Lean-Agile Mindset - Agile Scale Framework (2023)

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic skills can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the beginning. This perspective creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential to great achievement."

- Dr Carol S. Dweck, author and professor of psychology at Stanford University

The Lean-Agile Mindset is the combination of beliefs, assumptions, attitudes, and actions of SAFe leaders and professionals who embrace the concepts of the Agile Manifesto and Lean Thinking. It is the personal, intellectual and managerial basis for adopting and applying SAFe principles and practices.

SAFe is firmly anchored in four knowledge areas: Lean, Agile, System Thinking and DevOps. In fact, SAFe was born to provide guidance to organizations on how to apply Lean and Agile principles and practices in the world's largest organizations. For leaders, it requires a broader and deeper Lean-Agileway of thinkingto drive the organizational changes needed to adopt Lean and Agile at scale across the enterprise.

The Lean-Agile mindset lays the foundation for a new management approach and an enhanced corporate culture that enables business agility. It provides leaders with the necessary tools for a successful SAFe transformation, helping individuals and the entire organization to achieve their goals.

Mental awareness and openness to change.

A mindset is the mental lens through which we view the world around us. This is how the human brain simplifies, categorizes and interprets the vast amount of information it receives every day. Through structured lifelong learning (classroom, reading) and unstructured learning (life events, work experience), we shape our mindsets. They reside in the subconscious and manifest as entrenched beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, and influences. As a result, people are often unaware of how the way they think affects the way they carry out their responsibilities and interact with others. For example, through business school training and hands-on experience, many leaders develop beliefs based on outdated, cascading, phased, and siled ways of working.

So how can mindsets be changed? It begins with an awareness of how one's mindset was formed. It is also important to cultivate the belief that the mindset can be developed and improved (a “growth” mindset, as illustrated in Figure 1). Leaders must remain open to the possibility that existing mindsets based on traditional management practices may need to evolve to guide the organizational change required to become a lean company. [3]

Lean-Agile Mindset - Agile Scale Framework (2)

The next two sections describe the key elements of Lean and Agile that form the foundation of the Lean-Agile mindset.

Pensamiento Lean con SAFe House of Lean

Originally derived from lean manufacturing, the principles and practices of lean thinking applied to the development of software, products, and systems are now deep and comprehensive [2]. For example, Ward [3], Reinertsen [4], Poppendieck [5], Leffingwell [6], and others have described aspects of lean thinking and have placed many of the fundamental principles and practices in a product development context. Lean thinking can be summarized as follows [7]:

  • Specify the value per product accurately
  • Identify the value stream of each product.
  • Let the values ​​flow without interruptions
  • Let the customer extract value from the producer
  • strive for perfection

In addition to these basic principles of lean thinking, the SAFe House of Lean, as shown in Figure 2, drew inspiration from lean houses from Toyota and others.

Lean-Agile Mindset - Agile Scale Framework (3)

target value

The objective of Lean is to deliver the maximum value to the customer in the shortest sustainable delivery time, while offering the highest possible quality to customers and to society as a whole. High work ethic, safety, and customer enthusiasm are other goals and benefits.

Pillar 1 – Respect for people and culture

A Lean-Agile approach doesn't implement itself or do actual work, people do. Respect for people and culture is a basic human need. When people are treated with respect, they can evolve and improve their practices..Management encourages people to change and can lead them to better ways of working. However, it is the teams and individuals who learn problem-solving and reflection skills and are responsible for making the appropriate improvements.

The driving force behind this new behavior is a generative culture characterized by a positive, safe, and achievement-oriented environment [8]. To achieve this culture, the company and its leaders must first change. The principle of respect for people and culture also extends to relationshipsSuppliers, partners, customers and the community in general that supports thecompany.

When positive change is urgently needed, cultural transformation is possible. You must first understand and implement SAFe's values ​​and principles. Second, deliver compelling results. Culture, of course, will change over time.

Pillar 2 – Flow

The key to running SAFe successfully is establishing a continuous workflow that supports incremental value creation based on constant feedback and adaptation. Seamless flow enables faster and more efficient sustainable value creationbuilt-in qualityPractices, relentless improvement, and evidence-based governance based on working components of the solution.

Flow principles are an essential part of the Lean-Agile mindset. This includes understanding the fulldevelopment value stream, view and limit work in process (WIP), and reduce batch sizes and manage queue lengths. Additionally, Lean focuses on continually identifying and eliminating delays and waste (activities that do not add value). A critical step companies need to take to achieve flow is to shift from a start-stop-start project management process to an agile product management approach focused on developing enduring value streams.

Lean-Agile principles allow for a better understanding of the systems development process by incorporating new ways of thinking, tools, and techniques. Leaders and teams can use them to move from a phased approach to aDevOpscome halfwaycontinuous delivery pipelinewhich extends the flow to the entire value-added process.

