Designing the Digital Future at Porsche

Learn how the separate worlds of vehicle engineering and IT came together at Porsche to reimagine the sports car of the future

Share:

Revolutionary things can happen when pizza is being served. You’ll find out why when you join Porsche visionaries Mattias Ulbrich and Dr. Oliver Seifert for a candid discussion about transforming one of the world’s most iconic motoring brands into a digital-first pacesetter.

As huge technological advances usher in an automotive renaissance, Porsche is moving at top speed to meet the evolving needs of its customers. They are fully focused on making their cars a central element of their buyers’ lifestyle through digitalization, connectivity, and electromobility. This requires business agility, a new mindset, and a new way of working together. It also requires vehicle engineering and software teams to collaborate closely and to harmonize the differing speeds at which they traditionally work. This might have been daunting for any company that is as storied and successful as Porsche.

The most important thing is that you shouldn’t underestimate that the digital world is totally different from the physical world,” says Ulbrich.

But Porsche didn’t let this slow them down. To build bridges between the groups, the company created new opportunities for people to talk, learn, and understand each other. They created the Porsche “Takt,” the heartbeat that synchronizes the teams. They focus on results and communicate the vision in a way that motivates people to visualize opportunities for change.

Says Ulbrich, “If you look right now in a team, you couldn’t distinguish whether a person is from R&D, IT, sales, or marketing. They work together.

Presented at the 2021 Global SAFe Summit, October 2021 by:

  • Mattias Ulbrich, Chief Information Officer of Porsche AG and CEO of Porsche Digital
  • Dr. Oliver Seifert, Vice President R&D Electric/Electronics /Porsche AG
  • Interviewer: Michael Clarkin, Chief Marketing Officer, Scaled Agile, Inc.SHOW LESS

Back to: Customer Stories

Next: CVS Health Customer Story

Porsche Lean-Agile Transformation Journey

How the legendary automotive brand approached Lean-Agile Transformation by building the Digital Product Organization

Share:

Porsche leverages the power of using one language for roles, routines, and artifacts as they bring the
Porsche experience into the digital age.

In this presentation by Porsche transformation leaders, you will:

  • Get insights about the transformation approach and setup
  • Learn about the critical success factors at the beginning of the transformation
  • Find out more about over one year of a fully remote transformation experience and remote ART Launches
  • Get to know how the LACE Team handles different transformation velocities within the organization
  • Experience “Porsche Takt” as the Heartbeat of the transformation

Presented at the 2021 Global SAFe Summit, October 2021 by:

  • Alena Keck, Senior Manager / MHP – A Porsche Company
  • Jan Burchhardt, Director Digital Transformation /Porsche AG

Back to: Customer Stories

Next: ZKH Customer Story

FedEx – Interview With CIO Rob Carter with Dean Leffingwell

How SAFe and Business Agility helped FedEx respond to the impacts and opportunities of COVID-19

Share:

In this interview with Dean Leffingwell, FedEx CIO Rob Carter shares a rare look inside the world’s largest express transportation company. Rob describes their seven-year journey with SAFe and Agile, their approach to business agility and Lean Portfolio Management, and why alignment between the business and IT is so critical. Turning to the business impacts of the pandemic, Rob described how the company quickly responded to a dramatic increase in package volumes and application demand with a workforce working largely from home with the help of SAFe and Agile.

“One of the things that the pandemic has really presented to us is a set of rapid changes in marketplaces and needs, and frankly, you can’t fake it in the face of something like what we’ve all been through in this crazy world.” —Rob Carter.

Presented at the Global SAFe Summit, October, 2020.

Back to: Customer Stories

Next: Chevron Customer Story

Cerno – SAFe Implementation for IT: A Case Study

“We collaborate more than ever with our customers by involving them in planning as much as we can. And we deliver frequent demos—even beyond customers’ expectations. Our customers have found communication to be more effective since the SAFe implementation.”

Sam Wu, Agile Head Coach and Training Director, Cerno

Challenge:

Deliver custom solutions faster and with higher quality for clients.

Industry:

Information Technology, Software

Results:

  • Delivery cycle time dropped by 58%
  • The rate of release failure went down from 0.6 times on average per release to 0
  • The interface automation level increased from zero to 70 percent
  • Reported defects decreased from 13 times per release to five

Best Practices:

  • Power through setbacks – Find solutions and don’t let them stop your momentum.
  • Assess regularly – Inspect & Adapt and DevOps health checks keep teams aware of progress and on track toward goals.
  • Choose a compatible partner – A partner with a business view, not just R&D, moved Cerno ahead with training and coaching.

Introduction

As a custom software factory, Cerno is poised for rapid growth as part of China’s expansive technology market. The company delivers technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, open source software, and IoT solutions for a diverse range of clients, from logistics to government.

