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Lessons From SAFe Summit 2022

Conferences are always a “tell”; you learn almost as much indirectly – watching the people, listening to conversations in the corridors and over meals – as you do attending the sessions.

Which is good for people like me who are typically at these events working, rather than attending them.

So What Was the 2022 SAFe Summit Like?

Packed. Energetic and enthusiastic. The proportion of attendees with non-Agile-consulting company names on their badges was very high – a symbol of continued interest in Agile, and specifically in the kind of path to Agility that the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe™) represents.

I’m deeply aware of the industry controversy over SAFe. I’m aware of what it looks like in the wild – of companies that have done SAFe and shifted away, or who are in essence "rewriting" SAFe. That’s a good topic for a later piece. But the reality I saw was a significant and continued interest in SAFe – and an interest by Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI) in continuing to improve SAFe and keep it central in the marketplace of large organizations.

How Is SAI Maintaining the Viability of SAFe?

The model from SAI itself is basically unchanged.

There is a new emphasis on managing the flow of value through Agile Release Trains (ARTs); a focus on novel technical practices like data lakes and machine learning.

But the biggest changes, I think, are in improving enablement and training for SAFe practitioners through "Ready to Train" enablement and in a new module for kicking off SAFe using the "SAFe Jumpstart" – a one or two-day workshop to learn and plan a SAFe launch.

Learn more about the most valuable event in SAFe®.

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But the biggest point of conversation I heard was a commitment to take SAFe – and Agility – past IT and fully into the business.

SAFe doesn’t want to be the organizing principle for technology teams within organizations – it wants to be the organizing structure for the organization as a whole. In their own words:

Hear from other transformation leaders who’ve successfully introduced SAFe to new functional areas in our business agility experience reports.
Teach marketing teams how to use Lean, Agile, and SAFe practices using the Agile Marketing with SAFe® workshop, available with SAFe Enterprise or through a Scaled Agile Partner.
Equip your leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to support their Agile teams and manage change effectively with the Leading in the Digital Age program, available with SAFe Enterprise.

SAFe is aimed at the core leadership of modern organizations, who are struggling to embrace technology as a full partner in their organizations while also struggling with the fact that in most legacy organizations, technology is a drag on change, as well as a driver of it.

Can SAFe pull this off? Watch this space for more, and learn more about our Agile Consulting Services.

Where are you in terms of your Agile journey?

Download the Enterprise Agility Maturity Matrix below!

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Marc Danziger

Written by Marc Danziger

Marc Danziger is Senior Director, Agile Delivery, at Eliassen Group. An experienced technical delivery leader and system architect, he has worked in energy, finance, healthcare, retail, automotive, and ecommerce. He has also led iterative/Agile teams since 2000 and led Agile change efforts from team to enterprise.

Topics: Agile, Business Agility

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