Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Iterating faster with SAFe

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
WhatsApp

Here’s a frequently asked question in the SAFe community: I wanted to understand what SAFe says about someone who wants to go faster than 2 weeks of iteration? I mean the whole PI concept is based on 5 iterations worth of planning. What if a team/organization wants to develop and synchronize faster than 2 weeks? Is speed going to be compromised by following the standards of PI cadence?

Here’s my take:

Adjusting Cadence Length in SAFe – Can you? Should you?

SAFe considers the 2-week iteration length as a default rather than a rule.

The question you need to consider is what inspection and adaptation cycle you’re looking to accelerate – the Iteration or the PI.

Basically, do you want an opportunity to tactically adjust priorities more frequently than every 2w? Or do you want to adjust a more strategic direction more often than every 8-12w?

With the answer to that, you can experiment either with iteration length and/or PI length. Of course, the cadence length affects coordination overhead – there’s a fine balance.

Additionally, we’re talking about a Planning, Inspection, and Adaptation cadence – NOT the release cadence. Releases are on-demand meaning can be more frequent (or less).

Iteration Goals and PI Objectives provide us with room to maneuver

Another point to remember is that you can adjust iteration backlogs as long as you’re focusing on iteration goals. And even PI objectives can be adjusted – “Assume Variability Preserve Options”. If it’s occasional adjustment it’s not a reason to necessarily use a faster cadence.

Is team-level Kanban the solution to the need for more flexibility in SAFe?

Many teams think Kanban might be the best choice for them if they need more and more flexibility. Kanban CAN be a better fit if your demand is extremely volatile. I would be very careful though. Doing some level of goal-setting and prioritization and planning on a cadence is a powerful way for a team to focus. Do we really WANT to be a strictly reactive team?

Kanban combined with flexibility with some of the capacity we have each iteration can definitely be helpful and is why we recommend all Agile Teams in SAFe use Kanban to limit their WIP and improve their flow – this actually enables them to change scope even within an Iteration if that’s needed in order to achieve their Goal. (see my recent blog post that talks about dynamic scope in SAFe).

“Kanban Teams” in SAFe have an iteration cadence with the establishment of iteration goals even if not detailed iteration backlogs. Maybe that’s a good fit for your context maybe not. It might be an interesting experiment to try.

What if Planning a PI doesn’t make sense?

Finally, if PI planning doesn’t make sense even if PI is shorter – maybe you need to reflect on SAFes appropriateness for your context or on what’s so volatile about the demand coming your way and whether it’s “nature of the beast” or a systemic impediment to work on …

What’s the Bottom Line

What I tried to show here is that a conversation about what to do when the iteration feels too long should start with “Why”. Get to the bottom of what’s currently not ideal, look at the different options, consider Lean, Agile, and SAFe principles, and figure out whether it makes sense to change the cadence, change your approach to the balance between planning and flexibility, the difference between committing to goals and committing to backlogs, and the role that more flow-oriented techniques such as Kanban can play in addressing your issue.

Interested to hear any thoughts or experiences. Leave us a comment !

Subscribe for Email Updates:

Categories:

Tags:

Advanced Roadmaps
Agile Product Development
Principles of Lean-Agile Leadership
Elastic Leadership
RTE
Release Train Engineer
Agile Basics
Kanban 101
Lean-Agile Budgeting
SAFe
PI Objectives
AI
Keith Sawyer
Video
Agile Games
ARTs
Scrum.org
Daily Scrum
System Integration Environments
Lean Software Development
ALM Tools
Coaching Agile Teams
Agile Delivery
Value Streams
A Kanban System for Software Engineering
Agile Release Management
Business Agility
LAB
SA
Reading List
Code
Lean-Agile Software Development
The Kanban Method
Frameworks
Agile Community
Quality Assurance
LeSS
Kanban
Continuous Integration
Limiting Work in Progress
Lean Agile Organization
Achieve Business Agility
Professional Scrum Master
Continuous Deployment
Risk-aware Product Development
SAFe Release Planning
Kanban Basics
Agile Project Management
Covid19
Systems Thinking
Built-In Quality
Applying Agile Methodology
Kaizen Workshop
Change Management
Webinar
Agile Outsourcing
Acceptance Test-Driven Development
ATDD vs. BDD
Sprint Planning
Spotify
Operational Value Stream
Agile Release Planning
Agile Assembly Architecture
Agile Risk Management
Managing Risk on Agile Projects
Introduction to Test Driven Development
Lean Agile Leadership
Nexus and SAFe
Entrepreneurial Operating System®
Kanban Game
What Is Kanban
Sprint Retrospectives
GanttBan
Professional Scrum Product Owner
Continuous Planning
Agile Contracts Best Practices
Agile Exercises
Lean and Agile Techniques
Presentation
Team Flow
Jira admin
System Archetypes
Releases Using Lean
Process Improvement
Test Driven Development
Jira Cloud
Program Increment
Scrum
Portfolio for Jira
Software Development
AI Artificial Intelligence
Manage Budget Creation
LPM
Implementation of Lean and Agile
Atlaassian
Scaled Agile Framework
Agile Program
agileisrael
speed at scale
Nexus vs SAFe
Scrum and XP
Risk Management on Agile Projects
Accelerate Value Delivery At Scale
Scrum Primer
POPM
System Team
Rapid RTC
Planning
Implementing SAFe
PI Planning
Scrum Master
Lean Agile Basics
DevOps
Continuous Improvement
Hybrid Work
Agile
Scrum Guide
Agile India
Agile Techniques
Lean Agile Management
Legacy Code
Agile for Embedded Systems
Agility
Agile Project
Lean Startup
ROI
ART Success
Pomodoro Technique
speed @ scale
Software Development Estimation
Story Slicing
Engineering Practices
Atlassian
Tips
Agile Mindset
An Appreciative Retrospective
Kaizen
Agile in the Enterprise
Agile Development
Nexus
Managing Projects
Perfection Game
Large Scale Scrum
Lean and Agile Principles and Practices
BDD
WIP
Lean Risk Management
QA
Jira
Product Ownership
Iterative Incremental Development
Risk Management in Kanban
Certification
The Agile Coach
User stories
Product Management
Agile and DevOps Journey
Agile Israel
Certified SAFe
Agile Product Ownership
Agile Testing Practices
Professional Scrum with Kanban
Artificial Intelligence
AgileSparks
Games and Exercises
chatgpt
Lean Budgeting
Scrum With Kanban
lean agile change management
Lean Agile
Self-organization
Sprint Iteration
Scrum Master Role
Continuous Delivery
Legacy Enterprise
Nexus and Kanban
Kanban Kickstart Example
NIT
Introduction to ATDD
Agile Israel Events
Jira Plans
RTE Role
TDD
SPC
Amdocs
Nexus Integration Team
IT Operations
predictability
Effective Agile Retrospectives
Tools
Agile Games and Exercises
ScrumMaster Tales
ATDD
Enterprise DevOps
Slides
Agile Marketing
Development Value Streams
EOS®
RSA
Scrum Values
AgileSparks
Logo
Enable registration in settings - general

Contact Us

Request for additional information and prices

AgileSparks Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter, and stay updated on the latest Agile news and events

This website uses Cookies to provide a better experience
Shopping cart