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Benefits of the Scaled Agile Framework

by Vijayan Seenisamy
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If you’re on the fence about getting a SAFe certification or turning your business into a SAFe enterprise, it might help to know the advantages of the Scaled Agile framework. Though the Agile framework was originally designed for software development teams, its principles and practices can be applied across a range of other industries. This includes marketing, sales and even construction.

To put it simply, the Scaled Agile framework is a set of practices that aims to streamline and improve the workflow of a professional team. It does through a number of principles. The major ones include building incrementally through ‘sprints’, decentralising decision-making and always taking variability into account.

So let’s have a look at the benefits of adapting a Scaled Agile framework.

  1. Improved product quality

In the Agile framework, a project is segmented into multiple ‘sprints. In these sprints, the teams are expected to complete an early iteration of the final product as quickly as possible. Usually, each sprint lasts around one to four weeks. At the end of an iteration, the product is released to end users for testing. This process is repeated multiple times until the product is completely developed.

The benefit of this approach is that the team can quickly identify issues with the product and make the necessary changes when the next iteration comes around. It allows the team to work with immediate user feedback and adjust the product requirements accordingly. As a result of continuous testing and incremental development, the products of SAFe enterprises tend to be of a higher quality.

On the other hand, in the traditional waterfall method, a product isn’t sent out to the users until the development process is fully completed. This process could take months if not years to finish. When the product is released and issues arise, it would take a lot of effort to redo years of planning and work. In that time, the users are simply stuck with an inferior, unadapted product.

  1. Faster ROI

The Agile framework also shortens the time it takes for you to see returns. This is an advantage regardless of how successful the project is. For example, if you’re seeing a high ROI on a product, you’ll be able to immediately capitalise on that success by supporting that said product through further development or marketing. On the other hand, if you’re not getting the returns you expected, the development team will quickly be able to make the necessary changes for the next iteration.

By seeing faster results, your enterprise will be more agile and more able to take the necessary steps to adapt. You’ll be able to roll with changes in consumer behaviour, economic trends and technological advancements. It will also allow your business to immediately plan for the future without having to wait for a product to yield returns.

  1. Reduced risk

Starting a new project is a financial risk for any business. This is partly the reason the waterfall method involves an extensive planning process. Indeed, you want to iron out any issues with the project before you spend resources on it.

The issue with the waterfall method is that you simply can’t foresee every problem that a project will face. Some problems will only arise until after the project is complete. At that point, you’ve likely already invested a lot of money and time in the project. If you have to abandon it, it will mean a significant loss of resources for your business.

With the Agile framework, however, you’ll be able to assess the effectiveness of a project only after a couple of iterations. If you feel that the project isn’t meeting your expectations, you can pull the plug on it and minimise your losses.

  1. Organises workflow and clarifies roles
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The Scaled Agile framework organises a project into different artifacts. Two of the major artifacts are the product backlog and the burndown chart.

The product backlog holds all of the feature sets. A feature set is a group of functions that needs to be developed for the final product. From this backlog, the team can organise their workflow and prioritise certain sets by putting them into the sprint backlog.

The burndown chart, on the other hand, is simply a progression chart that shows how much progress the development team has made. The burndown chart is usually for keeping track of schedules. It can also be used to update stakeholders on the status of the project.

In an agile framework, the power of decision-making is also decentralised. This means that multiple figureheads are responsible for different parts of the project. The scrum master is responsible for ensuring a smooth Agile workflow, the product owner is responsible for deciding the feature sets of the product and the development team is responsible for creating said product. Through this clear-cut approach, everyone on the team will be able to understand what their jobs are and who to talk to about certain issues.

  1. Customer satisfaction

Improving products, listening to user feedback, and speeding up the creation process all leads to customer satisfaction. By involving customers in the development stages, they will become more engaged in the product and offer you various perspectives on how to improve on it. Through an Agile approach, they will be able to see incremental progress at the end of each sprint. They’ll also see that their feedback is directly being implemented into the final product, increasing their trust in your business.

The scaled agile approach is a great way to increase productivity and improve efficiency. If you feel that the framework can benefit your business, there are plenty of SAFe certification providers in Australia that you can contact. Many providers offer SAFe coaching services that can help you implement the Agile framework and turn your business into a SAFe enterprise.

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