Seamless Payments – A Story of Successful SAFe Transformation

To sum up, the case study of Seamless is evidence that small or medium-sized companies can benefit from a scaled agile framework with custom modifications.”


  • Multiple environments
  • Feature requests coming from different markets
  • Synchronizing work between teams (Software Engineering department spans 4 countries)
  • A way to deal with inevitable change of culture due to fast growth


Technology, Financial


Founded in 2011, and active in more than 30 countries, Seamless handles more than 3.0 billion transactions annually, making it one of the world largest suppliers of payment systems for mobile phones. Perhaps best known for its flagship mobile wallet product, SEQR (se•cure), the fast-moving Stockholm-based company has grown from 50 to 200 employees in 2 years, and is pursuing an expansive growth strategy that has presented challenges both technical and organizational.


Seamless Payments - A Story of Successful SAFe Transformation
  • Multiple environments
  • Feature requests coming from different markets
  • Synchronizing work between teams (Software Engineering department spans 4 countries)
  • A way to deal with inevitable change of culture due to fast growth

Wanting to avoid the unnecessary bureaucracy that often comes with expansion, they turned to a scaled-down version of SAFe—along with major technical investments in the deployment pipeline—to provide a structure that would provide a solution for current challenges, and accommodate growing complexity.

More Stories in Less Time—Despite Setbacks

Seamless Payments - A Story of Successful SAFe Transformation

The story of this SAFe transformation is published in InfoQ, and comes from Agile and Lean Product Development Expert, Mikael Lundgren, and Seamless Payments’ Software Engineering Manager, Tomek Pająk. They provide an account of the experience that is rich with detail, and goes beyond tactical execution to include the strategical thinking behind this scaled-down transformation. They recount:

  • How they down-scaled SAFe while maintaining its core ideas
  • Tools utilized for managing backlogs of features, epics, and stories
  • Recruiting Scrum Masters to act as Agile coaches for entire organization
  • Establishing new roles to better support working environment
  • Introducing WIP-limited program execution where work is planned in Agile Release Trains

Many thanks to the study authors, Mikael Lundgren and Tomek Pająk, for sharing your story and providing inspiration for small to medium-sized companies seeking scalable solutions as they face similar growth challenges.

Read the full story in the InfoQ article, Downscaling SAFe.

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Elekta – Implementing SAFe for Lean-Agile Practices

Elekta is a human care company pioneering clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. They develop sophisticated, state-of-the-art tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy, radiosurgery and brachytherapy, as well as workflow enhancing software systems across the spectrum of cancer care. Headquartered in Stockholm, Elekta employs around 3,800 employees globally in 30 countries.




Implementing SAFe for Lean-Agile Practices

Every day 100,000 patients receive diagnosis, treatment or follow-up by an Elekta solution

Elekta’s development goal is to enhance patient and customer value by providing solutions that improve, prolong and save lives better and faster. With teams working in several time zones, and individual members having different backgrounds and history working on separate products, their challenge was to create an environment where teams could better align with global priorities and with each other.

In 2007, Elekta adopted Scrum, but in their attempt to scale up, they saw that the Scrum teams were operating in silos which created issues with dependency, integration, and visibility of the big picture, all causing lack of clarity on overall objectives and plan. Wanting to address all areas of the enterprise, Elekta took a holistic view and introduced SAFe to their Scrum teams, launching their first Agile Release Train (ART) in 2013. Soon thereafter, they expanded to the Program level and trained all of their teams.

Today, Elekta is running 4 ARTs with 20 teams across three continents. Their SAFe journey has delivered significant gains and improvements in several areas, provided valuable lessons learned, as well as a roadmap to refine their value streams, and tackle ongoing challenges, including a deeper integration of Lean-Agile practices at the Portfolio level. Here are the highlights:

Introduction of SAFe Led to Key Changes in the Organization

  • Introduced Rally for Agile project management
  • Adopted organization and roles for SAFe (RTE, PM/PO, UX, EA, Agile coaches)
  • Streamlined development tooling and processes
  • Updated the Quality System for Agile development
  • Simplified project time reporting

Gains Made Through Introduction of SAFe

  • Improved quality
  • Cross site and cross functional collaboration
  • PI Planning provides both vertical and horizontal alignment
  • Transparency through Rally, reports, and  SAFe ceremonies
  • Agile Portfolio estimation & planning drives realistic Portfolio plan

Elekta’s Top 3 Tips for Starting up SAFe

  • Get buy-in from management—this is not isolated to development
  • Plan for a lot of training and exchange of practices to ensure an understanding of the principles behind (the mechanics are easy to learn). Bring in consultants/experts!
  • Use Agile to introduce it (don’t wait until everything is planned and in control, just start!)

Take a moment to read the Speaker notes in the PowerPoint; you’ll see that Elekta has been generous with sharing some of the context and nuance that can be especially helpful for anyone going through a transformation.

Much can be learned from their experience; perhaps the most important takeaway is that a successful Lean-Agile transformation requires, right from the start, buy-in from Leadership and team training with experts. There’s still much work to be done at Elekta, but because they got it right at the beginning of the process, Elekta has the edge when it comes to realizing the business benefits of adopting SAFe, faster.

Many thanks to Elekta’s Director of Engineering, Petrine Herbai, Manager of Engineering, Lars Gusch, and our Gold Partner, Rally Software; we appreciate all the great information you have shared, and look forward to hearing more about your continuing journey of transformation.


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Nordea – Agile Adoption with SAFe

Nordea - Agile Adoption with SAFe

“To see a waterfall Program Manager embrace SAFe after only two days of participating in a PI planning session is remarkable. He is now one of our biggest ambassadors of promoting SAFe within Nordea.”


Financial, Banking

The partner that made it happen:


With branches in 19 countries, and over 11 million customers, the European banking giant, Nordea, set a goal to deliver a new digital banking experience for its retail customers.

They determined that the best way to meet their goal was to adopt an agile development approach, and so in 2014 Nordea teamed up with Scaled Agile Gold Partner, Ivar Jacobson (IJI), and were introduced to SAFe.

Agile Adoption with SAFe

IJI kick-started Nordea’s SAFe introduction with a two-day session with management and stakeholders to establish a common
way of operating. They simulated how an agile-at-scale approach would work in Nordea’s environment, provided workshop style training for the staff involved, and one-on-one training for the Release Train Engineers (RTEs).

They combined two existing delivery streams to form their Agile Release Train; a total of 80 people formed five development teams, one system team, and various cross-functional roles to represent architecture and user experience. By January, 2015 Nordea had made it through two 10-week Program Increments (PIs) and planning sessions. In both sessions, all members participated in visioning and planning; as a group, they identified inter-dependencies and were able to establish both Team PI objectives and Program PI objectives.

Nordea’s fully-committed dive into SAFe produced immediate benefits, including:

  • Increased efficiency with team members aligned and working together
  • Greater creativity as teams are empowered to make decisions
  • Management aligned and supportive of Agile teams

The teams continue to evolve and improve their delivery system with each PI, and it has inspired other parts of Nordea to scale agile with SAFe.

Of course, there is more to learn from their experience, so make sure to download the attached study for the rest of the story.

Many thanks to the folks at Ivar Jacobson for providing the guidance, coaching and training that enabled Nordea to accelerate agile adoption with SAFe, and for sharing the story of their success.

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