Cerno - SAFe Implementation for IT

To compete effectively, Cerno set out to elevate the speed of delivery, reduce defects, and improve the quality of its solutions in the long term, with the ultimate objective of being more client-focused.

“We needed a next-generation software development method to meet customer needs and reach our goals,” explained Sam Wu, Agile Head Coach and Training Director, Cerno.

Cerno’s founders brought experience in developing software for the financial industry. They found the ‘weak matrix’ structure worked in HR outsourcing, but not so well in product delivery. (A weak matrix is an organizational structure in which the balance of power tilts decisively in the direction of line or functional management.)

And while the traditionally waterfall company had experimented with Lean-Agile development in the past, they lacked the training or business support to build momentum.

SAFe®: The Path from Strategy to Delivery

While attending Leading SAFe® training, a Cerno executive saw a promising path to Agile, leading Cerno to adopt the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe). “It was clear that we needed SAFe to make Cerno a total Agile enterprise, to expand Agile not only to product lines but also to the business and functional departments such as HR and finance,” explained Liu Yilei, VP, Cerno. “We saw SAFe as the model that would take us from strategy to delivery.

“SAFe provided a comprehensive toolkit and an easy way to move forward,” added Wu, who was hired at that time to lead the effort as the internal change agent. At the same time, the company brought in SAFe Gold partner Aura International for coaching and training.

Per the SAFe Implementation Roadmap, James Li, Principal Consultant from Aura, led the SAFe Executive Workshop. Jack Xu, Senior Consultant from Aura, delivered SAFe® for Teams training and helped prepare for the first Program Increment (PI) planning event. They organized teams, reconfigured the office to better support those teams, and reorganized the product plan with user-story mapping.

For the first Agile Release Train launch, they began with four Agile teams—the entire R&D team plus Infrastructure and Operations—on an existing initiative to digitalize a logistics solution for a client.

From that first PI, team leaders embraced the Lean-Agile mindset. They identified priorities based on business value and began allowing people to self-organize. Instead of waiting to be assigned work, developers identified the work based on business objectives, committed to the work in PI Planning, and moved forward with it.

More Stories in Less Time—Despite Setbacks

Though Cerno set out to follow SAFe by the book, they ran into roadblocks that forced mid-course adjustments. In middle of the first PI, the Systems Architect left, leading Cerno to assemble a team to assume his responsibilities.

Additionally, the customer cut some funding because of market forces. And when managers wanted to move some teams to another client project, it nearly stopped the train. Given technical and capacity challenges, Cerno chose to postpone 15 percent of the high-risk PI objectives and scale back the size of the train.

Developers also found it challenging to transition from private to public code, a decision made to reduce bottlenecks in bug fixes and hidden technical debt. As the project team transitioned away from three-week waterfall development, the coaching team helped set code standards. In time, they found that developers took more pride in their code because of its public nature.

Even with the early challenges, the Inspect and Adapt session after the first PI showed the teams had met PI objectives and reduced defects. The ART could produce 45 stories per two-week iteration, on average, by the end of the first PI, compared to 30 stories per three-week iteration in waterfall.

Cerno - SAFe Implementation for IT

Routine DevOps Health Checks

When Cerno first introduced DevOps practices, the company lacked a SAFe DevOps Practitioner. Still, they made progress on a delivery pipeline and staging environment, supported a grayscale release of a product, and shortened the time to release future versions.

Additionally, they formed a new system integration testing (SIT) plan that shrunk testing time by 25 percent initially, and then by half, freeing the development team to put more effort into new features.

To expedite progress, they began conducting DevOps health checks. Early on, those checks uncovered opportunities to improve delivery. To stay on track, they now perform this exercise every PI. With the habit of regular checks, Cerno has made strides with automated testing and continuous integration/continuous deployment.

To support their efforts, they also established Communities of Practice and hold monthly technical workshops for developers.

Delivery Cycle Time Down 58 Percent

Today, Cerno runs two ARTs with 80 people. These high-confidence teams agree on, and begin working on, requirements faster. They communicate and collaborate more tightly than before they introduced SAFe and are continuously improving.

When the ART completed work with one client, they simply switched the train to support another logistics client with a similar solution—effectively a plug-and-play release train. The company then added a second ART to deliver value to another client. Each train continues to serve a single client.

To date, Cerno has made remarkable progress:

  • Delivery cycle time dropped from 3½ weeks to two weeks, or 58 percent
  • The average offline time for a new production environment release decreased from 3½ hours to half an hour
  • The rate of release failure went down from 0.6 times on average per release to 0
  • The interface automation level increased from zero to 70 percent
  • Reported defects decreased from 13 times per release to five

Most importantly, Cerno realized its goal of becoming a more customer-centric organization.

