SAFe®, Lean, and DevOps in a Complex Legacy Environment

Sometime after the publication of Scaling Software Agility in 2007, I started working with Mauricio Zamora, Scott Prugh (and later Mark Fuller) in a Lean-Agile transformation at CSG International. More than 90,000 customer service agents rely on CSG (NASDAQ: CSGS ) customer care and billing solutions each day to support more than 48 million North American video, voice, and data subscribers. The company has been around for over 30 years, and the solutions have evolved during that period such that there are now more than 10 separate technology platforms at work, and a significant amount of legacy code. It’s a demanding, extremely complex environment, hosting millions of transactions per day.

We began before SAFe was codified into the framework it is today, so at CSG we truly learned together, with Mauricio, Scott, and Mark, all adding value to the conceptualization of SAFe 1.0-2.0 and on.

As SAFe evolved, CSG trained a number of internal SPCs who eventually trained over 2,000 employees using Leading SAFe.

As development practices improved, the system starting putting more and more pressure on faster delivery, not just faster development, and Scott Prugh, and others, turned their minds to the DevOps challenge. Along the way, Scott became a contributor to SAFe, as the author of the Continuous Delivery Guidance article.

Fast forward to 2014. At DevOps Enterprise Summit 2014, Scott describes how they have applied SAFe, and more importantly, the Lean and Flow principles that underlie it, to substantially improve productivity and throughput from development through deployment.

If you have ever wondered how, specifically, Lean-Agile principles—like cadence and synchronization, cross functional teams, visualizing work, backlog management, reducing batch size, synchronized release planning and more—can increase the quality, throughput and delivery of large scale software in a seriously complex legacy environment, you have to watch this 20 minute video!

After all, until it’s deployed, all that cool new software doesn’t provide any real Value to anyone.


Mauricio “Mo” Zamora
July 23, 1969—November 24, 2011

memoriamMauricio helped start Scaled Agile, Inc., and was a principal developer of SAFe, but tragically, he passed away on Thanksgiving, 2011. His work lives on inside SAFe, where it improves the lives of practitioners every day; that was Mo’s personal mission. We think about Mauricio most every day, and his professionalism, knowledge, passion and integrity still set the standard we all try to adhere to.