Dear all,

It’s been yet another busy week, so I am late again (our communication OKRs need to be updated with a KR for “Weekend Reading’s” punctuality, I suppose 😉 ).

As many of you know one of our core areas of work over the past three years is „product-oriented IT“, with corporate clients from building materials to Automotive. And product oriented IT benefits highly – like most product development efforts – from agile working models.

Given IT’s typical complexity and the dependencies between the various IT components however, corporates are too often immediately enticed by scaling frameworks, in particular the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

There is nothing wrong with frameworks per se. In particular the team behind SAFe has continuously been working since its inception to incorporate evolving agile best practices – including concepts and methods from Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and UX.

That’s a good thing. SAFe promotes these approaches into management ranks that are typically so bogged down with managing the ever-increasing complexity that they rarely ever have the time to worry about new working models. (Having been in such a position for several years of my career, I can commiserate).

At the same time, frameworks, and in particular highly complicated ones like SAFe, are not a panacea. Much less do they replace stated strategic goals and the definition (as well as the communication) of initiatives for implementing these goals.

Application of any framework – and SAFe is no exception in that respect – requires to fully understand its context. A framework also needs to be adapted to achieve the agreed goals in the particular context. Otherwise it ends up being yet another complicated solution for the ill-understood complex problems at hand.

Therefore we prefer to establish and communicate strategic context with the management in question before we develop or adapt suitable (scaling) agile working models together with the teams concerned.

We are not alone in that respect:

A Framework, Not a Prescription

by SAFe’s Adam Mattis. From the horse’s mouth: why SAFe is not prescriptive, not an organizational structure – and also not a formula for assured transformation success.
Click to view!

Why Agile Transformations Fail?

by Agility Gurus. 6 reasons why transformations by means of applying frameworks fail and why business functions should/must be a part of the transformation.
Click to view!

Agile Frameworks Aren’t the Destination –

Renowned author and consultant Jeff Gothelf likens frameworks to recipes and explains how to become a chef – and able to throw away the cookbooks.

Click to view!

For those of you who read German here’s a bonus read Drei Fallen beim Scaled Agile Framework (SAFE)

Have a great rest of the weekend!