“We collaborate more than ever with our customers by involving them in planning as much as we can. And we deliver frequent demos—even beyond customers’ expectations,” Wu said. “Our customers have found communication to be more effective since the SAFe implementation.

“This is the first SAFe transformation case I have coached in a local company in China,” Li said. “Although there’s still more to improve, it is really a great and wonderful start! It is a significant milestone for SAFe in China.”

Looking ahead, Cerno is building toward agility beyond solution delivery, into administrative management and marketing—to become a total Agile enterprise.

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study: Amdocs

MetLife – SAFe Enterprise Agility

Share:

MetLife is one of 12 Fortune 500 companies to thrive for over 150 years. Met has scale and a proud history … and the many challenges of incumbency including legacy systems and challenges to speed. Agile is quickly being embraced as the way to achieve speed in innovation.

In this 45-minute video, Cheryl Crupi shares the story of how a small team sold MetLife’s new CEO and his new executive group on Agility. This short, immersive session enabled this executive group to experience Agile for themselves and resulted in a third of the group to request individual follow-up on how they can embrace Agility, including HR, Legal, Marketing and regional business presidents.

Presented at 2019 Global SAFe Summit by:
Cheryl Crupi, Assistant Vice President, Global LACEMetLife

Back to: Customer Stories

Next: TravelPort: The Power of PI Planning Customer Story

Deutsche Bahn

Agile Planning for Transportation

“For Deutsche Bahn Digital Sales, SAFe is the framework for the strategic digitalization program … With it, we are delivering faster and more effectively on our objectives, which drives our ability to compete in the digital age.”

Matthias Opitz, Senior Program Manager, DB Vertrieb, Deutsche Bahn

Challenge:

After privatizing the company, Deutsche Bahn faced new market forces, along with increasing competition from new transportation players.

Industry:

Transportation

Results:

  • Lead time dropped from 12 months to 3-4 months
  • Coverage of test automation improved from 30% or less to 80-90%
  • Greater collaboration among teams and better results have raised employees’ satisfaction levels

Best Practices:

  • Start ASAP – Begin, even if imperfectly. “It’s more important to give people a chance to work in this environment than to wait until everyone is trained,” said Thorsten Janning, SAFe Fellow, of KEGON.
  • Train extensively – That said, train management and teams as much as possible before the first PI Planning event.
  • Get expert help – DB worked with Scaled Agile Partner, KEGON, from the start and continues to do so for the support and experienced guidance a partner can bring. Progress is a continuous process of asking questions, which a partner can help answer.

The partner that made it happen:

Introduction

In recent years, Deutsche Bahn (DB)—one of Europe’s largest railway operators—has faced unprecedented change. In 1994, the two railways of East and West Germany merged after the country’s reunification. While the company was adjusting to the transition, it was also contending with rising costs and greater competition than ever before from other railway operators, long-distance bus services and new, fast-acting players providing ride services and car-sharing.

Agile Planning for Transportation

Within this challenging environment, in 2014 DB embarked on a digital transformation to modernize the way their business units operate, from cargo transport to passenger ticket sales. It was up to each business unit to decide on a path forward to meet those goals.

Initially, the business units implemented Lean-Agile practices at the team level, on a small scope. Yet as they began trying to deliver on objectives, they fell short of targets—especially on larger solutions. The company struggled with lengthy decision cycles; fragmented responsibility; constant design, coordination and estimation; changing requirements; and many, many dependencies.

“In nearly every business unit, the transformation projects struggled to deliver large solutions,” said Matthias Opitz, Senior Program Manager, DB Vertrieb. “We were going around in circles analyzing, and the processes were so complex that the organization was not able to deliver simple minimum viable products.”

It was clear the effort would require a considerable overhaul of its long-established ways of working.

Full-Speed Ahead in DB Cargo

The company looked for a Lean-Agile methodology capable of handling its complex environment on a larger scale and found it in the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®).

Within each segment of the company, at least one business unit rolled SAFe out as part of the digital transformation initiative:

  • DB Cargo: Freight transportation and Logistics
  • DB Netze: Infrastructure/rail network
  • DB Vertrieb: Passenger transport

“For Deutsche Bahn Digital Sales, SAFe is the framework for the strategic digitalization program,” Opitz said. “It brought a continuous delivery process that keeps us on track toward our objectives.”

DB Vertrieb started its Lean-Agile transformation in 2015, when the business unit established an effort named ‘KAI‘ (an acronym for the German words meaning customer centricity, agility, and innovation), which stressed five attributes:

  • Customer excitement over optimization of profits
  • Iteration over perfection
  • Participation over hierarchy and silos
  • Trust and personal responsibility over top-down
  • Active participation instead of business as usual

To ease the transition, the company engaged Scaled Agile Partner KEGON as its primary provider for training and coaching. With KEGON, the DB companies began comprehensive training to prepare everyone who would be joining an Agile Release Train (ART), a team of teams in the Framework.

