SAFe®, for Scaled Agile Framework, is a knowledge base of proven and integrated practices for Lean, Agile and DevOps at enterprise scale. Indeed, as agile teams become mature and grew, they became challenged in monitoring larger programs which combine multiple related projects. The Scaled Agile Framework serves the business imperative of making organizations more agile in responding to digital disruption.
Laurent CHARLES from Enalean and Geoffroy GRELOT from French Government-Direction Générale de l’Armement, gave a talk recently at TuleapCon 2019 about SAFe in Tuleap. Watch this talk (in french, slides in english) or continue reading.

SAFe® with Tuleap at TuleapCon 2019

One of the key point in SAFe is the Agile Release Train (ART). The aim of the Train is to align teams to a common business and technology mission. In this talk, Laurent CHARLES, President of Enalean, points out the essentials of SAFe with a particular attention on the ART. Then, Geoffroy GRELOT, Assistant Chief Information Officer at the Direction Générale de l’Armement, shows how implementing SAFE using Tuleap.

Agile from team-level to enterprise-level

The first agile approaches were a major step, supporting a shift in providing a faster feedback loop between the drivers of requirements and developers transforming them into software.

However, Agile, in the form of Scrum or Kanban, was developed for small teams, up to 7 people. Over, team organisation is less effective, individual productivity decreases. These methodologies focus on individual team planning and delivery activities. By itself, they do not scale to the needs of the larger enterprise’ requirements. How do people in an enterprise running 10, 20, or even hundreds of projects can be aligned with each other?

Scrum of Scrum, LeSS and SAFe

As the need for scaling Agile practices grows, several scaled approaches appear. Among them, here are 3 famous frameworks : Scrum of Scrum, LeSS and SAFe.

Scrum of Scrum -SoS: it is  a technique to scale Scrum up to large groups, over a dozen people, consisting of dividing the groups into Agile teams of 5-10. “

If you are looking to scale Agile in a larger organization, LeSS and SAFe are the options to choose from.

Large Scale Scrum -LeSS-“LeSS is Scrum applied to many teams working together on one product.” It is particularly interesting for midsized companies, with less than 10 teams.”

SAFe is based on a combination of agile and lean principles. SAFe calls for close collaboration and alignment across teams and aims to centralize decision-making. SAFe is for large-scale software teams; it is viable in supporting 50 to thousands of people. Teams are involved on a program of multiple projects and want to still embrace the best parts of agile, despite their team’s large size.

What problem does SAFe address?

The focus of SAFe is to manage large-scale programs in an agile manner. A program is a collection of projects that are functionally related. As mentioned, standard Scrum targets small teams. SAFe takes the patterns of agile good practices (and DevOps) and expands them to work for programs.

SAFe is particularly valuable for highly complex software and systems as in aerospace, IOT industries and government which have to deal with an optimal lead time. Safe ensures consistent approach towards planning, execution and delivery. SAFe promotes the sharing of strategy, common, vision and architecture amongst development and the managerial teams.

The Agile Release Train (ART) is a key concept in SAFe. The Agile Release Train is a long lived, cross-functional team of agile teams. As a virtual organization (5 to 12 teams, typically 50 to 125 people) the ART plans, commits, and executes together according to the Program Increment (PI) Objectives. The PI Objectives is like a summary of the business and technical goals that a train intends to achieve in the upcoming milestone.

Different configuration of SAFe

SAFe 4.5 offers 4 different configurations to meet the needs of different organizations, or even different parts of the same organization.

  • Essential SAFe includes the Team and Program levels. It provides the cornerstone elements necessary to be successful with SAFe.
  • Portfolio SAFe is for enterprises that build multiple solutions, which have small dependencies on one another, but require portfolio-level coordination, strategy, investment, and governance. It includes the Team, Program, and Portfolio levels.
  • Large Solution SAFe is for enterprises that are building large and complex solutions, which do not require the constructs of the portfolio level. It includes the Team, Program, and Large Solution levels.
  • Full SAFe includes all four levels: Team, Program, Large Solution, and Portfolio. It supports building large, integrated solutions that typically require hundreds of people or more to develop and maintain.

SAFe with Tuleap

Tuleap® supports the key concepts, practices, and metrics defined by SAFe. Tuleap provides a centralized environment that simplifies your adoption and implementation of the Scaled Agile Framework, regardless of which configurations of SAFe you need.

Implementing SAFe with Tuleap brings your organization unique capabilities and value-added:

  • Share strategy and business objectives
  • Enforce cross-team and cross-Agile Release Trains collaboration
  • Synchronizing work from multiple projects
  • Release on a regular cadence, whatever the teams
  • Implement DevOps principles : automated code-build-delivery development cycle, as “one-button deployment”

Combine Tuleap modules to manage unifed scaled agile and devops value streams. Use notably:

  • Tuleap Agile Dashboard : Tuleap Scrum and Kanban tools support for SAFe ceremonies and activities. Scrum, Kanban and hybrid teams can work side-by-side within the same release train. Tuleap Agile Dashboard enables configurable planning hierarchy, collaborative backlogs management, program increments planning and projects execution. With Tuleap agile charts and reports, decision-makers can track in real-time performance and alignement with business objectives.
  • Tuleap Trackers: Leverage the high versatility and granular configuration capabilities of Tuleap Trackers to customize requirement types, workflows, permissions, and notifications. Track all types of items and capture changes and updates along the whole train.
  • Continuous Delivery Pipeline : Developers on the Team level benefit from Tuleap integrated requirements management, development management, and QA & test management feature sets. Tuleap automates the coding-versioning-build-test-release workflow within one single integrated environment. Tuleap enable connecting Eclipse, Git, Pull Request, Jenkins and Tuleap Test Management to business requirements.


Manon Midy

Manon has been working in the software engineering world from 2008. She enjoys the challenge to create economic value for a company where innovation and open source are the DNA. She is convinced it’s possible to provide professional services embracing FLOSS values (open-mind, transparency, co-elaboration) with business objectives. She believes the real strength of Enalean comes from the valuable men and women in their teams, as well as the powerful Tuleap techno. 

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