Accelerating Value Flow with SAFe

Extended SAFe Guidance News SAFe Framework Updates

With its roots in Agile, Lean, and DevOps, SAFe has always been a flow-based system. Empowered, cross-functional Agile teams pull work from an economically prioritized backlog to deliver the most value in the shortest time. The Continuous Delivery Pipeline helps teams deliver quickly and directly to the customer.

But the goal of the enterprise isn’t to be Agile, Lean, or SAFe; the goal is to provide a continuous flow of value to the customer. That is the only way to thrive in this age of constant disruption and increasingly complex technologies.

This begs the question of what really constitutes flow and how best to achieve it. To that end, we’ve been focused on improving our guidance to better describe how flow systems work and what impediments teams are likely to encounter. Of course, the usual suspects of excess WIP and large batch sizes are ever-present and must be continuously addressed, but that doesn’t begin to address all the potential issues that impede flow. The figure below illustrates eight properties that are common to every flow system and provides clues as to where interruptions to flow are likely to occur.

Figure 1. All flow systems have eight common properties
Figure 1. All flow systems have eight common properties

With this understanding we are excited to announce a three-article series to help teams better accelerate flow through their value streams:

  • The Value Stream Management article has been updated to more clearly articulate how Lean thinking incorporates flow to guide continuous value stream improvement.
  • Accelerating Flow with SAFe is a new article that provides the context for thinking about flow through the full Business Agility Value Stream (BAVS). The BAVS provides guidance for delivering value, from identifying a new business opportunity to delivering solutions that address that opportunity.
  • Make Value Flow without Interruptions is a new article that describes how flow systems work and, more importantly, how to improve flow by identifying and addressing interruptions to flow that teams are likely to encounter. This article describes a set of ‘eight flow accelerators’ that can be used to debug and improve flow at the Team, ART, Large Solution, and Portfolio level.

In addition, we recently introduced two new articles on Kanban to provide better guidance on achieving flow using Team Kanban in SAFe. And of course, Scrum also contributes to flow, so we are releasing updates to the ScrumXP and Scrum Master articles that emphasize how to better enable flow with Scrum.

With these new articles and updates, our goal is to help teams and the enterprise make significant improvements in the velocity of their value delivery and in their ability to adapt quickly in these turbulent times.

These articles—like all of SAFe—are part of a continuous learning journey that is focused on delivering innovative solutions to the market faster and better. Advancing our thinking about flow is an important part of the journey.

—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.

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