Lean-Agile leaders at DB Cargo and DB Vertrieb took the Leading SAFe® course, with others taking role-based training such as SAFe® Scrum Master, SAFe® for Teams, and SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager. At least nine change agents at DB business units also earned SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) certification in order to teach their colleagues. DB saw training as essential for helping people through the inevitable challenges that would come up, including resistance.

“Training was very important for giving us confidence and answers to questions that came up,” Opitz said. “Because we trained all participants, training also helped open discussions and convince skeptical people that this was the right way to go.”

Delivering on All Commitments

Agile Planning for Transportation

DB Cargo was the first division within the company to kick off the first ART with a Program Increment (PI) planning event. Managers of the other business units attended only to observe.

In that meeting, they accomplished several of their top objectives:

  • Clarified an incremental release strategy
  • Identified business epics regarding end-to-end processes
  • Prioritized business epics with weighted shortest job first (WSJF)
  • Analyzed business epics and identified features
  • Figured out dependencies and planned teams’ work for the coming PI

SAFe practices such as the Program Board gave participants clear insight, for the first time, into the company’s numerous dependencies. With that visual aid, they realized that changes to peripheral systems would affect the critical path of the initiative, allowing teams to coordinate appropriately.

As the PI got underway, leaders and team members alike hit challenges with breaking old habits. The governance and budgeting structures remained in a waterfall construct early on, but began to move toward Lean budgeting as DB Vertrieb kicked off PIs in 2017.

To bridge this gap, Opitz stresses that the business units had to ensure that SAFe and the new approach extended to the broader organization, beyond IT. Therefore, DB Vertrieb decided to establish a ‘Target Operating Model’ (TOM) for the business unit and to perform the transformation activities in a dedicated ART. Shared services departments such as HR, controlling, communication, training
and support, and marketing were brought into the fold.

Any doubt or resistance soon faded away as teams delivered perfectly on target for their first PI. “At first, everyone looked at the committed backlog and said, ‘It’s too much,’” Opitz said. “But by the end of this first PI, we had delivered almost everything, which was a surprise to everyone.”

With SAFe, DB Vertrieb finally implemented a process by which to plan requirements, prioritize, and synchronize the various programs, and to break down the requirements and epics into features and stories. Additionally, automated epic and feature reporting brought critical transparency regarding implementation status.

“Just a year ago, it was a big challenge to do specifications,” Opitz said. “Now we have a process that makes it happen.”

Steps to Success

A number of steps and factors contributed to DB Vertrieb’s SAFe transformation. For one, DB leveraged Agile metrics to manage Portfolios and ARTs, and to help secure funding for them. In turn, management supported the effort by funding standing teams. They also invested in co-located and synchronous PI planning events for all ARTs in 2019.

Agile Planning for Transportation

The company performed a Value Stream analysis, which resulted in four Value Streams covering vertical products and horizontal services.

Toward continuous improvement of testing, teams performed system tests and implemented integrated development test servers.

Starting at the Portfolio level, they switched from a traditional requirements specification process to Agile requirements engineering.

DB Vertrieb found that self-organized teams were empowered to make decisions. In one case, a team detected an incorrect architectural decision when communicating with a stakeholder.

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study: TomTom

Air France-KLM

Air France - Scaled Agile Practices with SAFe

“We wanted to experiment and demonstrate Agile principles and practices across domains. By empowering each business domain, acknowledging specific contexts in domains, fostering sharing, and ‘try and learn,’ SAFe has helped us get on the right track to success.”

Claire Charbit, Program Management NWOW Agile Adoption, Air France-KLM

Challenge:

Air France – KLM sought to scale Agile practices companywide to improve time to market and efficiency, but must contend with specific contexts and regulations in the different businesses of the airlines.

Industry:

Transportation, Aviation

Results:

  • SAFe teams released 17 times in the live environment in seven months compared to every six months previously
  • On average, SAFe teams release 20% more effectively than waterfall teams
  • The company gained 20% market share in the small and medium logistics market alone
  • On one offering, the company exceeded expectation by 25%
  • Air France – KLM is more intimate with its clients

Best Practices:

  • Focus on Transversal Topics for a sustainable adoption – “From day one, make them part of the adoption,” Moreau says. These topics affect all domains.
  • Let domains and teams define objectives – Teams are more committed and empowered if they set their own goals
  • Train continuously – The Core Team regularly holds Agile Booster workshops to help with specific adoption challenges such as how to deal with conflicting priorities from both airlines, and what does it mean to have an Agile mindset?

