Agility at scale is one of the crucial issues for large organizations. We interviewed four experts in order to put together an ebook, allowing to understand the contributions of agility at scale and SAFe. The following article is an excerpt from this ebook and allows us to see if SAFe is truly safe and secure for an organization.

jean-claude delagrange coach agile
Jean-Claude DELAGRANGE, agile coach

The risk depends on the human factor and the relationships between all members

The strenght of SAFe lies in organizing things in a scure way by integrating both traditional hierarchical roles and new roles, thereby ensuring both horizontal coverage and production synchronization on a non-hierarchical basis. And in doing this while setting strong, even restrictive, rules guaranteeing the effectiveness of the system as a whole.

The security of this way of organizing depends greatly on the human factor: in other words, both the willingness of those in the traditional roles to accept and make room for those in new roles and a good alchemy between the men and women who’ll be members of the teams.
The main risk is that the weight of the organization generated by the
framework slows down teams and makes decision-making more
cumbersome, especially since it’s difficult to ensure that all managers will truly play the agile game.

Laurence Hanot coach agile
Laurence HANOT, agile coach at Zenika

There is a risk of an unaccompanied, massive and unreasoned application of SAFe

From my point of view, SAFe doesn’t define any hierarchical roles. Rather, its rational lies in its provision of a virtual organization (“the second operating system” in SAFe 5.0 terms) to deliver products and solutions without changing the structure of the department or enterprise.

The risk is therefore precisely that it won’t go far enough, and it won’t help the enterprise to challenge its ecosystem or its own actual structure. However, I don’t know of a scaled agile approach that does this.

Another risk, but one shared by other approaches, is that of applying the framework “by the look” without adjustments or support, in a wholesale and unreasonable way. I haven’t yet encountered this on the ground.

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