Agile software development allows incremental value delivery with the highest quality and in the fastest sustainable time. It is based on the principle that agile software development can adapt to change, allowing for success in a world with ever-changing requirements. It can describe many frameworks, among which agile scaling models are growing in popularity.
It can be difficult to adopt the Scaled Agile Framework, and some parts are more challenging than others. These are the most difficult challenges, and we suggest techniques to help you overcome them. Note: This article assumes that you are familiar with SAFe Agile Certification.
My first tip is to make sure your teams are using modern engineering practices before you allow them to go agile. These practices are:
- Modern requirements techniques (scenarios, business rules, terms, nonfunctional requirements)
- Modern architecture techniques (intentional architecture, model-driven development, architectural patterns)
- Modern development techniques (emergent design, technical debt, test-driven development, continuous integration)
- Modern testing techniques include test virtualization, automated tests, test management, test ideas and test cases.
- Modern deployment practices (shift left, continuous deployment, mock environments)
- Don’t forget DevOps, a common thread in all five categories.
What are the most pressing problems?
- Identifying your first epic
- Identifying value streams and your first trains
- Planning a release session
- Ensuring code quality
Other elements will need to be addressed, such as proving SAFe Agile Certification is measurable, benefiting an organization, how do you create a transformation team, and how to transition to SAFe Agile Certification-style portfolio spending. They improve transparency, collaboration, and agility, not only between agile teams but also at the top of the management. These are just a few examples of scaled agile models:
- a) Scaled Agile Framework
- b) Disciplined agile (DA)
- c) Large Scale Scrum (LESS)
It is not an easy task to adapt to these agile scaling models. To fully implement the Framework takes patience, consistency, and time.
Many challenges must be overcome when adopting any agile scaling model. We will discuss common problems organizations face when adapting to an agile scaling model. These challenges can also be overcome to facilitate a smooth transition.
1. Identifying your first epic
I’ve seen clients get stuck in the initial stages of defining their epics. It is important to understand the process and not stall. It doesn’t have to be difficult to define the initial epics. Let me first clarify some myths.
There are four types of epics. Each is a combination of two other categories.
- Portfolio epics vs. program epics
- Business epics vs. Architectural epics
2. A lack of a complete understanding of the Framework
Many people are surprised to learn that many people who lead transformations don’t have the necessary knowledge. A common scenario is that one of the current leaders takes one course, reads a book about making the transition, and then decides to take the lead. It is good to learn by you, but many organizations do it to save money on hiring third-party services.
They don’t anticipate all the questions that might arise and are often left confused when they cannot answer.
Hire an agile coach. The coach’s experience gained through many training sessions and in real-life situations can be very valuable in helping each individual. An agile coach can connect with and understand the pain many people may experience during this time.
3. Not having the motivation to shift
It’s easy to stay in a comfortable state. It’s easy to believe that it’s all good, no matter what condition an organization is in. Unfortunately, you cannot grow in your comfort zone. It would help if you were motivated to change. To make this change, you must be motivated.
Everyone from the team to the top management must be convinced about the benefits of scaling agile. Scaling agile will bring benefits to all of them.
4. A New Mindset
Lean agile thinking is a key prerequisite for adapting to any agile scaling model. Everyone must adopt this mindset within the organization. Leaders must be taught servant leadership, where priorities are prioritized first. Teams must be taught how to take responsibility for their work and be empowered to make their own decisions.
An agile coach can help you achieve a Lean-Agile Mindset by guiding you through the process.
5. Cultural Shift
Traditional management is where teams work in silos and follow a hierarchy. They are also obligated to adhere to the plan of the higher management. Scaling Agile requires a culture change.
It removes the need for a hierarchy and creates silos. This increases transparency and collaboration among the teams and higher management. It believes that all things do not need to be planned. However, requirements and demands can change.
It takes time to change the culture. Many people are opposed to the idea of a team that is more self-sufficient. People are used to traditional command-and-control management styles and will not change. Agile is the only way to get rid of the traditional ways of managing people.
6. Inconsistently using the right tools across the organization
Silos are a major problem for agile. Tools used by organizations are often different in each department. It takes time to adapt to new tools. People also need to feel comfortable with the tool they use. This can lead to a disconnect.
First, you must know what technology stack is being used. Second, you must keep it consistent. Accessible to everyone, a tracking tool is necessary. It should facilitate transparency, collaboration, and visibility. This tool will allow you to develop strategic plans, dependencies, and risk assessments.
People expect that implementing a scaled agile framework will immediately make a difference. But it’s not that simple. These are not easy practices to implement. One person can be transformed, but aiming for improvement in the whole organization is another. These are not concerns to be concerned about. Many people feel that large organizations have been through a lot. To achieve perfection, it takes patience, persistence, and perseverance.