Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®)
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) is a set of organization and workflow patterns intended to guide enterprises in scaling lean and agile practices. It is a freely available online knowledge base that allows for understanding and implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale, developed by Scaled Agile, Inc. 
Purpose and Role
The purpose of SAFe® is to synchronize alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to deliver complex solutions effectively. It is designed to help businesses continuously and more efficiently deliver value on a regular and predictable schedule.
Components of SAFe®
- SAFe® promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across many agile teams. It is made up of a range of workstreams at various levels of the enterprise:
- Team Level: This involves using agile teams daily, often using Scrum, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP) to develop and deliver high-quality, user-centric software products.
- Program Level: This level organizes agile teams into a larger entity known as an Agile Release Train (ART), a virtual organization (typically 50-125 people) that plans, commits, and executes together.
- Large Solution Level: This level is for enterprises building big, complex solutions which do not require the constructs of the portfolio level. Here, multiple ARTs and suppliers coordinate and synchronize their work over periods to deliver these larger solutions.
- Portfolio Level: This is the highest level of concern in SAFe®, which provides principles, practices, and roles needed to initiate and govern a set of development value streams.
Importance of SAFe®
SAFe® is important because it allows large organizations to implement agile practices, overcoming some coordination and synchronization challenges that can occur when many teams are working toward a shared objective. It supports business agility by providing principles and practices to support Lean, Agile, and DevOps workflows at scale.
Pros and Cons
- SAFe® can bring structure to large-scale projects, making it possible for large teams to coordinate and work together effectively.
- It helps align with business strategy and goals, even when many teams work independently.
- It helps improve transparency and visibility, leading to better governance and control.
- Implementing SAFe® can be complex and may require substantial changes in the organization's structure and culture.
- Some critics argue that it is overly prescriptive and rigid and can stifle the autonomy and innovation that are core values of Agile.
Imagine a large financial institution that wants to develop a new digital banking platform. This platform needs to be developed by multiple teams, each working on different aspects of the platform (like user interface, security, database management, etc.). By implementing SAFe®, this financial institution can ensure that all these teams are working in a coordinated and synchronized manner, aligning their work with the strategic objectives and delivering value continuously and predictably.
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