Synchronize an increased number of teams within the SAFe framework

February 22, 2017


The debate on how to best scale up Scrum (and other agile methods) has been going on for a wihle. In particular, the discussion is about how to do this in bigger organizations where projects are often driven in a program environment with several subproject and many Scrum teams. The debate has also reached into how best synchronize development works with several teams or subprojects at the same time, where everyone works towards a common goal. The framework Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has been developed with just this type of organization in mind.

Increased number of teams with the SAFe framework

Within the SAFe framework synchronizing happens in several different levels. SAFe teams on program levels, roles and activities are being organized around what’s called Agile Release Trains (ART). These trains depart following a predetermined schedul, which enables planning and release synchronization on program level.

The SAFe agile team consists of cross-functional individuals with the ability to define, build and test a solution or system in an iterative workflow. The team consists of developers, testers, scrum masters, product owners and all other necessary competences required to deliver business value. Since these teams often utilizes  eXtreme programming they’re inofficially called SAFe ScrumXP team. Microsoft Visual Studio supports a whole array of different XP techniques and is well suited for this type of team.

Synchronize your teams

An ART can have several ScrumXP teams that together build the solution. Each team have their own backlog, which consists of selected extractions from the main program backlog. This demands a lot of work and task synchronization between the teams, which in turn can be done in a few different ways:

  • The ScrumXP teams is the power behind a release train and in order to synchronize with other teams the product owners meet in an extended product owner team. In addition, each team’s iterations are being synchronized with other teams to coordinate the build process.
  • Scrum of Scrum meetings are held. During these weekly meetings representatives of the various ScrumXP teams meet and and synchronize the work.
  • In order to enable information sharing the teams utilize various tools. Such tools include Microsoft VSTS, where you can create standard as well as customized reports . These reports are then shared throughout various websites or other platforms.

Synchronizing various team’s work within SAFe can thereby be done in different levels. With these methods of synchronization, a good a stabile pace of work can help keeping development quality high.

Have you scaled up using SAFe? Do you want to know more about team synchronization? Let us know below!