Predictability Versus Agility Part II

Day 43.

SAFe measures the predictability of the Solution Train (Large Solution level), Agile Release Train (Program Level) and Teams (Team level).

Note: starting from SAFe 5.0, Program level and Team level became one and given a new name: Essential.

Business wants delivery of value to be predictable. FedEx gets my business because of their 100% predictability. ‘The world on time’ is their slogan.

Read my earlier post: Lessons From FedEx

Predictability is alive and paramount in SAFe, yet SAFe remains Agile… and Lean! Business Agility is also paramount.

‘Business Agility’ is what SAFe 5.0 is all about… and ‘Customer Centricity’. These two are achieved via the seven competencies of SAFe 5.0. More on these SAFe competencies in future blog posts.

Everyone commits to the work for the Program Increment (PI)… a PI is three months long (8 to 12 weeks, typically 10 weeks long)… and they don’t commit to the succeeding PIs. A rolling window/wave approach: one PI commitment at a time… this way, SAFe allows Agility.

A newly created highly prioritized work need not have to wait for a long time. Can you imagine the wait time for such a work if, for example, three PIs were committed simultaneously? Nine months of wait! Agility is gone.

This approach is the same at the team level. There is an Iteration Planning that supersedes what has been planned for during the PI planning…this allows Agility.

SAFe, in fact, during the execution of the program increment, allows mid-PI replanning when/if the need to recalibrate arises.

Every level in SAFe plan together and are aligned and synchronized across various domains. The solution, program, and teams are geared toward predictability — focused on the advancement and achievement of their PI objectives; however, the whole system is Lean and Agile… and will pragmatically respond to change rather than dogmatically follow a plan… will adapt to the situation in order to deliver the highest value at the least and reasonable lead time.

Caveat: too much variances in business and technology will be reflected in Teams’ Achievement Ratios (Actual over Planned Team PI Business Objectives) and… has cascading effect to the Agile Release Train’s Program Predictability Measure and … has cascading effect to the Solution Train’s Predictability Measure. Everyone will ‘feel’ the effect! Technology and Business are tied at the hip… both will sink or swim together… therefore, there is a culture of shared responsibility. One ecosystem… experiencing the ‘butterfly effect’: small causes may have large effects.

October 15, 2022: My new book, “SAFe Is Like …“, is now available on Amazon

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By Clarence Galapon

CE, MBA, Lean Agile Coach, Trainer, Teacher, SPC, RTE, PSM, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, PMP, CC, ABNLP NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner, NLP Coach, NLP Trainer, Practical Psychologist, Life Coach, Software Executive, Entrepreneur, Author, Investor, and Innovator with a Creative, Lean, Agile, and Wander mindset.

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