Thank You for Making the Inaugural SAFe Summit a Success!
Two short weeks ago, over 400 attendees from 17 countries trekked to Colorado for the first SAFe Summit, making it the largest gathering of its kind to focus exclusively on SAFe and its community of practice. It was an inspiring moment in SAFe’s history, humbling for those of us who have a hand in building the Framework, and one that we hope will have a long-lasting positive impact on those who attended.
Given SAFe’s maturity in the marketplace—now with 80,000 practitioners worldwide—it was important for us to take this major step to support the community, the enterprises they serve, and to provide a platform where people charged with making SAFe succeed in the field could provide indepth feedback to its handlers. Our thought was to hold a ‘big tent’ event for everyone engaged with SAFe—partners, practitioners, instructors, consultants, and enterprise business leaders—because it literally takes a village to support a successful implementation, and that village can only remain healthy and vibrant as long as it collaborates and allows for new ideas and knowledge to flow through it.
As we know from PI Planning, there’s no substitute for coming together under one roof, and the Summit was a stellar example of that. We saw high-energy engagement across the board, new connections forged, and we gained substantive insights from attendees and speakers that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
A brief wrap-up can’t do justice to what took place during the four days of the Summit, but here are some themes and topics that we’ll be thinking about and working on in 2017:
Highlights & Themes
Empathy. Our friend Ryan Martens (former CTO of Rally Software) took the stage in a super-hero cape and channeled the great Jean Tabaka when he challenged us to consider the idea that empathy is the missing element in many workplaces. Through this lens, he suggested that you can make technical agility stick by affecting the heart and DNA of the overall business. How do we engage leadership and executives? Through empathy and understanding their context.
“Change the heart to change the system.” —Ryan Martens, ‘Agile Hippie’ and Beekeeper
SAFe thrives in a strong learning culture. The four enterprise adopters who shared their SAFe journeys had fascinating stories to tell. Their organizations couldn’t have been more different from each other in terms of size, industry, and development challenges (insurance, pharmaceutical, defense, telecommunications), but they all had something in common: a strong commitment to supporting a learning culture where practitioners are encouraged to continually acquire new knowledge and skills relevant to their role in the implementation.
“Long-term coaching is essential, especially dealing with non-software teams who are new to the terminology.” –Yael Man, Elbit
Essential SAFe. Affectionally called ‘Little-Big SAFe,’ Essential SAFe debuted as a concept earlier this year and was a hot session topic at the Summit. It’s a set of minimal practices without which SAFe might no longer be ‘safe.’ It can provide guidance for organizations that are customizing SAFe but don’t want to stray so far they lose advantages, and it can act as an easy entry point for organizations who aren’t ready for full-on SAFe, but want to start practicing and getting the benefits as soon as possible. We appreciate all the feedback we received at the Summit, and will be introducing a fully-supported version of Essential SAFe in the coming months. In the meantime, you can read more about it here.
“A powerful but more accessible perspective to achieving enterprise agility.” —Aspire Consulting
Value Streams—can’t live without ’em. There was much furious note-taking in the two sessions that had to do with value streams. That’s because it’s no secret that the flow of value is entirely dependent on how well you apply and map and analyze your value streams. Without that broader context, your planning, execution, and I&A will always fall short of their potential. As Ryan Martens said, “This little tab changes everything.”
The Making of SPCTs. SPCTs are the only ones who can train and certify SPCs, making them key drivers of the health and well-being of the entire SAFe community. We were happy to see so many SPCTs and SPCT candidates join us for working sessions dedicated to ensuring that the SPCT certification program maintains the most rigorous and meaningful standards for improving the quality of SPCs and SAFe.
New Course SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master
Scrum Masters are critical players in a Lean-Agile enterprise and can make all the difference when it comes to an effective SAFe implementation. To that end, we released a new course at the Summit, SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master. This course rounds out a full team curriculum of training including our popular SAFe 4.0 for Teams and SAFe 4.0 Product Manager/Product Owner courses. In addition, for those looking to significantly advance their Scrum Master skills, we recently introduced the SAFe 4.0 Advanced Scrum Master course. The entry-level SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master serves as a prerequisite for that advanced course. View public classes and learn more about the course at scaledagile.com/scrum-master.
Two New Books from SAFe Authors
The Rollout, by SAFe Fellow Alex Yakyma. Based on dozens of real examples, this novel about leadership and building a Lean-Agile Enterprise with SAFe provides a war chest of tools and techniques every change agent and Lean-Agile leader can use to succeed with their SAFe implementation. Learn more at therolloutbook.com
Tribal Unity, by SPCT Em Campbell-Pretty. Em does a great job of describing how a Lean-Agile culture can be fostered directly with the ‘team-of-agile-teams,’ the essential building block of enterprise agility. Learn more here.
Downloads, Videos, and 2017 Summit
Go to scaledagile.com/safe-summit to find many of the presentations from our Summit speakers, as well as an inspiring collection of on-site video interviews provided by our Summit Media Partner, AgileAmped.
To all of our attendees, speakers, exhibitors, partners, volunteers, and facilitators who made this first event so successful, we want to extend our deepest appreciation, especially the four enterprise adopters for sharing their stories of challenges and growth with SAFe.
We’ll be coming together under one roof again next year, so stay tuned for an announcement on dates and location by joining the Summit email list.
—Dean and the entire team from Scaled Agile