During our recent free webinar on Organizational Agility with SAFe 5.0, lots of interesting questions were raised about the methods and tools to support it. Just in case any of you were unable to join in with the webinar or were unaware of it, we thought it would be useful to include some of the questions and answers below.
SAFe Challenges and Opportunities
- What are the challenges when implementing a dual operating system and how do we manage them?
- Andrew Sales, SAFe Program Consultant Trainer, Scaled Agile Inc.: This article on Business Agility goes into more detail about dual operating systems and how to organize them around value streams. It also covers how SAFe offers the opportunity to focus on customers, innovation, and growth: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/business-agility/.
One challenge is ensuring change of behaviours in the traditional hierarchy to support a more Lean-Agile way of working and the needs of a modern workforce. Here are two useful starting points that will help achieve this:
- The Evolving Role of Managers: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/the-evolving-role-of-managers/
- An Agile Approach to People Operations: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/agile-hr/.
- What about customer journeys and empathy maps?
- Mark Des Biens, SAFe Program Consultant, Targetprocess: Customer Journeys and Empathy Maps can be useful tools for better understanding the "Why" of customers’ initiatives. The Scaled Agile Framework discussed in depth establishing empathy, designing the customer journey, and the potential problems and solutions you will come across with Design Thinking: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/design-thinking/
SAFe and Job Roles/Company Structure
- How can we combine Lean-Agile principles with PMI methods for a PMO?
- Andrew Sales, SAFe Program Consultant Trainer, Scaled Agile Inc.: In SAFe, the PMO can play a critical role, particularly in supporting successful program execution. We describe the role within the Agile Portfolio Operations and Lean Governance dimensions of the Lean Portfolio Management competency.
SAFe recommends transforming a traditional PMO to become an Agile PMO as part of the transformation of the portfolio to Lean-Agile principles and practices.
More information can be found in this article: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/lean-portfolio-management/.
- Can you tell me more about ART, its importance in an agile development release train and DevOps operation in product support?
- Andrew Sales, SAFe Program Consultant Trainer, Scaled Agile Inc.: Agile Release Trains, or ARTs, are long-lived teams that work together to deliver value through solutions. Additional data on Agile Release Train teams, including the set of common principles ARTs operate on, critical ART roles and detailed information on how ART applies cadence and synchronization to assure that the system is iterating as a whole can be found here: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/agile-release-train/.
- Who performs the cross-functional team delivery planning? Also, is there a role for project managers in SAFe? I hear about DevOps Product or DevOps Project Manager but it’s not very clear if SAFe has a set role for Project Managers.
- Andrew Sales, SAFe Program Consultant Trainer, Scaled Agile Inc.: The teams are responsible for planning their own work, as they are the ones who best understand the work. Although, Project Managers can play a crucial role as part of Lean-Agile development.
This webinar 'Opportunities for Project Managers in a Lean-Agile Enterprise' — provides more detailed information on Project Managers in SAFe.
Also, you can find additional information in the following video by Scaled Agile Inc. on Role Mapping in SAFe, which describes the new roles and who may be well suited to fill these.
- Should an agile team have a DevOps team or make them part of the culture?
- Mark Des Biens, SAFe Program Consultant, Targetprocess: DevOps, and a continuous delivery mindset, is very important to understand the end-to-end flow of delivery of value to your customer. Targetprocess has integrations for team tools, source control, and DevOps toolchain to help make the link from idea to delivery.
You can find more information on how our powerful integrations facilitate enterprise agility at all levels on our integrations page: https://www.targetprocess.com/integrations/
- What’s the best way to structure our projects/efforts so they are aligned?
- Mark Des Biens, SAFe Program Consultant, Targetprocess: SAFe talks about Products over Projects. Program Increments are 10-13-week timeboxes that allow multiple teams to deliver features grouped into solutions. Organizing teams around the delivery of solution value is a key area for SAFe. Now that so many employees work from home, our Remote PI Planning feature might be particularly relevant for you: https://www.targetprocess.com/features/remote-pi-planning/.
You can also learn to align your business goals and development effort with the help of our OKR solution: https://www.targetprocess.com/solutions/okr/
SAFe and Targetprocess
- The Agile coaches in our organization strongly recommended to not try SAFe adoption without tools. It would be cumbersome and painful to do so. Are there any recommended tools that keep up with the different SAFe evolutions?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Targetprocess is very flexible software. We could support SAFe 5.0 the day after it was released because it's all about configuration. The tool can also adjust easily to your specific processes if they are slightly different from SAFe. This means you'll be on the safe side if you use Targetprocess for your SAFe implementation.
You can discover more about how Targetprocess helps mid and large-sized enterprises implement the Scaled Agile Framework and how it helps with the development and delivery of enterprise-class technology-based solutions here: https://www.targetprocess.com/solutions/full-safe/.
- How do you organize new ideas that impact multiple portfolios?
- Mark Des Biens, SAFe Program Consultant, Targetprocess: New ideas that may impact multiple portfolios can spawn Epics or Features Cross-Portfolio. Creating the work in the relevant portfolio is a best-case scenario. Relations and reporting can roll up to the original idea for tracking and reporting purposes.
You can find out more about how our Service Desk (Ideas) solution allows users to search and vote for ideas, as well as adding comments and tracking the status of different items: https://www.targetprocess.com/guide/featured/service-desk-overview.
- In setting up Targetprocess to operate according to SAFe, how am I supposed to use ‘Project’, as they are the starting point of the Targetprocess hierarchical data system? What do they become in a SAFe environment? Should I consider a Project as an ART?
