The Role of Leadership in your SAFe Journey

Posted in: Agile Transformation, News, Solution

Author: Chad Manley, Senior Advisor, Enterprise Agility

BCforward’s thought leaders on the Digital Strategies and Innovation team are excited to share with our readers this series on SAFe for Leaders.  Over the next several weeks we’re going to share blogs of real-life experiences from our team of SAFe Program Consultants (SPC’s) leading up to our panel discussion of thought leaders bringing their perspectives on the SAFe journey to a virtual stage.

Welcome to the age of digital disruption, an era that is changing the landscape of how organizations strategize, plan, and bring new products to market.  We saw change before 2020, but the emergence of a global pandemic has exponentially accelerated the need to scale and transform the way people work together.  Technology has enabled many organizations to dream big and realize their visions faster than ever.  This has created a Cambrian explosion of new entrants into markets where they might not have traditionally operated.  We’re seeing technology companies manufacturing products, and we’re seeing manufacturing companies becoming tech-enabled.  For those starting to feel left behind, this fierce competition can put those in a leadership role on a burning platform.   

So how do you guide the human capital of your organization to stay relevant and master digital disruption?  It takes having a mindset that can only be succinctly stated as Lean-Agile.  When we say the word lean, what we mean is that we need to reduce wasteful activities and focus on facts and data to make decisions.  When we say Agile, what we mean is empowering your knowledge workers by adopting a growth-mindset and allowing experimentation which promotes innovation with the least amount of risk possible.  Transformations are tough, and they don’t happen overnight which is why they take stamina at the leadership level to be successful.  It also takes leaders who are flexible and willing to put in the work.  By holding yourself accountable to the agile manifesto principles as a leader, and applying the SAFe Lean-Agile principles at scale, only then can you truly begin to see the incredible results that SAFe can provide your organization.  Our team of thought leaders have done this and continue to support initiatives at the Portfolio, Solution, ART, and team levels of the Scaled Agile framework. 

The number one reason why most transformations fail is due to a lack of leadership support, which is why we feel like SAFe brings the right approach to harnessing the critical role managers and leaders play to ensure transformative success.  Adopted from John Kotter’s book, Leading Change the SAFe implementation roadmap aligns his 8-step process for leading change with the milestones SAFe has identified to ensure a successful implementation.  For those that have seen the SAFe implementation roadmap, it prescribes a lot of training and workshops which serves as the driving force behind anchoring new approaches and ultimately, changing the culture.  Going on your SAFe journey is not for the faint of heart, it takes trust and a partnership with SPC’s and coaches who have done this before.

I hope that you’ll join us on this journey of thought leadership as we continue to publish blogs leading up to our panel discussion, you won’t be disappointed!  We’ll have perspectives from a diverse team of SAFe Program Consultants eager to share their SAFe journeys and how you as a leader can help drive the transformation in your organization.