Thorsten Janning

Thorsten Janning

CSO at KEGON AG, Germany

The Framework for an agile organization: The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Many development teams have become more efficient using Scrum and Kanban. Now many larger software development organizations are on the way not only to roll out agility to the whole organization but also to eliminate the largest impediments for agilizing the processes portfolio management or release management. The root cause for such impediments often lies in the areas of a complex software architecture or “soft” disciplines like cultural change, HR or organization.

In one of my early projects transforming an organization to an agile organization I was asked to paint a big picture soon after installing the first Scrum teams. All our pictures have not been as good as the Big Picture of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Big Picture gives a great overview to the most important processes and process interfaces of portfolio management, requirements management, release management and development. And above all it is a guide to find and answer the most important questions coming up during a typical agile transformation project.

Release planning in large organizations means to synchronize the sprint goals and dependencies of many teams. The practice for such a planning is the scaling of a sprint planning session – so called release train.

Some agilists feel the SAFe as a waterfall model for portfolio and release management. Ken Schwaber has introduced an alternative approach for scaling agility. He does not describe a Big Picture but a process of continuous improvement with some key performance indicators to measure the improvement on the way to agility. In our experience a successful implementation of the SAFe typically also is an evolutionary process of improving portfolio and release management process while the metrics of the Ken Schwaber approach seems to be very helpful to “manage” a sustainable cultural change.

Presentation to be downloaded: PDF (4,70 MB)

About Thorsten Janning

Dr. Thorsten Janning (born 1962) graduated in Mathematics and worked in the IT industry since 1990. His career took him as an architect and project manager over consulting and user organizations as well as a university professor to one of the first system integration and training companies quoted at the German new market as a CEO responsible for system integration and training. As co-founder (in 2002) he is a partner and CEO at KEGON AG. Focus of his professional activities is the development of efficient organizations for IT service providers and the implementation of complex architectures in application products. Dr. Janning has also implemented his long-term experience in the development of new technologies in a variety of publications and conference developments. Since 2011 he also is chief editor of the leading magazine on IT management and software engineering OBJEKTSPEKTRUM.