QnA with Chris James, President and COO at Scaled Agile Inc
Agile India 2018 will be dedicating a conference day to Digital Transformation on March 8th, 2018. When large enterprises think of Digital Transformation and Agile, scaling is perceived to be one of the biggest challenges. SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), which derives practices from Agile practices and methods, Lean product development, systems thinking, and observation of successful enterprises, may have some answers. Chris James will be presenting an interesting talk on Digital Transformation Day, titled, “Better SAFe than sorry – What makes SAFe such an effective framework to support Digital Transformation?”
Chris is an IT executive with more than 20 years of experience in training, certification and education, including international expertise supporting IT change and organization development programs. He has proven leadership in development, deployment, and growth of global professional services businesses that build agile IT organization skills and drive rapid program development. Previously at Rally Software as VP of Customer Success, Chris provided leadership for the rapid growth of transformation consulting services, Agile University, Customer Success programs, partner and technical services.
The #agileindia2018 team interviewed Chris to understand his take on scaling agile for large organizations and enterprises. This interview features the insights that Chris shared with us.
How do you see SAFe shaping up the path for organizations in the context of Digital Transformation?
SAFe enables enterprises and other organizations to rediscover their nimble roots, finding their way to improved time-to-market, productivity, quality and employee engagement. The SAFe Implementation Roadmap serves as a guide for organizations, allowing transformations to start at any level within the organization and grow from there.
What the are some of the key challenges organizations need to overcome while addressing scaling challenges as part of the Digital Transformation journey?
Large enterprise organizations face challenges of legacy culture, organizational alignment across multiple divisions/LOBs and processes that slow down, rather than empower, fast decision-making. Many organizations support an environment that embraces “business as usual,” over innovation and relentless alignment with customer needs.
Agile is at the heart of Digital Transformation and scaling is important for any successful Digital Transformation in large enterprises. Do you see both Scaling Agile and Digital Transformation complimenting each other or should there be different strategies for both?
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) was built to address the challenges faced by large organizations looking to embrace Digital Transformation and adopt Agile at Scale. The Framework addresses many challenges detailed above, providing a way for an organization to focus and align around value streams, relentlessly improving on products to meet ever-changing customer needs. SAFe embraces Agile at Scale, and, in the process, accelerates an organization’s Digital Transformation.
What are the key takeaways from your talk “Better SAFe than sorry – What makes SAFe such an effective framework to support Digital Transformation?”
This talk will introduce the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe version 4.5), including its core values, principles, and practices, along with a roadmap for implementation. Key takeaways are:
- Critical elements needed to realize the Framework’s benefits and needed to successfully deliver value at scale
- The guidance and training available for scaling Agile development across the portfolio, large solution, program, and team levels
- Understanding of how customers are implementing SAFe to accelerate solution development and support digital transformations.