Common Problems with the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Project managers will face obstacles with any project management approach. The Scaled Agile Framework, like other Agile techniques like Scrum or Lean, has its own set of challenges that you’ll have to face if you employ it for your team. Because SAFe was created with huge enterprises in mind, difficulties may be difficult to identify and even more difficult to address.
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Before you can implement SAFe concepts in your organization, you must first understand what SAFe is, why firms adopt this strategy, and the most typical Scaled Agile difficulties your teams may face.

What is SAFe?

Agile concepts emphasize continuous, iterative development as a means of enhancing efficiency. While many firms would like to profit from Agile, changing your entire organizational structure is unlikely to be realistic.

As a result, in 2011, the Scaled Agile Framework was created to allow large enterprises to embrace Agile principles without completely disrupting their current processes. Agile methodologies have been expanded to fit the needs of large enterprises, allowing for close collaboration across teams and alignment across the board. To enhance speedier reaction and development timeframes, decision-making procedures are more centralized.

There are three stages to the SAFe approach:

The program level is concerned with the duties required to keep projects running smoothly.
The Portfolio level focuses on the principles, actions, and roles of team members required to discover and manage value streams.
The team level is concerned with the roles, actions, events, and processes that teams utilize to achieve successful delivery.

Why Should Teams Use the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)?

What value does SAFe have for businesses? It can seem impossible in large firms to completely alter their processes to fit into all-encompassing Agile structures (like Scrum). Instead, SAFe was created to allow major organizations to use Agile principles without necessitating a complete organizational restructuring. It’s a framework designed for large firms with several departments (usually 100+ employees), although alternative techniques may be better suited for smaller businesses.

Large enterprises can use Scaled Agile Framework to improve the efficiency of their software development practices. This method maintains the big picture of the company in mind. SAFe protects your organizational hierarchy and goals while incorporating Agile procedures as appropriate, rather than being completely revolutionary. SAFe does not necessitate a complete organizational restructure, but it does necessitate the assignment of teams that can collaborate inside the SAFe framework.

Common Problems When Using Scaled Agile (SAFe)

It’s vital to remember that SAFe isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution while adopting it. If your organization has issues before implementing SAFe in your project management operations, such issues are likely to persist after implementing SAFe. SAFe may depend on the problem and exacerbate the situation.

Here are some common issues that scaled Agile techniques can cause in your organization.
Lack of Flexibility –

SAFe is one of the most rigid Agile techniques. The technique has limited flexibility, making it difficult to tailor the framework to your organization’s unique requirements. In addition to SAFe’s rigidity, team members are likely to become stuck in their assigned responsibilities. Team members thrive in other Agile techniques because they are given ownership over their own work – accepting responsibility for the objectives they plan to fulfill and where they contribute their effort and expertise – while SAFe keeps team members in their specified responsibilities.

Decision-making from the top down –

In contrast to other Agile frameworks, decision-making authority in the SAFe structure is mostly reserved for managers and organizational leaders. Too much decision-making at the top can overburden project managers and lead to disengagement among other team members. These employees may believe that SAFe isn’t significantly different from the old ways they utilized before because they lack influence and a say in decisions.

Epics are misunderstood –

The term “epic” is used in various Agile methodologies to describe long-term, continuous projects. SAFe has a somewhat different definition. Epics, in this concept, are large-scale corporate initiatives that must be assessed for their potential return on investment before being implemented. It’s easy to understand how conflicting definitions can cause confusion among teams.

Putting Epics First —

Many operational procedures make it difficult to prioritize your initiatives. Identifying which epics have the highest impact potential and prioritizing them over other initiatives can be tough.

Conducting Release Planning Sessions —

Release planning sessions, which are the Agile version of spring planning, are a large, in-person meeting that kicks off projects. Bringing this many people together and organizing this meeting efficiently can be difficult with SAFe. A common difficulty with Scaled Agile is getting positive results and clear direction from meetings.

Producing High-Quality Code —

As with any software development method, the processes must produce high-quality code. Because of SAFe’s large-scale nature, running quality evaluations on every line of code might be onerous.

Workplace Organization –

The desire to organize work into enormous batches is one of the primary drawbacks of employing SAFe in large businesses. Agile projects are best broken down into small, manageable chunks (generally called Sprints). SAFe’s organizational structure favors massive batching of work because it coordinates large teams of hundreds of employees. Another issue arises as a result of large batching: difficulties calculating job timelines. Teams may not be able to precisely foresee how long tasks would take or what obstacles will prevent them from completing them.

Although issues with a scaled Agile methodology are possible, a project manager who has been taught and certified in SAFe can foresee and avoid these issues by employing the correct tactics. The first step is to recognize that these issues exist and to devise strategies to avoid them.

If you wish to use SAFe in your company, you should consider getting some training first. Finding the correct SAFe training partner can make or break your project’s success. You may optimize the benefits of SAFe in your organization while reducing the challenges with scaled Agile with adequate training and preparation.

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