Introduction

One of Europe’s largest passenger airline groups, Air France – KLM operates up to 2,200 flights daily and carries over 93 million passengers annually. The company’s five airlines—Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Transavia, HOP! Air France and Joon—cover 320 destinations across 114 countries.

Air France - Scaled Agile Practices with SAFe

In a highly competitive industry, where information systems can be strategic competitive assets, Air France – KLM set out to reduce its time-to-market with business applications. To do so, the company decided to improve the business/IT collaboration by breaking down silos and expanding Lean-Agile practices.

“Before, in moving from waterfall to Agile, we were not able to make the leap on a broader scale,” says Edwin Borst, Program Management NWOW #agile Adoption, Air France – KLM.

Achieving its goals would require bringing together diverse cultures at French and Dutch offices, as well as contending with diverse contexts, operational constraints or regulations across the different business domains.

An Agile Adoption Empowering Business Domains and Teams

After the successful launch of three ARTs in the Commercial Digital business domain in late summer 2016, the company decided to leverage this success and create a broader-scale adoption. Pieter Bootsma, Executive Vice-President Commercial Strategy at Air France – KLM, noted: “We can all benefit from Agile in the whole group and not only at Commercial Digital.”  So, in late 2016, the company chose to foster and accelerate the adoption and scaling of Agile practices.

Prior to launching the broad adoption, a small group of transformation leaders spent several months defining the scope of the deployment, the way the adoption would be conducted, and preparing for adoption on a larger scale. The leaders decided to adopt Lean-Agile principles and values in the way the program would be set up and run. The goal: demonstrate the mindset and practices, and see the benefits of this approach in a Change Management context.

Air France - Scaled Agile Practices with SAFe
  • Empower each business domain via its own self-organized, multidisciplinary, “Agile adoption team”
  • Deliver the change in short cycles, enabling experimentation and quick adaptation
  • Start small with minimum viable products (MVPs)
  • Share and learn from each others’ domains
  • Differentiate and adapt to each domain’s specifications and context

In late 2016, the company chose the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) to foster and accelerate the adoption and scaling of Agile practices across the various business domains.

“In order to manage our Agile adoption program across 11 business domains within Air France – KLM, we formed an Agile Release Plane (ARP, modified to fit the industry), inspired by SAFe,” says Didier Lavielle,  Program Management NWOW #agile Adoption, Air France – KLM. “SAFe gives us the framework we have been missing while at the same time empowering each business domain to define their own way to reach their goals.”

Each business domain (Commercial, Cargo, Flight and Ground Operations, Engineering & Maintenance, Finance, Human Resources) joined the ART with its own change team—named Agile Adoption Team—and self-organized as a product team. As a mix of IT and business, the Adoption Team defines the specific objectives, approach, and steps to take in its domain: people to train, Agile product teams to form, coaching needed, communication plan, monitoring progress, and more.

The company formed “Transversal Tracks,” (groups that tie into all business domains), which joined the ART: Human Resources (e.g. role description, training, and coaching), Finance and Portfolio Management (IT investment processes), Tooling and Capabilities, Communication, and “IT Readiness.” This setup brought value to the 11 domains by not having to reinvent the wheel and ensured consistency in harmonized solutions.

Air France – KLM engaged with BlinkLane Consulting for guidance and training. Around 150 team members in the Agile Adoption ART, from the various business domains and Transversal Track teams, attended Introduction to Agile training, with about 50% of them taking the Leading SAFe course.

Some of the Transversal tracks went through specially designed workshops regarding Lean Budgeting, Agile KPIs & Reporting, and Agile HR, for instance. Those supporting the various adoption teams either attended the SAFe Scrum Master training or were already certified SPCs. So far, more than 300 colleagues from the Adoption ART and from the regular ARTs have followed the Leading SAFe training.

Aligning the Stakeholders on a “Definition of Awesome”

Prior to kickoff, all business domains and Transversal Track groups aligned on a common definition of awesome with four themes:

Agile Enterprise – In the Air France – KLM enterprise, the autonomous, stable, and cross-functional teams are the cornerstones of the organization for driving innovation and continuous improvement. The Transversal processes support and stimulate an Agile way of working and mindset at all levels. This allows the company to focus on continuously maximizing quality and delivering value to the customer.

Value Creation – The Agile adoption aims to create more value—for customers and employees. Quality as well as effectiveness go up. The company succeeds by driving down the time-to-market, and increasing the Net Promotor Score.

Leadership – Air France – KLM develops servant leaders who empower Agile teams and value streams. They engender trust, work with a clear purpose, and provide direction to all levels of the Agile Enterprise. They are recognized for their Agile leadership, enabling others to succeed and drive the organization for continuous improvement. They focus on goals instead of tasks.

Employee Engagement – The organization is recognized as a best place to work. As a result, it attracts talented people. It works closely with customers. People feel responsible and autonomous for their products and results. Employee satisfaction is high and demonstrated by EPS (active promotors).

