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The SAFe IP Iteration: It may be SAFe, but is it Agile? (Part 3)

This is the last part in the 'SAFe® IP Iteration' series. Read part one here and part two here if you missed them. In part three, Tom goes back to address the original objections to whether the IP Iteration is Agile.

 

Coming back to the original objections


Let's go back to our original objections and deal with them now that we understand why SAFe is constructed the way that it is.


"But this just isn't Agile! Why can't we just keep Sprinting?".


Some people really dislike the "break" from the cycle of Sprints and view the IP Iteration as an ineffective tradeoff that isn't needed because all of the above activities can be worked into each Sprint for each team. This is essentially the single-team Scrum view that life should be an endless series of Sprints.


The normal response to this is to point out that there's a bigger programme picture, that the team is part of a team-of-teams and time needs to be spent on those activities, and that all of this rests on the same PDCA principles that underpin Scrum.

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The IP Iteration: It may be SAFe but is it Agile? (Part 2)

This is the second part in a blog series talking about the IP Iteration that happens as part of the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®). Missed the first part? Read it here.

What's the typical structure of an IP Iteration and why is it like this?


SAFe marks the boundaries of its PIs (Program Increments) through the IP Iteration. This is normally a two-week period during which the following activities are scheduled:

 

1. Completion of work


There is some contingency allowed in case that teams are very close to finishing their work in the current PI and can finish. The official guidance is up to one week, in practice less is desirable or this becomes a "buffer" teams will depend on.

There is also an allowance here for release activities - these will depend on whether major releases are aligned with PIs or not (a business decision, not required by SAFe) and the nature of the major release process: whether it is complicated and time-consuming or a simple "button-push".

 

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The IP Iteration: It may be SAFe but is it Agile? (Part 1)

"But this just isn't Agile!  Why can't we just keep Sprinting?".
"We don't have time for this, we've got too much work to do!".
"Planning together is worthless because everything changes soon afterwards."
"It is boring and a waste of my time, I'm here to write code".


These are just some of the things we regularly hear from clients who are learning the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®). The part of SAFe they seem to struggle with most is the IP Iteration (sometimes called the 'bridge') that handles the switch between two adjacent PIs (Program Increments). This is probably the most misunderstood part of SAFe and the one that is abused the most in practice.


Let's start by unpicking why SAFe works like this - because there are good reasons that cannot be trivially dismissed.


The Plan Do Check Adjust/Act (PDCA) Cycle


First of all, most Agile methods are based on the PDCA cycle. (Note that there are alternatives to PDCA such as John Seddon's Check-Plan-Do.  However they are all ultimately variations on the same activities, just with different emphasis.)


PDCA is a basic improvement cycle that can be applied individually, to a team, to a programme or a wider organisation.


Planning - planning work/activity to do.
Doing - doing the work/activity.
Check - evaluating how we did.
Adjust(/Act) - improvement actions to get a better result next time.


Sports work like this. Before the game, we plantactics and strategy. Then we play the game (do).  After the game, we review our performance: what went well and badly and why (check).  Finally, we take learnings from this review and work to improve for future games (adjust/act).

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The Difference Between Teaching and Coaching

This is a guest blog from Phil Dexter, Senior Project Manager at Torchbox. Phil recently attended one of our ICAgile courses where he got inspiration for this blog post. You can find Phil’s original article here.


Great coaching leads to great performance.

I’ve been reflecting on the role of coaches and their influence - both in sport, and at work. Specifically, I’ve been considering the difference between coaching and teaching - something focused on at an Agile Coaching course that I recently attended.

 

As per the course definition, teaching is explaining something to someone. It is the natural reaction that all of us have - someone asks us a question and we give them an answer. Perhaps we go the extra mile, and teach them - “here’s the answer, and here’s how I got to it”. The problem is solved and the knowledge passed on… kind of.

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Is a Project Manager Different From a Scrum Master?

15-Jun-2018 15:17:36 Scrum Master Project management Scrum

Are the roles of the Scrum Master and Project Manager the same?
I’m a Project Manager; can I be a Scrum Master?
What’s the difference between a Scrum Master and a Project Manager?
Does Scrum make the Project Manager role redundant?
What is a Scrum Master?

These are likely to be frequently asked questions for Project Managers who are new to Agile, considering a career move or involved in an Agile Transformation within their organisation.

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Bringing eXperience Agile 2018 to you

21-May-2018 14:21:32 eXperience Agile Events SAFe

Come along to Portugal to attend one of the best events in the Agile Space .

 

We are excited to announce that Radtac are co-organising the eXperience Agile 2018 Conference with IDC, eXperience Agile will be held in Lisbon, Portugal on the 1st and 2nd of October, aiming to bring leaders from around the world to share industry best practices and strategies that can be applied across a variety of industries.

 

The history of eXperience Agile

Previously, eXperience Agile was known as Scrumday Portugal, where chairman Hugo Lourenco was bringing top Agile leaders to share their ideas on innovating Agile and increasing awareness of Agile practices in Portugal. However, after 3 years of successful events, the team decided that the event deserves to become a global one. At the same time, the organisers decided to extend the focus from just Scrum to other Agile practices.

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Radtac launches office in the US

17-May-2018 14:14:31 US Agility Agile

 

 Expanding our British roots into the US: Radtac launches office in the US

‘Radtac’ - if there’s an American way to say it, then please imagine it now. Why? Well, you might need it.

Because we’ve always loved our American cousins, we’ve decided there’s no better way of showing that, than by effectively marching in there. Ok, what we actually mean is by expanding across the pond.

You’ve read that right. As of now (well, actually a little while ago, but we’ve been busy debating ‘color’ and ‘colour’, ‘organisation’ and ‘organization’), British roots have extended to the United States of America.

 

At the moment, you can find us in the tech hotbed that is Silicon Valley, California, with our office located near San Francisco. Come say Hello if you’re around - we’ll treat you to some tea!

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SAFe Practice Tips: CI/CD Part 3 - Continuous Deployment

02-May-2018 13:50:51 CI/CD SAFe How-To Agile IT

  

*This post is part of the series ‘SAFe Practice Tips’, which aims to offer helpful advice to anyone using SAFe.

 

Continuous Deployment

 

This is the final part to the CI/CD blog series where I discuss continuous integration, delivery & deployment, and the differences between them but also how they relate to one another. You can find the first and second part, discussing Continuous Integration and Continuous DeliveryThe last  practice we discuss is  Continuous Deployment (CDep).

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Business Agility Conference 2018


On the 14th of March 2018 Peter Measey, Laura Powers and Stuart Young all attended the Business Agility Conference held in New York. - They are all key contributors to the Radtac Business Transformation practice.

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Advance your career with an Agile Coaching course.

Last year we announced that we had joined the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) as a Member Training Organisation (MTO). 

The ICAgile learning roadmap provides clear paths for professionals and organisations who want to start or continue their Agile journey. If you’d like to understand the roadmap and pathways available, read our blog here.

We're always on the lookout to add new certifications to our course portfolio that can help advance your career. Our team have been developing a number of new courses that are aligned to the ICAgile Coaching Track: Agile Coaching and Agile Team Facilitation.

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