Scaled for the Enterprise - Expansion of Agile to Drive Better Business Outcomes

Posted by Justin Rowe on 1/17/17 12:00 PM

Scaled for the Enterprise


This past August, I wrote a blog and performed a webinar with our partner, PMI Mile Hi on Embracing Digital Transformation within the Project Portfolio Management environment and quoted from PMI’s “Pulse of the Profession: Capturing the Value of Project Management Through Organizational Agility”.  

This article communicates, “A highly developed culture of agility exists when value is placed on ideals and behaviors such as collaboration, diversity, innovation, communication, creativity, transparency, and inquisitive thinking.”  This month, Jana Axline from PMI Mile Hi and I will be taking the next step in discussing the employment of organizational agility across the enterprise through the introduction of Enterprise Agile Frameworks.

As I read Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for Project and Portfolio Management, 2016”, it goes right into one the main themes for the year, focused more on the concept of Agile.  A key point made highlights the adoption and integration of these new frameworks (capturing the origins of interactions and collaboration, anticipating and accepting change, and continuous delivery of software) to improve agility of the business as a whole, bridging these concepts into a larger audience to propel organizational objectives and drive results.  To expand upon this point, I’d like to provide some background on one Enterprise Agile Framework that Jana and I will be discussing at the end of January, the Scaled Agile Framework.

Register here for our webinar to learn all about the Scaled Agile Framework.

From the Scaled Agile Framework 4.0 Introduction, this framework, also known as SAFe, is a development framework with a foundation on Lean and Agile deployed to be scaled across the enterprise.  With organizations that have a large number of Agile teams, this framework is designed to empower both software as well as systems development to provide aligned results with larger strategic goals. 

More specifically, the Scaled Agile Framework employs three bodies of knowledge that target:

  • Agile development
  • Lean product development
  • Systems thinking

Depending on the size of your organization, SAFe can be modeled and deployed using three or four layers which includes a team level, program level and portfolio level with the optional value stream level.  Each level brings value to the entire framework employing tasks from either Kanban or Scrum methodologies.

From a larger perspective, a structure called an “Agile Release Train” is utilized, containing multiple agile teams that are aligned to a common theme, mission and vision.  These teams work together to support the development of a larger product through visualization, teamwork, progress and flow.  Value streams are integrated within these teams where multiple Agile Release Trains are in sync with more complex solution development.  At the highest level, an enterprise perspective can be realized at the portfolio level, where multiple value streams are interconnected to achieve organizational-level, strategic goals and objectives.

This quick primer for the Scaled Agile Framework allows us to dip our toes in to the water, prior to our webinar at the end of the month, but highlights some unusual concepts that make sense in the larger sense of project management as a whole.  Benefits have been highlighted from the Scaled Agile team who developed this framework, capturing case studies where 20-50% increase in productivity has been realized as well as 30-75% faster time to market.  Within our webinar, we will bridge the basic concepts of Project Management to Agile prior to engaging in the larger Enterprise Frameworks.  Gartner sees Enterprise Agile Frameworks as emerging on their Maturity scale and has a high benefit rating.

As the majority of Project Managers have reaped the benefits of employing the standard process areas and bodies of knowledge into everyday their Project Management tasks, organizational change around operational and strategic levels is now the norm and the implementation of agility into daily operations is a requirement.  The wider scale of agility is now gaining widespread traction and we need to adapt to this as well.  Although not a “one size fits all” with other Enterprise Agile Frameworks in industry today, we will explore the path to success at the enterprise level with the Scaled Agile Framework during our webinar, taking place on January 31st at 12:00 PM MST.

Register for the Webinar!

I am confident these enterprise-level frameworks will have a profound impact on organizations as a whole, experiencing business results similar to that mentioned from the Scaled Agile team.  Stay tuned…

Topics: Project Management, Agile