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Revitalizing Scaled Agility for a Leading Technology Company
Industry: Networking Hardware and Telecommunications Equipment Manufacturing, Software, and IT Services
Company Size: 26,000 (excluding contractors)
Location: San Jose, California with offices worldwide
An international telecommunications tech enterprise faced hurdles with their Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) deployment, impeding optimal software development across their dispersed teams. Cprime's intervention, through a tailored overhaul of their SAFe practices, unlocked significant advancements including dramatically improved PI Plan completion predictability and quicker value delivery, propelling the client to meet the dynamic demands of the tech landscape with reinvigorated agility.
Countless businesses worldwide depend on our client’s networking and communications offerings. Since 1984, they have developed a diverse range of products, including routers, switches, wireless access points, security solutions, collaboration tools, managed services, and IoT applications.
Presently, this California-headquartered tech firm operates in more than 100 countries. Renowned for their groundbreaking advancements and unwavering dedication to providing top-notch products and services, they cater to various data-intensive sectors such as healthcare, finance, education, and government.
In 2022, the company generated revenues exceeding $51 billion.
The Challenge: Managing growing pains with SAFe
Although they had implemented the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®), their sizable, dispersed software development organization was having trouble reaping its full benefits. Key challenges they were facing included:
- Team alignment: Using the normal SAFe ceremonies to coordinate work had become difficult with 25 Scrum teams and over 180 engineers, product managers, and designers involved.
- Lack of visibility into dependencies: Teams relied on other organizations to deliver components, but they weren’t made aware of any roadblocks.
- Predictability: Even after many Program Increments (PIs), they struggled to complete the scheduled tasks.
- Ineffective planning: Epic planning sessions went on for hours, with little relevance for most of the attendees. Team members who didn’t have clear commitments become less engaged over time.
The company eventually turned to Cprime, a valued long-time partner, to diagnose problems and re-energize their SAFe deployment because of missed deliveries, uncertain throughput, and stagnant strategic efforts.
(Scaled Agile Framework and SAFe are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.)
The Solution: Our specialized method for implementing complex SAFe
We knew that a one-size-fits-all framework refresh would not work, given the organizational complexities and prior attempts.
Hands-on training, Scrum Master support, and minimally disruptive reorganization of the Agile Release Trains (ARTs)
Our team of four SAFe Practice Consultants (SPCs) carried out a thorough evaluation over the course of two months, interviewing personnel at all levels and holding targeted SAFe assessment workshops to identify the status, mindsets, and areas for development.
Key insights identified three focal areas for their particular SAFe realignment:
- Refreshing common agile practices: From Story Mapping to efficient PI Planning events, we offered brief hands-on training based on SAFe concepts. This increased mutual understanding.
- Empowering Scrum Masters: To help Scrum Masters establish practices in their teams, we created a community of practice for knowledge exchange and allotted specific coaching time for them.
- Streamlining coordination: We identified four clusters of teams using dependency mapping to make PI Planning easier to schedule and carry out, and more engaging.
Using SAFe to maintain success
We collaborated closely with leadership to:
- Formalize communities of practice and incorporate important ceremonies into team processes
- Support ongoing education for engineers to aid with scaling
- Include ceremonies for SAFe that emphasize continual improvement.
- Establish measurements and reports to improve understanding of PI performance
The Impact: Enhanced predictability, quality, and agility
Our SAFe-based strategy resulted in quantifiable results over a six-month period, and over two complete PIs:
- PI Plan completion predictability has increased by dramatically
- Faster value delivery with fewer delays caused by cross-team coordination
- Increased planning participation and clear team linkages
- Increased capacity for strategic initiatives
Following the engagement, our client was in a strong position to create outstanding customer experiences despite a fast changing technological environment because they had a rejuvenated SAFe foundation in place.
Want to update your SAFe rollout?
We can assist if your SAFe deployment is having trouble gaining traction. Numerous businesses have used our consultants to adapt, popularize, and maintain their Scaled Agile Framework.