unSAFe at any speed

Schwaber and his negative feelings about SAFe. Reads a lot like the jilted sister. “Only I am allowed to improve. If anyone else does it, they are merely copying me. – Ken”

Ken Schwaber's Blog: Telling It Like It Is

The boys from RUP (Rational Unified Process) are back. Building on the profound failure of RUP, they are now pushing the Scaled Agile Framework (e) as a simple, one-size fits all approach to the agile organization. They have made their approach even more complicated by partnering with Rally, a tools vendor. Consultants are available to customize it for you, also just like RUP.

They are touting their processes and tools this week at Agile 2013 in Nashville. They would be at the RUP conference, but there are none. They would be at a waterfall conference, but they are no longer. So they are at our conference. Strange, but they had nowhere else to go. Try to be polite.

When the signers of the Agile Manifesto got together in 2001, we wanted to share our ideas about software development, a discussion that resulted in the Agile Manifeto. The very first tenet…

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Agile Contracts in the SAFe

I have been doing research on the subject and working on an implementation plan for a client. This is a hot topic now and Dean gives us some great insight into how to form your approach. Adapting your sub-contracting strategy and model is critical if you want to keep using vendors to augment your enterprise.

Guidance – Agile Contracts


Booked! Leading SAFe

I am teaching Leading SAFe with my co-instructor Jose (Joe) LaTorre USMC (Ret.) this Friday! The kit is prepared! We have some prep work to do still but I am SUPER EXCITED about teaching the course! Thanks to the Scaled Agile, Inc. folks for the support and to my gracious and eager to learn clients at ESC!



Implementing SAFe with Jira (part 3)


In part 2 we have looked at estimating and planning of a release of the Agile Release Train. This is mainly on SAFe portfolio and program level. In this part, I will focus more on the challenges of estimating and planning on program and team level. Since Jira does not offer much cross-project support, we will be using the structure plugin. So first, we must get our structure boards right.

Structure plugin (revisited)

Last time, I explained that you can make a structure board with the structure plugin, and populate and locate issues on the structure board with synchronizers, in particular:

  • Filter synchronizer – use a filter query
  • Agile synchronizer (JIRA Agile (Greenhopper) – using Epic links and Subtasks
  • Links synchronizer (Issue Links synchronizer) – using “Implement” links

The filter synchronizer can be configured to remove issues that are outside the filter query results. For example, if you filter on

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Implementing SAFe with Jira (part 2)


This is part 2 about implementing SAFe with Jira. In part 1 I explained how we implemented the portfolio, program and team backlogs as the 3-layered structure of SAFe in Jira. You may recall that we renamed them to business, system and product levels. In part 2 we will dig more deeply in connecting the layers.

Structure plugin

Since Jira (core) is not able to visualize linked relationships, we use the Structure plugin from ALMworks. On a structure board, you can add Jira issues, you can sort them and put them in a hierarchy (i.e. an issue nested under its parent issue), manually by drag-and-drop or automatically by synchronizers. A synchronizer interprets the data in Jira (e.g. a filter, Epic link or issue links) and puts the issues in the structure at the right place. Synchronizers work bi-directional. For example, by adding or removing a link the synchronizer…

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Implementing SAFe with Jira (part 1)


In this article I am not going to explain what the Scale Agile Framework (SAFe) is and what Jira is. I assume you know, and if you need more information go to http://www.scaledagileframework.com and http://www.atlassian.com.

But before we start, there are a few things that are important to know:

  • Jira is not designed for agile development. In essence it is an issue tracking tool. You need plugins to added support for Scrum/Kanban. Currently, there is no plugin for SAFe support.
  • SAFe is not a prescriptive process model. It is a framework. You can implement it anyway you like, leaving out what does not work for you and adding thing that you need.

My experience with SAFe and Jira is based on the implementation of SAFe (with Jira) with a customer I worked with in a development and innovation organization of a large, multinational technology company for commercial products for consumer…

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Updates to the Scrum Guide – The 5 Scrum values take center stage – Scrum.org Community Blog

Updates to the Scrum Guide – The 5 Scrum values take center stage – Scrum.org Community Blog



Today Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the creators of Scrum delivered a webinar on their latest update to the Scrum Guide.  The update was a simple one, adding the 5 values of Scrum to the Guide. And when I say simple I mean simple in terms of…