Scaled Agile Framework Whitepaper


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This paper describes how Rally Software provides a comprehensive
solution for implementing SAFe in your organization. While you will
find many vendors providing Agile support for the Team level, Rally
provides support at each and every one of the three SAFe levels.

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Scaled Agile Framework Whitepaper

  1. 1. Using Rally Software to Implementthe Scaled Agile FrameworkTMA Comprehensive Solution for Portfolio, Program,and Team Levels of AdoptionIn 2012, Dean Leffingwell released the Scaled Agile Framework(SAFe), “a proven, publicly available framework for applyingLean|Agile practices at enterprise scale.”1 While Agile softwaredevelopment is well understood at the team level, this frameworkcodifies how to take Agile principles above the Team level and intothe Program and Portfolio levels. This Agile Portfolio Managementframework comes at a time when more and more organizationsadopting Agile at scale struggle to keep up with the fast pace ofAgile teams’ software delivery.This paper describes how Rally Software provides a comprehensivesolution for implementing SAFe in your organization. While you willfind many vendors providing Agile support for the Team level, Rallyprovides support at each and every one of the three SAFe levels.This stems from Rally’s close cooperation with Leffingwell duringthe development of Rally Portfolio Manager and the influence ofLeffingwell’s Agile Software Requirements2 book, from which theScaled Agile Framework was created.The paper is organized by the SAFe levels - Portfolio, Program andTeam - so you may skip to the section most pertinent to your role inthe organization. Portfolio Managers, Product Strategists, CIOs, Portfolio Section PMOs Product Managers, Program Managers, VP of Program Section Products, VP of Development, PMOs Product Owners, ScrumMasters, Developers, Team Section and TestersNOTE: This paper assumes you are familiar with SAFe. To learn about SAFe, Leffingwell, Dean (2011). Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practicesfor Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise. Boston: Pearson ©2012 Rally Software Development 1
  2. 2. Using Rally Software to Implement the Scaled Agile FrameworkTMPortfolio LevelThis level translates the organization’s strategy into a set ofinvestment themes, business, and architectural epics. Investmentthemes track budget allocations and help monitor and respect thoseallocations as people plan. Business and architectural epics are large-scale development initiatives that realize the value of investmentthemes. Kanban systems provide a quantitative, transparent basis foreconomic decision-making.In Rally, portfolio items represent artifacts for the Portfolio andProgram levels of SAFe. By default, SAFe includes Business Epics,Architectural Epics and Features at those levels, but “there is noperfect hierarchy” so you may create any number of additional levels,for instance, to track ©2012 Rally Software Development 2
  3. 3. Using Rally Software to Implement the Scaled Agile FrameworkTMRally Portfolio Manager provides the Portfolio Management Teamvisibility at the Epic level. Rally Support for the Portfolio Level SAFe Concepts Rally SAFe Support Unlimited number of portfolio item Customizable artifact hierarchy with customizable names Portfolio backlog Portfolio item grid Portfolio item Investment Category Investment theme field % budget allocation Portfolio alignment report Epics (business and architectural) “Epic” portfolio item Type field Portfolio item formatted Descrip- Epic lightweight business case tion field Portfolio item Preliminary Estimate Epic business value field Portfolio item Preliminary Estimate Epic size field Portfolio item Planned Start Date Epic estimated development field timeline (start/completion date) Portfolio item Planned End Date field Epic rank Portfolio Item Rank field Kanban Systems Portfolio Kanban Board Metrics Epic success criteria Portfolio Kanban exit ©2012 Rally Software Development 3
  4. 4. Using Rally Software to Implement the Scaled Agile FrameworkTM Portfolio Level view in RallyProgram LevelThe Program level is the level where we see most customers struggleand where SAFe provides some of its highest value by clearlydescribing how to address typical challenges. This level focuses onplanning and tracking the business value that Agile teams deliver.The key challenge is in channeling Agile teams’ execution power todrive desired business outcomes. After all, Agile is just a means toan end: to deliver more valuable software faster. Because Agile hashistorically started at the Team level, we see many organizations getlost in “a ocean of user stories” managed by Agile teams, with novisibility into actual business outcome delivered.Rally Portfolio Manager provides Product Management and ReleaseManagement teams with visibility at the Feature level. Rally support for the Program level SAFe Concepts Rally SAFe Support Portfolio Dashboard Grid showing Program Backlog Feature portfolio items Agile Release Train PSIs Portfolio item Planning Timebox field Program Roadmap Portfolio Dashboard Grid per ©2012 Rally Software Development 4
  5. 5. Using Rally Software to Implement the Scaled Agile FrameworkTM SAFe Concepts Rally SAFe Support Features Portfolio item with ‘Feature’ Type Feature cost of delay Portfolio item Vale Score Field Metrics Feature burndown Portfolio item burnup Portfolio item %done fields with Feature completeness Red Green Yellow indicator Portfolio item grid showing Program performance report %done fields (by size or by count) Portfolio Dashboard grid with PSI progress report %done and filtered by PSI Program level view in RallyTeam LevelRally is a leader in Agile project management, so this paper won’tattempt to fully cover Rally’s extensive support at the Team level.Rather, this paper highlights Rally’s key Team level features in supportof SAFe. There are many vendors selling Agile development toolsfor uncoordinated teams, (Atlassian Jira + GreenHopper, CollabnetScrumworks, Thoughtworks Mingle, and more) however, support forcoordinating teams is a tenet of SAFe.Rally provides Agile Teams with unique rollup capabilities in supportof the SAFe synchronized team cadence. This synchronization is keyto ensuring that SAFe coordination is in place. That way, Programand Portfolio levels don’t get lost in the ocean of user stories ©2012 Rally Software Development 5
  6. 6. Using Rally Software to Implement the Scaled Agile FrameworkTMby uncoordinated teams that have adopted software solutionsindependently from each other. SAFe Concepts Rally SAFe Support Team backlog Iteration backlog page Iteration tracking Iteration tracking board Common iteration schedule Matching iterations in all teams Team Level view in RallyConclusionWe hope this paper helped describe how to implement SAFewith Rally. If you need assistance with your SAFe implementation,contact us. Rally’s certified SAFe instructors provide implementationservices, Rally Portfolio Manager implementation workshops, and ahost of other services to help you scale your Agile adoption. Contactus at for more ©2012 Rally Software Development 6