Pillar 3 – Innovation

The flow forms a solid foundation for value creation. But without innovation, both the product and the process will steadily decline. To support this critical part of the SAFe House of Lean,Lean-Agile Leaderperform the following practices:

  • Introduce, train and guide innovation and entrepreneurship in the organization's workforce.
  • Go to... get out of the office and into the real workplace where value is produced and products are created and used (known asegg yolk). As Taiichi Ohno said: "No useful enhancement to the desktop has ever been invented."
  • Give time and space for people to be creative to enable purposeful innovation. This can rarely happen with 100% utilization and daily fire suppression. SureInnovation and planning iterationIt's one of those opportunities.
  • Applycontinuous exploration, the process of constantly exploring the market and user needs, getting quick feedback on experiments, and defining aVision,calendar, and set offeaturesbring the most promising innovations to market.
  • Validate the innovation with customers, then pivot without mercy or guilt if the assumption needs to change.
  • Combine top-down strategic thinking with organic, team-based innovation to create a synergistic “tide of innovation” that fuels a tidal wave of new products, services, and capabilities.

Pillar 4: relentless improvement

The fourth pillar, relentless improvement, fosters learning and growth through continuous reflection and process improvement. A constant sense of competitive threat drives the company to aggressively seek opportunities for improvement. Leaders and teams do the following:

  • Optimize the whole, not the parts, both of the organization and of the development process.
  • Reinforce problem-solving mindset throughout the organization, where everyone is empowered to participate in daily improvements at work
  • Reflect on key milestones to openly identify and address process gaps at all levels
  • Apply Lean tools and techniques to identify the factual root cause of inefficiencies and quickly take effective countermeasures

For more guidance on the importance of innovation and relentless improvement to achieve business agility, seecontinuous learning cultureCompetition article.

Foundation – leadership

Lean is based on leadership, a key factor in team success. Executives are ultimately responsible for the successful adoption of the Lean-Agile approach. According to management consultant and efficiency expert W. Edwards Deming, "such responsibility cannot be delegated" [9] to direct reports, Lean Agile advocates, work groups, a program management office (PMO), management teams, processes, external consultants or any other party. Therefore, leaders must be trained in these new and innovative ways of thinking and demonstrate the principles and behaviors of Lean-Agile leadership.

From a leadership perspective, lean differs from agile. Agile was designed as a team-based process for a small group of dedicated, cross-functional people who were empowered and empowered, and needed to create working functionality in a short period of time. Management was not part of this definition. But excluding management from the way of working does not scale in a company. Rather, Lean managers are leaders who embrace Lean values, are proficient in the core practices, and teach those practices to others. Proactively remove obstacles and take an active role in driving organizational change and facilitating continual improvement.

For more guidance on leadership as the foundation of Lean-Agile transformation with SAFe, seeLiderazgo Lean AgileCompetition article.

Embracing agility with the Agile Manifesto

In the 1990s, some lighter and more iterative development methods emerged in response to the many challenges of cascading processes. In 2001, many leaders of these frameworks met in Snowbird, Utah. While there was disagreement about the specific merits of one method over another, the participants agreed that their shared values ​​and beliefs overshadowed the differences. The result was a manifesto for agile software development, a turning point that clarified the new approach and began to bring the benefits of these innovative methods to the entire development industry. [10] In the years since the Manifesto was first published, Agile has been adopted by domains outside of software development, including hardware systems, infrastructure, operations, and support. More recently, business teams outside of technology have also embraced agile principles to plan and execute their work.

The values ​​of the Agile Manifesto

The manifest consists of the value declaration shown in Figure 3:

Lean-Agile Mindset - Agile Scale Framework (4)

We discover better ways

The first sentence of the manifesto deserves emphasis: "We discover better ways to build software by doing it and helping others to do it."

We interpret this as describing a continuous journey of discovery to progressively adopt agile behaviors, a journey without end. SAFe is not a fixed frame frozen in time. As we discover better ways to work, we adapt the framework, as evidenced by more than six major releases from the current version (SAFe 5.1).

where we find value

We'll discuss the four values ​​of the Agile Manifesto shortly, but the last sentence is also important and sometimes overlooked:"That is, while the items on the right have value, we value the items on the left more."

Some people may misinterpret value statements as a binary choice between two options (for example, working software vs. full documentation), but that's not the intended meaning. Both items have value; However, the item on the left has a higher value (ie, working software). The Agile Manifesto is not rigid or dogmatic. Instead, it embraces the need to balance values ​​based on context.

Individuals and interactions between processes and tools

Deming notes: "If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, then you don't know what you are doing." Therefore, agile processes in frameworks like Scrum, Kanban and SAFe play an important role. However, a process is only a means to an end. When we're stuck with a process that doesn't work, it creates waste and delays. So prioritize people and interactions, and then change processes accordingly.

In a distributed environment, tools are essential to support communication and collaboration (for example, video conferencing, text messaging, ALM tools, and wikis). This is especially true at scale. However, the tools should complement personal communication rather than replace it.

Working software instead of full documentation

Documentation is important and valuable. But creating documents to comply with potentially outdated corporate governance models is worthless. As part of a change program, governance, often captured by documentation standards, must be updated to reflect the Lean-Agile way of working. Rather than creating detailed documentation too soon, especially the wrong kind, it's more valuable to show customers the working software to get their feedback. So give preference to software that works. And only document what is really needed.