Big-Room Kickoff in Paris: PI Planning Event #1

Air France - Scaled Agile Practices with SAFe

The company officially kicked off the Air France – KLM New Ways of Working #agile ART at the first PI planning event in March 2017 in Paris. The Release Train Engineer (RTE), Odile Moreau from BlinkLane, was part of a small group of transformation leaders called The Core Team. The team, which includes three from Air France – KLM and three from BlinkLane, helps foster the adoption and structure; organize the program and its events; support the domains and the Transversal tracks; and monitor the progress and the results.

The five Transversal tracks, 11 business domain adoption teams, and the Core Team formed the ART, with 150 people. The company’s group CIO, Jean-Christophe Lalanne, and Commercial Strategy EVP, Pieter Bootsma, attended as executive sponsors and set the tone for the importance of the initiative.

At the first PI event, Air France – KLM introduced a logo created specifically for the program, which added strategic emphasis.

Team members from France and the Netherlands came together, bringing distinctive cultures and very diverse states of Agile: some were new to Agile principles and some brought several years of experience

“Although this approach and the PI Planning event was new for most people, everyone was really driven and motivated to share experiences, learn from each other, try and experiment, and work toward results,” Lavielle says.

Yet despite that excitement, many were hesitant to break out of their own groups and talk with those they had never met. Thus transformation leaders requested that anyone adding yarn to the program board—indicating dependencies—discuss it directly with the individuals involved.

As the first PI progressed, teams achieved about 60 percent of their stated objectives, on average. In leading up to the second PI, they applied the lessons learned and set more accurate, quantifiable objectives.

At the start of the second PI, Air France – KLM began a new practice of having each business domain and Transversal Track share its business results with the entire group as a PI begins. At the same time, this served as an opportunity to Inspect and Adapt what worked and what didn’t.

By the third PI, in the fall of 2017, Air France – KLM had grown to 208 product teams and eight ARTs across Commercial Digital, Cargo, Commercial, and AF Flight Ops. The KLM HR division and the AF Ground Services have both organized Value Stream workshops to either launch new trains or reorganize their current Agile teams into an ART. The same applies to Digital Commercial. Following on the continuous Inspect & Adapt, Commercial Digital will also reorganize its current ARPs to allow for more alignment on the business objectives and improve its delivery model.

Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Along the way, they learned a number of lessons to improve their efforts going forward:

  • Have an approach for dealing with the diversity across domains, both in their Agile maturity and in their specific context and constraints (operational, security, and regulations)
  • Establish strong ownership in each business domain via an individual adoption team
  • Since most of the dependencies lie between Transversal Tracks (HR or Finance impediments) and business domains, co-create solutions for Transversal topics that facilitate exchanges and encourage learning from each other
  • Actively address the challenge of changing the managerial mindset and leadership styles
  • Understand that setting realistic goals for the next 15 weeks will be difficult for most, as is learning to set smaller, more realistic goals
  • Encourage individuals to ask for help from someone in a Transversal Track or the Core Team
  • Ensure that the team members who are not 100% dedicated and co-located commit to objectives and organize in a way to still be able to work together and produce results
  • Ask for regular feedback to respond to uncertainties and come up with valuable results
  • Leave personal egos at the door and achieve common objectives

Investing in Role-Based Training

Air France - Scaled Agile Practices with SAFe

Where it can, the company trains with the SAFe curriculum. All RTEs go through SAFe Release Train Engineer training. Scrum Masters with the PSM certification are offered the SAFe for Scrum Master training and certification when joining an ARP. The same applies for Product Owner. Team members also attend SAFe for Teams when they join an ARP. Additionally, the company developed training and workshops for Lean Budgeting, using the Weighted Shortest Job First, and other practical guidelines.

A community of 40 coaches support the effort at various levels: teams, domain, adoption, and enterprise. This community is growing in maturity and results. In the third PI, the company will focus on internalization and growth of the coaches, ensuring a more sustainable and economical support for the Agile community.

Results: 20% More Effective Delivery

Since deploying SAFe, Air France – KLM notes greater collaboration between business domains and Transversal Tracks. Within three months, their efforts began paying off in business results in the Cargo group:

Time-to-market – Each ART team delivers on its promises every three weeks. Since moving to SAFe, the company released 17 times in the live environment in seven months compared to every six months previously.

Quality – Of the 17 releases, the company had to delay just one due to a major incident

Productivity – SAFe teams deliver, on average, more than 20% more effectively than waterfall teams

Adaptability – With a PI cycle of 12 weeks, Air France – KLM has been able to pivot its vision three times in the past year, allowing the company to tap into new business opportunities much more quickly and easily

Market share – The company gained 20% market share in the small and medium logistics market alone with this flexibility

Predictability – The velocity of ARTs builds in more predictability and enables teams to take ownership and show greater craftsmanship. Team stability is also an important success factor in results

Business value – On one offering, the company exceeded expectation by 25%

Employee satisfaction – PI Planning results in better transparency and autonomy for the teams. Seeing the vision in the Cargo group encourages team members to contribute to the business value and increases their work satisfaction, as well as collaboration between business and IT

Customer satisfaction – Air France – KLM is more intimate with its clients. All Product Owners from the business side have a greater understanding of the demand. Going live with small changes and new functionality every three weeks gives them a faster feedback loop and more rapid pivoting, enabling groups to deliver greater value in its IT solutions

Air France - Scaled Agile Practices with SAFe

Air France – KLM looks forward to seeing ever-greater progress as it moves toward DevOps, allowing the ARTs to deliver end-to-end with an integrated team.

“We have started experimenting more with weighted shortest job first (WSJF) in our priority at the Features level,” Moreau says. “We also want to harness the work with Portfolio Management and Lean budgeting.”

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study:

Deutsche Bhan

Australia Post – Implementing SAFe in Delivery Services

Australia Post - Implementing SAFe in Delivery Services

“SAFe has really helped bring the organization along its transformation journey. Its real value has been in the way it links strategy with decentralized execution, using metrics to enable a high level of transparency and fact-based decision making to focus on achieving business outcomes.”

Natalie Field, Head of MyPost Consumer

Challenge:

Effectively deliver solutions that sustain and further enable Australia Post as a trusted services provider, and delight customers with personalized digital products and services.

Industry:

Delivery Services

Results:

  • 100-fold increase in yearly production deployments with 98% cost reduction, enabling iterative product development
  • 400% Agile Release Train productivity increase over 18 months
  • Strong overall delivery predictability of 80%+
  • First-Time Delivery rate improved by 7 percentage points
  • Net Promoter Score rose by 8 points
  • Increased employee satisfaction and engagement

Best Practices:

  • Establish a learning and improvement mindset – Place a primary focus on learning and continuous improvement across all facets of delivery to achieve consistent growth in maturity and effectiveness.
  • Measure outcomes – Enabling a metrics and measurement capability links teams to business strategy and is key to ensuring business outcomes are effectively achieved.
  • Align to DevOps principles – Building a strong technology delivery platform aligned to DevOps principles enables iterative and innovative product
  • Focus on the entire system of work – Build organizational advocacy and sustainability by facilitating change and enablement for shared teams that support and govern Agile Release Trains.

Introduction

Australia Post is Australia’s iconic postal services provider. For 208 years, the organization has been integral to how people and communities connect across Australia. Through a collective workforce of over 50,000 people, Australia Post serves communities, citizens, and businesses, from large corporations to government departments.

Australia Post - Implementing SAFe in Delivery Services

Like many organizations, Australia Post’s business has been disrupted and must transform to adapt to the digital era. Traditional business pillars such as letters are in persistent decline, while the company faces fierce competition, but also immense opportunity with the growth of ecommerce. For Australia Post, that opportunity lies in creating sustainable competitive advantage through trusted relationships between consumers, businesses, and government.

Given these forces, Australia Post needed a new way of working to both sustain and further enable the organization as a trusted services provider, and to delight its customers with personalized digital products and services.

SAFe: Driving Change with Lean Structure and Common Language

Over the past four years, Australia Post has invested in its technology, people, and culture to change the way it works to focus on customer experiences and continuous innovation. To help achieve this agility in business, Australia Post selected and adopted the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) not only as an operating model but as a tool for change. With SAFe, the organization aims to describe, communicate, and build an understanding of how to leverage Lean and Agile principles across the organization.

“The structure and discipline outlined in SAFe has been a powerful way to communicate a different way of working,” says Daniel Fajerman, Head of Digital Engineering. “Using an industry proven framework offered a strong basis to start the conversation about working differently, providing a common language and consistent base to work off.”

Achieving Sustainable Change

Australia Post - Implementing SAFe in Delivery Services

The goal at Australia Post is sustainable, lasting change that fundamentally shifts how the organization approaches and delivers against its strategies. To do so, Australia Post must equip its people with knowledge and the ability to advocate for and be a part of this new way of working.

A broad and comprehensive training and enablement strategy was rolled out across the organization to build experience and maturity. With help from Mark Richards of CoActivation, a Scaled Agile partner, Australia Post trained more than 900 people in Leading SAFe® and SAFe for Teams® courses. This included key roles across executive leadership, within business functions such as finance, risk, architecture, security, marketing and sales, and of course technology leadership and teams.

