SAFe Takes off at Thales InFlyt, doubling frequency of releases in a highly regulated industry

SAFe Takes off at Thales InFlyt, doubling frequency of releases in a highly regulated industry

Case Studies SAFe Updates

“The great thing about SAFe is that we have a structure in place to deliver better quality more rapidly. We can easily share with our customers and OEMs how Lean-Agile is a part of what we do.”
—Celie Navatel, VP Quality and Customer Satisfaction at Thales InFlyt Experience


Breaking free from large batches is tough for any organization—and all the more so when you’re developing complex hardware and software solutions in the highly regulated airline industry. But over the past two years, Thales InFlyt Experience—one of our newest case studies—has doubled the frequency of its product releases while improving quality.

If you’ve flown on an airplane recently, chances are Thales solutions have made that flight more enjoyable. The Thales Inflight Entertainment System allows you to watch shows, play games, browse the dining menu, find your current location on a global map, or connect your devices to WiFi.

Back in 2015, as Thales struggled to expedite releases, any attempts at agility were limited to a few teams. Fortunately, Thales’ VP of Engineering had seen SAFe in action at a former company.

To build support for a move to the Framework, Thales InFlyt Experience sent a cross-functional team of seven people to SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) training. Upon return, those folks served as change agents who communicated the value to leadership and successfully gained buy-in to roll it out.

From there, Thales identified a value stream and invested in training. In 2015, they kicked off the effort with a Quickstart SAFe implementation that included two days of SAFe for Teams training, two days of PI Planning, and two days of SAFe Scrum Master training.

SAFe helped Thales address some of the complexities of its industry: diverse regulations across countries and custom requirements from aircraft OEMs. It helped that Thales communicated its Lean-Agile path to the world’s leading aircraft OEMs as well as government regulatory agencies such as the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) and other agencies around the world.

To address the custom nature of requirements, Thales now designs its systems by focusing first on fixed solution intent (OEM requirements) and tackles variable factors (airline requirements) later.

Today, Thales InFlyt Experience runs several Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and one value stream. The company has trained over 800 people and deployed across all departments and functions.
Through their SAFe transformation, Thales InFlyt Experience has seen gains where it matters most:

  • Reduced software release cycle time by more than 30 percent
  • Lowered cost per size point by 25 percent
  • Improved quality with a 20 percent reduction in solution rework
  • Enhanced collaboration and transparency

For more details, check out the complete Thales case study.

Many thanks to Ted Tomoyasu, Director of SAFe Transformation at Thales InFlyt Experience; Leo Alonso, VP of Engineering; Robert Magnusson, Continuous Improvement Project Manager; Celie Navatel, VP Quality and Customer Satisfaction; and Armond Mehrabian, President of Portofino Solutions, for sharing the Thales transformation story.

Stay SAFe,
—Dean

Author Info

Dean Leffingwell

Recognized as the one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices, Dean Leffingwell is an author, entrepreneur, and software development methodologist.

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