Collaboration with the client in contract negotiations

Ultimately, customers determine value, so their close collaboration in the development process is essential. Contracts are often necessary to convey the rights, obligations, and financial concerns of each party, but recognize that contracts can over-regulate what to do and how to do it. No matter how well written they are, they are not a substitute for regular communication, collaboration, and trust. Instead, contracts should be win-win deals. Win-lose contracts generally result in poor financial results and mistrust, creating contentious short-term relationships rather than long-term business partnerships. Instead, prefer to work with the customer.

Respond to change instead of following a plan

Change is a reality that the development process must reflect. The power of Lean-Agile development lies in how you embrace change. As the system evolves, so does the understanding of the problem and the solution domain. Knowledge of business prospects also improves with time and customer needs evolve as well. In fact, these changes in understanding add value to our system.

Of course, the overt phrase "about following a plan" indicates that there really is a plan! Planning is an important part of agile development. In fact, agile teams and programs plan more frequently and continuously than their peers who use a waterfall process. However, plans must be adjusted as new knowledge is gained, new information becomes apparent, and the situation changes. Worse still, evaluating success by measuring adherence to a plan leads to incorrect behavior (eg, following a plan when there is evidence that the plan is not working).

Principles of the Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto shown in Figure 4 has 12 principles that support its values. These principles go one step further and specifically describe what it means to be agile.

Lean-Agile Mindset - Agile Scale Framework (5)

Most of these principles are self-explanatory. They require no further explanation than a discussion of the large-scale application of the Agile Manifesto, which is discussed below.

The combination of values ​​and principles in the Manifesto creates a framework for what Snowbird participants believed to be the essence of Agile. There is growing evidence of success stories across all industries, in all regions, demonstrating the extraordinary business and personal benefits of this new way of thinking and working. We are thankful for that.

Apply the Agile Manifesto at scale

The short document that launched this mass movement is over 19 years old. Not a word has changed since then. So, given all the progress of the last 19 years, it's fair to ask: is the Agile Manifesto still relevant? Or should it be treated as a historical document that served its purpose long ago?

Also, Agile was defined for small, potentially fast, software-only teams. And that raises another valid question: Is the Agile Manifesto scalable? Does it meet the needs of companies that develop the largest and most complex software and systems? Will it meet the needs of systems that require hundreds of people to build and are cost prohibitive to fail? What about the non-technical teams across the organization that are beginning to embrace many of the Manifesto's values ​​and principles? Feedback from over 20,000 organizations using the Agile guide in SAFe shows that the Agile Manifestoactually scales. However, many principles require a greater emphasis on scale, while others require a broader perspective. The Agile Manifesto is as relevant today as it ever was, perhaps even more relevant. We are lucky to have him and he plays an important role at SAFe.

SAFe integrates the values ​​and principles of the Agile Manifesto into the overall framework. For example, principles 1 and 3 describe the frequent delivery of value to the customer. SAFe practices encourage implementation as often as possible (as often as multiple times per day) to benefit the customer and provide validated learning that improves future development. Suresystem demoAt the end of each iteration and the PI System Demonstration and Solution Demonstration at each PI Boundary, assess progress against the products and components in operation. SAFe engages business and product owners and product and solution managers in backlog refinement, demos,IP planning,, and more, demonstrating your commitment to Principle 4. Teamretrospectives, as well as the Inspect & Adapt events for ART and Solution Trains, support Principle 12 of the Manifesto. From start to finish, SAFe embraces Agile and embeds its best practices throughout the organization.

Lean-Agile leaders foster Agile adoption by first gaining a deep understanding of Agile principles and then leading by example by incorporating Agile practices into the way they do their work. They do this through coaching, self-study, applying what they learn, and discussing progress and challenges with their peers. Leaders also help their teams adopt the Lean-Agile mindset by providing training, offering advice, and being a role model to others.

learn more

[1] Dweck, Carol S.Mindset: The new psychology of success.Random-House-Verlag,2007[2] Womack, James P., Daniel T. Jones y Daniel Roos.The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Manufacturing: Toyota's Secret Weapon in the World War of the Automobile, Revolutionizing the Global Industry. . . . Free Press, 2007.[3] Ward, Allen and Durward Sobeck.Lean product and process development. Instituto Lean Enterprise, 2014.[4] Reinertsen, Donald G.The Principles of the Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development. Celeritas, 2009.[5] Poppendieck, Mary y Tom Poppendieck.Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Money. Addison-Wesley, 2006.[6] Leffingwell, Dekan.Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise. Addison-Wesley, 2011.[7] Womack, James y Daniel Jones.Lean thinking: banish wastee and create wealth in your business.Free Press, 2003.[8] Acceleration: DevOps 2018 Report.http://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/state-of-devops-2018.pdf[9] Deming, W.Edwards.Get out of the crisis.MIT Center for Advanced Educational Services, 1982.[10] Manifesto for agile software development.http://manifiestoágil.org/

Last updated: September 27, 2021

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