Using SAFe 4.5 on Government Contracts

Quite a number of federal government programs have been adopting SAFe 4.0.  The challenge has been to consider whether to use 3-level SAFe, 4-level SAFe, or some modified combination.

There is also additional complexity in managing multiple contracts on the same program, manage changing scope, and to work a portfolio of one program to support all the compliance needs. With SAFe 4.5, Portfolio SAFe brings us several steps closer to a more easily applied framework for government systems delivery.

SAFe 4.5 for Lean Enterprises – Portfolio SAFe

If we consider the Customer or Program Office filling the Enterprise role on Portfolio SAFe this view will fit many contract situations.  To avoid confusion, the Portfolio and Value Streams represent the one and only Program for this discussion.

New scope coming from the Customer enters the Portfolio Kanban funnel. Once analyzed, it holds in the Portfolio Backlog until approved, funding is ‘turned on’, and its WSJF value indicates it is close to implementation.  Then Features drop into the Program Kanban and follow the more SAFe path from this point forward.  Short of real Lean-Agile Budgeting provided by the contract, this method will allow us to reap the advantages of SAFe on government programs.

One other practice that is useful for new programs is to include Solution Intent to help manage, and just as importantly communicate, set based designs and MBSE considerations from the Large Solution View.

There is more to the story … see SAFe for Government: Observations from the 2017 SAFe Summit for other thoughts on SAFe in a government context.

Doug Stewart – Director of Services, 321 Gang

Doug Stewart – Director of Services\"Scaled

Doug Stewart, Director of Services at 321 Gang, is a SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) and is certified in Lean Six-Sigma.

Doug has a passion for Software Development and Software Development Process Improvement. Doug’s first job was to automate the calculations for the calculus associated with noise levels in enclosures like truck and auto cabs. Since spending many years supporting development in government, financial, insurance, medical devices, and retail Doug has been working as an Agile Coach working with industry thought-leaders to help organizations achieve business agility through better software processes and tools. Combining SAFe with more than 30 years of IBM Rational tool experience gives a complete set of capabilities to help customers address their enterprise-level systems and software development needs.

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