To scale Agile, Lean-Agile organizations need disciplined Lean-Agile leaders. Scaling Agile requires leaders to drive and sustain lasting change by empowering individuals and teams to reach their potential and maintain a focus on maximizing customer value.
The main difference between Agile teams and Lean-Agile leaders lies in their responsibilities: Teams take a hands-on approach to solving problems and delivering value, whereas leaders monitor the progress of those teams, helping to remove impediments and reallocate work when a block is identified.
An Agile leader is also responsible for keeping an open channel of communication between management and individual team members. Leadership and team members must have the ability to ask questions and receive answers, provide feedback, and brainstorm the best path forward. Agile leaders are expected to avoid micromanaging, instead focusing on the strategic direction of the organization and providing the value streams the space to complete the work.
Team and technical agility
In the Scaled Agile Framework, Team and Technical Agility describes the principles and practices that Agile teams use to efficiently create value-adding solutions for their customers.
The result of these practices includes increased productivity, better quality, faster time-to-market, and predictable delivery of value.
Notably, SAFe 5.0 dropped “Dev Team” when describing Agile teams. This is a nod to non-IT business teams, further showing framework’s expansion beyond IT / software development to include business agility.
Agile product delivery
Scaling Agile enables enterprises to embrace a customer-centric approach to defining, building, and releasing valuable products and services in a continuous flow, called Agile Product Delivery. Agile Product Delivery helps organizations create solutions that provide greater value to customers while lowering development costs and reducing risk.
Enterprise solution delivery
Modern enterprises rely on the world’s largest and most sophisticated software applications, networks, and cyber-physical systems. Enterprise Solution Delivery describes the process of applying Lean-Agile principles and practices to the specification, development, deployment, operation, and evolution of these software solutions.
In scaling Agile, Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) aligns strategy and execution by applying Lean-Agile thinking to the way projects are planned, funded, and executed.
Lean Portfolio Management encourages organizations to think about breaking their planning and funding cycles down into smaller and more iterative chunks, much like how Agile work is broken down into smaller parts.
The key components of LPM involve changing how an organization manages:
- Strategy and investment funding
- Agile portfolio operations
Researchers at McKinsey & Company define the term “business agility” as “…the ability to quickly reconfigure strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology toward value-creating and value-protecting opportunities…” In scaling Agile, Organizational Agility describes how Agile teams optimize their business processes and practices to improve their ability to capitalize on new opportunities.
Continuous learning culture
Finally, Continuous Learning Culture in scaling Agile describes a set of values and practices that encourage individuals, and the enterprise as a whole, to continually increase knowledge, competence, performance, and innovation. Creating a Continuous Learning Culture involves: