Unpacking the SAFe Debate. Is it Agile, or Something Else?
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People have debated whether or not SAFe is Agile for as long as it’s been around. LeadingAgile CEO, Mike Cottmeyer, joins Dave on this episode of SoundNotes to explore the roots of small team Agile and to discuss how SAFe stacks up against the ideals of the Agile Manifesto.
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WHERE’S THE BEEF?
I keep hearing pundits say that SAFe is not Agile? I always wondered if this was just click-bait since I happen to believe that SAFe is as Agile as you want to make it. Either way, I’m always looking to understand the arguments of the nay sayers. Because I respect Mike’s opinion deeply, I was looking forward to understanding his side on this debate. This podcast left me hungry for more or actually LESS (pun intended) since the points were not made very crisply. It seems that I can summarize his arguments as: [a] Agile is a small team framework. It needs to be about a few small, independent and empowered teams with few dependencies or at least dependencies that can be managed by deeper backlogs and [b] scaling Agile requires primarily a well-formed organization. I have found this latter point to be particularly important since Agile transformation is now primarily left to (dysfunctional?) laggards in that adoption curve.
Anyhow, where the conversation left me on my hunger is that [a] the reality is that clients want to scale agile delivery from small, simple projects to larger even complex ones and [b] corporate executives are looking for some medium to longer-term planning to better run their business and manage their budgets. Both of these are weaknesses of most Agile frameworks.
My bottom line is that [a] SAFe solves real world Agile delivery problems effectively, and [b] it is a valuable framework and associated guardrails to transform the business agility, not just software delivery, across the multiple value streams of an entire organization.
Gentlemen, thank you for your continued goodness. Now let’s go add value!