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How does relentless improvement support value in the SAFe House of Lean?

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The fourth pillar, relentless improvement, encourages learning and growth through continuous reflection and process enhancements. A constant sense of competitive danger drives the company to pursue improvement opportunities aggressively.

The basic premise to develop the Scaled agile framework is to enable organizations to scale up agile development practices to enterprise scale. One of the key constructs upon which SAFe® is built upon is the ‘Lean-Agile Mindset’. This is defined as ‘the combination of beliefs, assumptions and actions of SAFe® leaders and practitioners who embrace the concepts of the Agile Manifesto & Lean Thinking’.

Agile provides the thinking and mindset related to achieving high levels of efficiency, productivity, collaboration, team motivation and quality. However, the agile principles work well in the delivery of smaller, less complex solutions rather than applying it to enterprise wide solution implementations. Scaled agile framework requires a wider array of knowledge, skills, leadership and a change in mindset to adopt and apply lean agile principles.

1) Aspects of Lean-Agile

The lean-agile mindset in SAFe® is built upon 2 main constructs. These provide the knowledge and help drive the skills required to create and manage the culture, organizational structure, leadership and management approach required to drive organizations adopting SAFe® and to allow them business objectives. The two key aspects of lean-agile mindset are-

2) Lean Thinking 

which is primarily defined through SAFe®’s ‘House of Lean’ which was derived from Lean manufacturing inspired by Toyota’s ‘Houses of Lean’. This was then applied to software products and solutions development.

Embracing Agility is the 2nd construct in lean-agile. SAFe® is built upon skills, capabilities and aptitude of teams and their leaders. The agile manifesto for software development describes the principles and practices related to carrying out project activities in an agile manner. 

The agile manifesto describes 4 values and 12 principles. Agile values motivates teams to focus more on- 

  •  Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  •  Working software over comprehensive documentation
  •  Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  •  Responding to change over following a plan

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