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This post is from the Collabnet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Jul 19, 2017 — Enterprise Agile Planning expert

SAFe® 4.5 with VersionOne

Enterprise Agile Planning

Designed to simplify and accelerate the adoption of agile at scale, VersionOne provides unparalleled support for Scaled Agile Framework at all levels of the enterprise. Learn how VersionOne supports the key constructs, practices, and metrics defined by SAFe 4.5 including Communities of Practice and DevOps in this overview of our webinar, SAFe 4.5 with VersionOne.

What’s New in SAFe 4.5

Version 4.5 of SAFe was released just a few weeks ago, and includes two very significant advances.

Configurability

SAFe 4.5 ConfigurabilityFirst, rather than presenting just one or two options, SAFe 4.5 offers four different configurations to meet the needs of different organizations, or even different parts of the same organization. Even with these configurations, which are designed to fit the scaling needs of most organizations, SAFe’s authors realize, and expect, that organizations may need to make unique adaptations.

  • Essential SAFe includes just the Team and Program levels, and it provides the minimal elements necessary to be successful with SAFe.
  • Portfolio SAFe is for enterprises that build multiple solutions, which have minimal dependencies on one another, but require portfolio/level coordination, strategy, investment, and governance. It includes the Team, Program, and Portfolio levels.
  • Large Solution SAFe is for enterprises that are building large and complex solutions, which do not require the constructs of the portfolio level. It includes the Team, Program, and Large Solution levels.
  • Full SAFe includes all four levels: Team, Program, Large Solution, and Portfolio. It supports building large, integrated solutions that typically require hundreds of people or more to develop and maintain.

Continuous Delivery Pipeline

Second, is the introduction of the Continuous Delivery Pipeline. SAFe 4.5 defines Continuous Delivery as: “More frequent delivery of value to the end user”. The Scaled Agile Framework emphasizes the decoupling of development from releasing. The idea is that developing on cadence facilitates alignment and synchronization across many teams working on the same solution, while software can be released whenever it makes the most business sense to do so. The pipeline here embraces the Lean Startup philosophy, using an iterative “Hypothesize/Build/Measure/Learn” cycle, where delivered software results in feedback to the ongoing delivery process. Although delivery generally moves from left to right, continuous product and process improvement are central. Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment require that DevOps capabilities are seen as integral to the whole value stream, rather than as separate, “hand/off” activities. As such, visibility into the flow of value all the way to the customer is critical.

How VersionOne Simplifies SAFe 4.5

VersionOne supports the key constructs, practices, and metrics defined by SAFe, including Communities of Practice and DevOps. In short, VersionOne provides a centralized environment that simplifies your adoption and implementation of the Scaled Agile Framework, regardless of which configurations of SAFe you need. From the inception of SAFe, we found that Scaled Agile Inc. was aligned with VersionOne’s vision of enterprise/scale agility, and that many of SAFe’s constructs were already built into our platform. As SAFe evolves, we continue to work closely with its authors, not only ensuring continuing platform support for SAFe, but also providing thought leadership as to the direction of SAFe. Here are the top ways VersionOne simplifies SAFe:

Configurable Planning Hierarchy

Use the best SAFe configuration for your organization. VersionOne’s flexible planning hierarchy makes it easy to use any mix of SAFe configurations, from Essential SAFe to Full SAFe.        

Strategic Themes

Group your epics by strategic theme and visualize them in various contexts to determine if your plans are in consistent with your business strategy.  

Lean Budgets

Ensure financial accountability while maintaining delivery speed and flexibility. VersionOne budgets enable you to allocate budgets by value stream and/or strategic theme, in terms of capacity, percentages, or currency.

Epic Hypothesis and Lean Business Case

Capture lean business cases and test epic hypotheses within your VersionOne epics. VersionOne epics also provide you the information needed for lean business cases such as business value, cost of delay, and WSJF.

Roadmaps

Understand and communicate your near/term plan of intent. VersionOne roadmaps provide context around current and planned priorities to internal and external stakeholders.  

Team & Program PI Objectives

Commit to and track business outcomes. In VersionOne’s PI planning environment, establish Team level objectives and stretch objectives, as well as Program/level objectives.

Program Predictability Report

Using the planned vs actual business values enable you to easily create performance metrics using the performance predictability report or program predictability report. These reports help you predict how well your organization will be able to deliver in the future.

Program Board & Solution Board

Understand and manage cross/team dependencies within and across your program increments. The Program and Solution boards help you validate your plans during PI planning and manage them throughout PI execution.

TeamRoom

TeamRoom is a dedicated team/based planning and tracking environment that allows Scrum and Kanban teams to work side/by/side within the same release train, while staying focused on getting work done.

Portfolio Item Kanbans & Backlogs

Provide structure and visibility for solid decision making throughout your SAFe organization. From Portfolio to Team, nested Kanbans help you visualize and manage the flow of value.

Continuous Delivery

Delivery at a Glance lets you watch work items increase in maturity as they flow through your value streams, so that you never lose the connection between your features and the code that makes them a reality.

Progression Board

Automatically track individual backlog items or defects through source code, binary artifacts, automated testing, deployment and compliance delivery processes across all phase of your value/stream. You can also visualize how change is flowing at the feature, epic or portfolio levels.

Risk Metrics

VersionOne’s risk dashboard gives insight into commit distribution, rogue commits, risk, and code complexity. Identify key issues prior to releasing code into production.

Flow Metrics

VersionOne provides key “flow” metrics around the movement of software releases, allowing you to identify areas of opportunity. Measure time in phase, touch/time, wait/time, and overall value/stream efficiency.

Visualize Package & Deployment Content

Track business level changes associated with any collection of deployable artifacts including binary, compiled, and human readable objects. Easily compare feature or backlog differences between versions or deployments.  

Summary

VersionOne can support any configuration of SAFe, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to get up and running. In fact, you can implement different configurations of SAFe side/by/side, if needed, as well as make tweaks to any configuration you’ve implemented. VersionOne supports SAFe’s key constructs, like Strategic Themes, Budgets, connected kanbans, and PI Objectives. VersionOne also provides a PI Planning environment, Program and Solution Planning Board, as well as Roadmaps, TeamRooms, and PlanningRooms. This is just a short recap of our AgileLIVE webinar, SAFe 4.5 with VersionOne.   Scaled Agile Framework and SAFe are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.

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