Essential SAFe – the operational level of product / solution development – is often slowed down in its agility when it requires support from parts of the organization that are not (yet) agile.
Portfolio SAFe removes this limitation. But not through the transformation of established organizational structures and processes to agile, but through the „installation“ of a second, agile operating system.
A ‚dual operating system’ offers efficiency and stability with the speed of innovation
As long as an Agile Release Train (ART) runs within the framework of the budget previously approved by management, RTE and Product Manager(s) are allowed to act within the scope of their roles. But as soon as the need for additional expenses arises that are not covered by the already approved budget, the freedom to decide is over.
An often lengthy and formal process takes its course, at the end of which it is not uncommon for the application to be rejected; the application, which would entail additional expenses. Rejected (maybe) by a manager who neither knows the customer’s needs nor understood the necessity or usefulness of the extra expense.
Within Portfolio SAFe, through the approach and application of LEAN, the product-related decision-making authority – also for additional expenses and within previously defined limits (guardrails) – is transferred to the institutions responsible for the product. So to the people involved in the development of the solution. For example on RTE and / or Product Management.
The Dual Operating System in action
Situation: The extremely customer-oriented product management of an Agile Release Train (ART) identifies the immediate need for the development of a certain functionality, for which the appropriate knowledge and skills are not available in the current setup of the ART. Letting the resources of the Agile Release Train acquire the necessary know-how in parallel to the existing work would be time-consuming, would let other priorities slip backwards and therefore does not appear to be very effective. Internally, i.e. from the workforce of the organization, it will in all probability not be possible to graduate.
Decision: Business Owners, Product Management and RTE therefore come to the conclusion that it makes sense to purchase the required expertise externally.
The decision was made by knowledgeable experts at the operational level. This is AGILE, this is LEAN.
Implementation: Purchasing is commissioned to purchase the necessary resources. And here the traditional approach is used again. The same applies to contracting and accounting. Even when it comes to setting up access to the organization’s campus and its systems for external resources.
SAFe as a second organizational operating system
But how do you implement the Dual Operating System? How to install the so-called guardrails for expenses at the operational level, in Essential SAFe? Easier said than done, right?
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