Disciplined Agile & SAFe | Project Management Essentials
IT Management

Disciplined Agile & SAFe | Project Management Essentials

Disciplined Agile ® (DA) and the Scaled Agile Structure (SAFe ®) are 2 popular, second-generation nimble methods. They develop on lean-agile thinking; and basic Scrum, Kanban, and DevOps practices. They provide specialists tools to extend and grow their dexterity beyond the group to programs and the wider business.

They emerged about a years after the Agile Manifesto. DA was established in 2011 by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines and is based upon Scott’s work at Logical Software application and IBM. The Job Management Institute obtained DA in 2019 to extend its nimble abilities. Dean Leffingwell launched the very first variation of SAFe in 2012. Remarkably, Dean likewise operated at Logical.

SAFe and DA are frequently misconstrued within the nimble neighborhood. They are slammed as being “heavyweight” or “too complex.” Given that I hold innovative accreditations in both structures and frequently teach nimble classes, I have a special point of view and value what they provide.

Both describe themselves as “structures” or “toolkits” instead of methods. This is a nuanced yet vital difference. They offer assistance and structure instead of anticipate stiff adherence. They are extensive– with numerous pages of comprehensive paperwork– to support groups attending to intricate issues.

The Huge Pictures

The structures are developed to promote organization dexterity. Each has a “broad view” (see: DA, SAFe) explaining its parts with links to comprehensive understanding short articles. They are “open source,” with all the info openly readily available. To comprehend how they work, I suggest gaining from a certified trainer who will assist the knowing experience and offer important context.

SAFe deals 4 setups, from Important to Complete. A lot of companies begin with Important, which explains how to lead a nimble program, or Agile Release Train (ART). Complete SAFe extends the structure to Big Solutions that need collaborating lots of ARTs and carrying out Lean Portfolio Management.

Important SAFe is the core setup and is developed for handling a program of 5-12 nimble groups. To collaborate the groups, SAFe uses cadence and synchronization. Cadence implies all groups are lined up to a requirement, two-week shipment cycle. Synchronization is attained through a quarterly 2-day, “big-room preparation” occasion. While DA likewise has a program lifecycle, it is less extensive than SAFe.

Disciplined Agile is approach agnostic and supports Scrum, Kanban, Program, and constant shipment lifecycles. DA specifies “procedure blades” to explain typical business abilities. These blades can be “set up” to assist companies embrace a nimble “method of working” (WoW).

Disciplined DevOps is the set of procedure blades allowing the constant shipment of working software application. The next layer is the Worth Stream which includes parts for producing services and products that thrill our clients. Lastly, the external layer reaches business functions such as Legal, Financing, and HR.

The core of Disciplined Agile is its toolkit of procedure objectives, choices, and choices. Two-dozen procedure objectives explain the significant advancement actions from beginning to building and construction and shift, along with the continuous efforts to grow the group. Each objective is deconstructed into several choice points with a prioritized list of choices and compromises. The objective map is a vital, curated list of the implied understanding maintained by skilled job supervisors.

Utilizing the Structures

SAFe and DA are enhanced for big companies developing or developing their nimble practices. Organizations beginning their nimble journey might be overwhelmed by the structures and under-appreciate the depth of their assistance.

DA takes a practical method to nimble adoption with the mantra, “Start where you are, do the very best that you can provided the circumstance you deal with, and constantly aim to improve.” It thinks context counts, groups ought to make practical choices based upon well-considered options.

The initial step is picking an advancement lifecycle that finest fits the job. Next, groups assess their environment and make some procedure choices. The objective chart assists determine their present state and choices for much better fitting or more fully grown practices. The DA Web browser is an online tool allowing this expedition.

SAFe provides nimble at scale utilizing a holistic method. It acknowledges that a nimble change is a considerable organizational modification in addition to embracing brand-new practices. SAFe consists of a 12-step execution roadmap constructed on John Kotter’s 8-step design for leading modification. Executing SAFe starts with training the modification representatives and executives in the lean-agile state of mind and SAFe practices. Without strong management assistance and dedication, modification efforts stop working.

The Agile Release Train (a SAFe program) is the foundation of SAFe. It is a virtual group of 75-125 individuals lined up to support a worth stream. The whole ART runs on a typical 2-week cadence and starts its 10-week Program Increment (PI) with a 2-day preparation occasion. The PI consists of 4 2-week advancement models and 2-weeks for Development & & Preparation (IP). The IP model offers a buffer, permitting the groups to finish incomplete work, get ready for the release, prepare for the following PI, and enhance.

A release train engineer, item supervisor, and systems engineer lead the ART. This setup produces a balance of power. The release train engineer acts as the scrum master for the program. The item supervisor sets the tactical instructions, preserves the program stockpile, and collaborates the efforts of the team-level item owners.

The 2-day PI Preparation occasion consists of everybody– entrepreneur, the whole advancement group, and assistance groups. The preferred results are determining the goals that drive the next quarter’s work and collaborating the ART activities. The occasion helps with fast resolution of interdependencies, dangers, and concerns.

SAFe and DA are independent structures constructed on shared worths that can exist side-by-side within a business. Nevertheless, it is unusual to see groups utilizing both structures concurrently. DA’s procedure options can notify and assist constant enhancement even for groups practicing SAFe. And, SAFe can offer extra structure for business requiring to collaborate the work of several nimble groups.


DA and SAFe have a series of accreditations that usually need going to a 2-day class and passing an examination. The tests are tough and need research study. They are closed book, online, and self-proctored. The course charge consists of one effort at the test with an extra charge for retakes.

The majority of people begin their SAFe journey with the Leading SAFe class, which presents fundamental principles and practices. Leading SAFe evaluations nimble principles however presumes a working understanding of Scrum and Kanban. SAFe deals extra role-based courses for scrum masters, item owners, designers, and so on. Advanced accreditations are readily available for Program Experts, Trainers, and Portfolio Managers.

The Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) is a thorough entry-level accreditation covering Scrum, Kanban, and the DA toolkit. No nimble experience is needed, however it would be practical. The Senior Scrum Master (DASSM) is the second-tier accreditation and needs 2-years of experience and understanding of DA. DA likewise provides innovative Coach and Worth Stream Expert accreditations.

© 2022, Alan Zucker; Job Management Fundamentals, LLC

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