- Mark Des Biens, SAFe Program Consultant, Targetprocess: For a SAFe process we rename the ‘Project’ entity, so it becomes a ‘Product’ in most cases. The Product will be aligned to one or more ARTs and Program Increments. This allows you to plan the work in the ARTs and have one Product potentially span multiple ARTs.
You can discover more detailed information on Data Model and Hierarchy in the SAFe Data Model on our support site: https://www.targetprocess.com/guide/entity-types/data-model-overview/.
- How does Targetprocess work for organizations that are using another scaling model?
- John Blevins, Account Executive, Targetprocess: Targetprocess can support different scaling models and is also used by mixed-model organizations. For example, you can have a SAFe process for one business unit, and another using LeSS or Scrum of Scrum. Each process can have its own set of terms, workflows and unique setups. You can discover more information on the built-in flexibility of Targetprocess on our support page for processes and workflows: https://www.targetprocess.com/guide/settings/processes-and-workflows/.
Targetprocess Onboarding and Customization
- What is the estimated time for the basic tool implementation of Targetprocess?
- John Blevins, Account Executive, Targetprocess: A typical implementation of Targetprocess takes days, not weeks. We have a proven and structured method of defining your solution needs, setting up your instance and doing the appropriate hands-on training to ensure you are ready to provide the maximum value using Targetprocess as quickly as possible. You can learn more about implementation from different perspectives on the Solutions page on our website: https://www.targetprocess.com/solutions/.
- What's the onboarding process for a company that already uses tools like Jira/Portfolio?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: We can either import the data from Jira or integrate with Jira. You can speak to us about your specific needs by messaging us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This allows us to talk about the onboarding process and solutions that will work best for you specifically.
- Can dashboards be customized and set as the default view by team, train, or PI?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Yes. Dashboards are fully customizable. They can be added to a team folder and become a default view for them. They are a great way to track progress at various levels and group together items, such as widgets, views, and reports. You can learn more about Dashboards and how useful they can be, as well as creating custom layouts and setting access levels, in our Dashboards guide: https://www.targetprocess.com/guide/boards/dashboards
- Is everything demonstrated in the webinar out of the box functionality or is there some customization/scripting involved?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Everything demonstrated in the webinar is available by request and can be activated on your account on the same day. Please contact email@example.com if you'd like to find out more about any of the solutions or have one or more added to your account.
- Is there any way you can map retrospective ceremonies and actions?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Yes, we have a solution for retrospectives and related action items in Targetprocess. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
- Is this a replacement for Jira/V1/Rally or will it allow me to customize the Portfolio or Solution Level if a customer needs it?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Targetprocess can replace Jira/V1/Rally or be integrated with them to collect teams data and then be used on top of Jira/V1/Rally for Program/Solution/Portfolio levels. You can learn more about how Targetprocess works with specific frameworks, for certain roles, or by functional area on our Solutions page: https://www.targetprocess.com/solutions/
- Can dependencies be used in a Portfolio Kanban level?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Yes. You can create and see dependencies for any work item on any view. You can find out more about the key features of our Lean Portfolio solution here: https://www.targetprocess.com/solutions/agile-portfolio/
- Can views with specific contexts be saved and shared?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Yes. You can configure the views in Targetprocess and share them with both those who have a Targetprocess licence and those who do not have a licence.
- Do the team states in Targetprocess roll up into common states for cross-team reporting?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Yes. You can build reports based on Team States, as well as being based on the main process flow.
- Are individual users directly assigned to teams persistently, or is it merely inferred based on ownership of work?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Users are assigned to Teams persistently (one user can belong to several teams), and teams are organized into Agile Release Trains, which are organized into Solution Trains.
- Are the features discussed in the webinar available to all Targetprocess users or are there additional licenses we must buy?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: The features discussed in the webinar are available for all Targetprocess users.
- Can work be directly associated with one or more milestones and progress against different milestones tracked?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: A single work item can be linked to one milestone. Yes, you can track progress towards a milestone as well as the completeness of a work item against a milestone. You can learn more about milestones, including their uses and how to customize them, on our support page dedicated to milestones here: https://www.targetprocess.com/guide/entity-types/milestones/
- You showed integration with MS Azure DevOps. Do you also have an integration with Jira Software or other Atlassian products?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Yes. Targetprocess integrates with Jira Software. You can learn more about ensuring information flows freely between the tools, providing greatly improved visibility at different levels of your organization, on our integrations page for Jira Software: https://www.targetprocess.com/integrations/atlassian-jira/
- Do Miro board objects create objects directly in Targetprocess for tracking?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Not yet, but this is something we plan on adding soon. Watch this space.
- Can your tool integrate with other tools, like Jira or TFS?
- Olga Niler, Head of Solution Design and Consulting, Targetprocess: Yes. Targetprocess can be used on Program/Solution/Portfolio levels, while teams are using Jira Software or TFS. You can learn more about how Targetprocess empowers business and IT with integrations here: https://www.targetprocess.com/integrations/
We’re extremely pleased with how the webinar went and can’t wait to engage with you all again soon.
If you have any questions that aren’t covered here, please post them as comments, we’re always happy to answer your questions.
Targetprocess is a visual software platform to help you adopt and scale agile across your enterprise. Use SAFe, LeSS, or implement your own framework to achieve business agility and see the value flow through the entire organization. To consider it for your own organization or to see the features described above, request a live product demo.
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