The News: Today, Scaled Agile, Inc., provider of SAFe®, the world’s leading framework for business agility, today announced a preview of SAFe® 5.0 for Lean Enterprises. The next version of SAFe features significant advances in strategy, execution, and leadership competencies needed for an organization to deliver innovative business solutions faster than the competition.
Taking the approach that business agility requires everyone involved in delivering solutions—business and technology leaders, development, IT operations, legal, marketing, finance, support, compliance, security, and others—use Lean and Agile practices, SAFe 5.0 provides guidance on how to extend the Lean-Agile mindset into those business areas.
“Globalization, fast-moving markets, disruption, and the unprecedented pace of technological innovation all contribute to the complexity of today’s digital age,” stated Dean Leffingwell, creator of SAFe and chairman of Scaled Agile, Inc. “It has become increasingly clear that existing business models, organizational hierarchy, and technology infrastructure simply can’t keep up with how quickly companies need to adapt. SAFe 5.0 is a huge advancement in empowering companies to undertake business agility initiatives that are critical for the company’s future.”
Read the full press release on Scaled Agile.
Analyst Take: In an era of rapid IT modernization and digital transformation, one of the lesser discussed, but potentially more critical elements is the frameworks that enterprises adopt to guild change and development of the tools, processes and technologies that drive their organizations.
What is Scaled Agile?
Scaled Agile is by no means a household name, but the company is one of the leaders in agile frameworks, which the company refers to as its SAFe.
Today, SAFe is in its fourth iteration and has been impressively adopted by 70 percent of the Fortune 100. Some other noteworthy statistics include its volume of users with more than 500,000 practitioners that have been trained and certified through a role-based curriculum that features 10 different SAFe certifications. Due to the growth of the framework, Scaled Agile has now added an annual event called the SAFe Summit that brings thousands of practitioners every year.
Scaled Agile is also very focused on building a significant partners ecosystem. Today the company touts over 280 partners, including many of the world’s largest SI’s and Consultancies that partner with Scaled Agile to train and deliver projects based upon the SAFe framework.
SAFe 5.0: What does the 5th Generation of the Platform Offer?
As mentioned above, by the 4th generation, SAFe had seen widespread adoption among the world’s largest companies, but much like the speed of technology, the frameworks have to change equally as fast for companies to be able to keep up with their agile objectives. With this in mind, Scaled Agile focused on updating the fifth generation to address digital transformation topics like customer centricity, program measurability, culture and silo mitigation and time to value to name a few. Per the company’s press release, the following are the launch highlights for SAFe 5.0
Key Highlights of SAFe® 5.0:
Focusing on customer centricity and design thinking enables the organization to understand the problem and design the right solution
New Measure and Grow guidance helps the organization determine its current state of business agility and identify tactical steps to improve economic outcomes and reach its desired future state
New Continuous Learning Culture competency provides a set of values and practices that encourage everyone in the enterprise to continually learn—and innovate—together
New Organizational Agility competency helps teams optimize their business processes, evolve strategy with clear and decisive new commitments, and quickly adapt to capitalize on new opportunities
By expanding to include business teams, SAFe 5.0 enables all teams in the organization to participate in creating, delivering, and supporting innovative business solutions
A new SAFe Principle—Organize Around Value—helps enterprises align their development efforts around the full, end-to-end value flow
Overall Impressions of Agility Frameworks and SAFe 5.0
Building enterprise agility is going to continue to be critical to every organization’s digital transformation. To conceptualize, build and deploy enterprise tools, there has to be a series of best practices or agility becomes wrapped in chaos.
Organizations like Scaled Agile provide a critical component to enterprises seeking to benefit from the concept of agile, and that is found in the framework. While some pundits and individuals can be critical of specific frameworks, I firmly believe these types of offerings, much like a masters degree or certification from a prestigious university offer a set of universally digestible and manageable ideas that can be taken and molded to an individual organizations culture and principals to deliver better business and technology outcomes.
I also believe that the new SAFe 5.0 Framework took some very important agile adjacencies into consideration by bringing customer experience and centricity along with cross-functional enablement into its framework. This will gain a strong reaction from those Fortune 100 users of SAFe along with companies that are in the consideration phase for frameworks and methodologies that can drive critical organizational transformation to their businesses.
In the end, all companies are chasing a similar outcome when it comes to adopting technology to survive and then thrive into the future. As organizations grow, complexity is exponential and having a guiding framework for implementing technological change is important. My take is that SAFe 5.0 provides the framework, but has been elevated by taking broader human elements of transformation into its development to help companies tackle the convergence of people, process and technology.
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Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
Image: Scaled Agile, Inc.