Accelerating Time to Market with the Business Agility Value Stream

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Hello everyone,

Each year as I prepare for our annual SAFe Summit, I pause a bit to think more deeply about the future of software and systems development, and how that will impact the evolution of SAFe.  This year, I paid particular attention to a somewhat different source of information—specifically the financial markets—where I was looking to see what forward-thinking technology investments will likely alter the course of the industry.

It started to become clear, at least to the team and I, that investments in three general-purpose technologies will dramatically impact our software development future. Specifically, Big Data (Snowflake, a cloud-computing data warehousing company, was the largest software IPO in history); the absolute ubiquity of the Cloud (who doesn’t have a strategic theme for ‘cloud native-cloud first’); and how Artificial Intelligence is attracting unprecedented amounts of capital while simultaneously having an unprecedented impact on our daily lives. (Is an electric vehicle just a big, distributed software ecosystem that happens to be hosted on wheels, batteries, and electric motors?)

We concluded that the combination of these three technologies creates a tipping point that will change the very nature of software development.

But what does this have to do with Agile and SAFe? It seems clear that we’ll still need to be Agile, even more so. More experiments, a better Continuous Delivery Pipeline, faster feedback. We will still need Lean-Agile leaders who are versed in the new technologies and have the wits and confidence necessary to empower teams with the tools, methods, and authority they need to make fast, localized decisions. We’ll need to understand our existing and new value streams, and we’ll need to apply all the core competencies of SAFe.

We resolved to do two things:

  • Explain more clearly and succinctly how enterprises can use SAFe right now to accelerate value delivery for all kinds of systems and software applications, and
  • Start to develop guidance around what we are starting to see as the ‘second digital age’

My keynote was on the former, where I introduced a new perspective in the form of the SAFe Business Agility Value Stream. This view of SAFe represents the ultimate value stream, one that determines time-to-market and informs and drives all the others. Since then, we’ve refined our thinking, and you can read about that in the new guidance article Accelerating Time to Market with the Business Agility Value Stream.

As for #2 above, you’ll need to be a little patient, but stay tuned as you’ll see more on that soon.


—Dean and the Framework team


Author Info

Dean Leffingwell

Recognized as the one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices, Dean Leffingwell is an author, entrepreneur, and software development methodologist.

comment (4)

  1. David Clifton

    07 Mar 2022 - 10:45 am

    We are now discovering just how fragile are systems of systems. SAFE is the exact word to attract people who seek to protect their system investments.


      07 Mar 2022 - 11:49 am

      Thank you, David. And to be ‘safe’ in the digital era is to be bold, continuously experimenting, and out-learning the competition. We’re glad you found this article helpful.

  2. Adam J Mitchell

    25 Oct 2021 - 6:01 am

    The second digital age really resonates with what we are seeing in emerging markets. AI/ML will become part of most enterprises ecosystems just like Cloud is now an established taxonomy in pretty much all FTSE250.
    But I think it’s new tech like DeFi, decentralized finance, that is going to reset how companies offer value to customers. Think of it as the ‘Ford model T’ moment of our generation.

    • Andrew

      18 Nov 2021 - 3:49 am

      Thanks for your comment Adam. That’s a great point around DeFi and indeed any technologies that speed up the delivery of value and remove steps in the traditional customer journey will likely have a profound impact.

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