Many have discussed, and some have questioned, how Scrum and agile principles apply to non-software disciplines. Can they apply? Will they provide benefits? We’ve been working with a large program that has gone “all in” scaling and applying agile. They build complex defense systems with hundreds of mechanical, electrical, and embedded software engineers and significant compliance demands. This program is completely organized around delivering value through dozens of cross-functional agile teams, strongly influenced by SAFe LSE for alignment and coordination.
We’ve helped many of these customers adopt and scale agile using the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®). In doing so, we met with Dean Leffingwell (creator of SAFe) and the team at Scaled Agile (SAI) to discuss some of our perceived challenges using SAFe in an engineering environment. We were looking for support for engineering work (requirements, designs, modeling, simulations, trade studies), different role names, support for supply chains, and inclusion of manufacturing and production — just to name a few. Our plan was to become a Scaled Agile partner and deliver SAFe-based training that 321 Gang would supplement with our expertise on engineering. At the same time, SAI was also looking for ways to serve the needs of the large system builders, and invited us to collaborate on a version of SAFe for Lean Systems Engineering…and so it was that SAFe LSE was born.
In this 46 second video excerpt of Harry Koehnemann’s interview, he discussed how 321 Gang helped one the three major US car manufacturers to modernize their engineering life-cycle and system development process to allow them to focus on the driver experience.