Program Increment(PI) targets versus the business value that business owners identify during the PI planning event
The future of SAFe: what will the next maturity steps be?
- Lean portfolio management
- Investment horizons
- Business model canvas integration
- Transformational leadership
- Continuous education specialists for agile organizations
CGI – SAFe Gold Partner
- CGI has been deploying SAFe since 2010, even before the official SAFe launch.
- At CGI, we carry out Agile transformations for our clients since years.
- CGI’s philosophy is “deep transformations”, from portfolios to DevOps.
- We tailor SAFe transformations beyond the standard SAFe implementation roadmap.
- CGI is a gold partner, with over 3,200 employees with advanced SAFe certification.
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