How SAFe Core Values stabilize and accelerate the progress of agile teams?

How SAFe Core Values stabilize and accelerate the progress of agile teams?

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) core values are responsible for determining the behavior and culture of an organization working in a SAFe portfolio. Aligning core values of an organization is an essential part of SAFe implementation success. Adhering to these values establishes the path to accomplishing your business objectives consistently by enabling a unified thriving culture for all the participants onboard.

The four core values of Scaled Agile Framework are

  1. Alignment
  2. Built-In-Quality
  3. Transparency
  4. Program Execution.

Their importance is described below

1. Alignment

Alignment is a crucial success ingredient in a multi-layer management set-up. This focusses on an organization’s adaption to evolving business requirements across the board, and on coordinating work of multiple teams – whether co-located or not, at complex large-scale projects. This becomes even more significant at the portfolio level where diverse teams come up with multiple strategic themes.

Alignment provides visibility and transparency to the vision and the program backlogs that formulate these strategic themes. The objectives set in the Program Increment convey what has to be achieved. Alignment is ensured by cadence and synchronization, where cadence sets a routine for the team and synchronization ensures that the development team and the business stakeholders are on the same page. Lean prioritization is effective in keeping the stakeholders involved in prioritizing requirements as to changing conditions. Program architecture ensures that the solution is technologically sound.

2. Built-In-Quality

In an Agile system, the quality of product is of paramount importance. Built-In-Quality is a primary requirement for Lean Development and should be ensured in every increment. Practices for ensuring quality are different for software, hardware and system integration.

For ensuring software quality the team can apply any practice that suits them, from the practices listed below:

  • Extreme Programming (XP)
    An agile process which produces high-quality software that satisfies the customer’s needs and allows the developers to adapt to changing requirements

  • Test Driven Development
    Development of code that fails first then go on to make one which passes and then refactor both

  • Acceptance Test Driven Development
    An agile process that focuses on customer collaboration to create stories which enable the developers to visualize what the customer wants in terms of features

  • Behavior Driven Development
    User behaviour and customer requirements are translated into executable tests

  • Continuous Integration
    Code developed by multiple developers is integrated into a shared repository

  • Refactoring
    Existing code is restructured without a change in its external behaviour

  • Pair Work
    Developers’ review each other’s work to learn and improve together

To respond to hardware quality needs, these are the matters that need to be addressed:

  • Hardware needs to follow strict compliance standards
  • Develop one feature by a specific date with Commitment-Based Project Management

Finally, as a pillar to ensure the built-in-quality, system integration is critical. Different subsystems need to be integrated in a way to provide an effective solution. This is ensured by the following practices:

  • Frequent system and solution level integration
  • Solution level testing of Functional and Non-Functional Requirements
  • System Demos

3. Transparency

The importance of trust in creating large and complex solutions with hundreds of team members can not be stressed enough. It emanates confidence, integrity and transparency. This core value is the one that ensures the earlier two values of Alignment and Built-in-quality by bringing the developers on the same page as the top level management and the business stakeholders.

To establish transparency, the strategies, program backlogs, goals of the Program Increment and architecture are accessible to all the individuals in the portfolio.

4. Program Execution

For successful program execution, Scaled Agile Framework lays great emphasis on continuously delivering value. Supported by effective Lean-Agile leaders, delivering solutions incrementally keeps the team and the customer in sync with each other. Thus program execution is facilitated by the following:

Agile Release Train (ART): coordinates multiple agile teams and their work
Value Streams: produce a tangible value that gets feedback from the customers
Inspect and Adapt sessions: important to shed light on the mistakes made and accomplishments unlocked


1 thought on “How SAFe Core Values stabilize and accelerate the progress of agile teams?

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