There are three types of ‘scaling Agile’:
- Spreading team Agility across the organization. In most mid-large organizations this does not address the root of their challenges which are not at the team level
- Increasing the size of the projects – almost never a good idea
- Having the entire value stream be Agile – the right thing to do
In Countdown #17, I discussed the essence of SAFe – those principles that are essential regardless of how large your org is. If your dev group’s just a team, Scrum’s sprint planning can be the intake control process you need. If you org is larger with multiple stakeholders, product management is likely required. Large organizations likely have multiple portfolio and more is needed.
Regardless of size, it is important to attend to the entire value stream taking a systems-thinking point of view.
While it is often good for a large org to start with Essential SAFe (basically the program level) this does not attend to the front end of the value stream. There is often no recourse for this, but one shouldn’t ignore this fact. Many of the concepts in full SAFe still apply, but need to be attended to differently
Again, drive from principles, use SAFe to support them. Recognize your problems may not be where you are working.