From the beginning, Australia Post applied a persistent focus on cadence and synchronization – keys to building alignment and embedding disciplined delivery practices across diverse teams. With all of Australia Post on the same sprint (and then Program Increment) cadence, scaling teams and ultimately forming these into Agile Release Trains (ARTs) became a natural evolution.

Achieving sustainable change focused on four key interrelated areas of emphasis across the organization:

  • Cross-functional, long-running teams – Moving from transient project teams to cross-functional, long-running teams aligned to customer experiences was a foundational, critical change to the way people work.
  • Culture – Australia Post invested significantly in evolving the culture of the organization to one where curiosity, innovation, and a learning mindset predominate.
  • Technology enablement – Beyond cultural and process changes, improving delivery flow and time-to-value requires an effective build pipeline and deployment infrastructure aligned to DevOps principles.
  • System of work – Implementing a new way of working spans well beyond delivery teams to every part of the organization that supports the delivery of business initiatives. The change team worked closely with shared services groups to tailor approaches to enable and meet their needs under the Framework, including new innovative funding and governance models.

This multi-pronged approach formed sustainable building blocks for change and enablement. With the goal of implementing Agile Release Trains (ARTs), the early focus was on long-running teams and culture to allow maturity to build and grow. The greatest traction came with the advocacy and leadership of business sponsors and leads, who understood the increased business opportunity and had confidence in the delivery model.

MyPost Consumer – Creating a Platform for Personalized Services

Australia Post - Implementing SAFe in Delivery Services

Today, five ARTs now support Australia Post’s value streams and associated enterprise strategies. One of those trains, the MyPost Consumer ART, sits within Australia Post’s Consumer market segment value stream. Established in 2015 to play a significant role in the shift toward customer centricity, MyPost Consumer is creating an omni-channel platform to offer personalized services to customers. The train’s primary focus: the parcel delivery experience, which sits at the heart of Australia Post’s business.

The train is made up of 110 cross-functional roles, with each team responsible for specific components of the parcel delivery experience. As a multi-channel, multi-technology program, only 30% of features are purely digital. The most impactful features require changes to multiple channels and enterprise technology systems.

“Getting the job done right is about focusing as much on how we work together, as what we are working on,” says Natalie Field, Head of MyPost Consumer. “We know there are many unknowns in achieving our program strategy and we don’t, and won’t, always get it right. However we also know that by respecting each other, and staying committed to rapid learning cycles, we will always come up with great solutions. “

The train has achieved strong outcomes over the past couple of years. Australia Post attributes the success of the train to several pillars:

Create a customer-centric culture
Building a customer-centric culture meant creating an environment that empowers the entire team to make fact-based, data-driven decisions and equipping everyone to be advocates for the customer experience.

Focus on metrics to drive business outcomes
A strong focus on measurement has resulted in significant positive impact across the organization’s primary success measures. To help achieve this outcome, teams are equipped with technology tools and the ability to collect and report on data. This empowers teams to learn fast about in-market feature performance and make changes when necessary. The result is a data-driven approach to how the train identifies, prioritises, implements, and learns from each Program Increment.

Improve continuously for greater predictability and performance
Success of the train hinges on an ability to improve continuously and focus relentlessly on evolving the experience to meet customer needs. The train adapts and responds to market demands, continually improving technology capabilities to advance the business across its digital channel, retail stores, delivery network, and call centre.

Raising Satisfaction and Throughput, with Lower Cost

A strong focus on measurement and learning to maximize business outcomes resulted in significant positive impact:

Australia Post - Implementing SAFe in Delivery Services
  • Improved first-time delivery – The First-Time Delivery rate jumped by 7 percentage points over 12 months.
  • Reduced cost – Australia Post reduced its infrastructure costs by 98%.
  • Predictability – The train consistently delivered on 80% or more of its objectives.
  • Customer satisfaction – The Net Promoter Score rose by 8 points over the course of one year.
  • Employee engagement – Employee satisfaction and engagement increased.
  • Industry accolades – The train was voted the Best Customer Centric Project in Australia / New Zealand by the CX Management Conference.

Australia Post continues to evolve and grow to meet the needs of its business. Its focus on continuous improvement means the organization ever challenges itself to create the next wave of trusted services for its customers.

“SAFe has really helped bring the organization along its transformation journey,” Field says. “Its real value has been in the way it links strategy with decentralized execution, using metrics to enable a high level of transparency and fact-based decision making to focus on achieving business outcomes.”

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study:

Dutch Tax and Customs Administration

Thales – Bringing Agility Across the Enterprise with SAFe

Thales - Bringing Agility Across the Enterprise with SAFe

“The great thing about SAFe is that we have a structure in place to deliver better quality more rapidly. We can easily share with our customers and OEMs how Lean-Agile is a part of what we do.”

– Celie Navatel, VP Quality and Customer Satisfaction at Thales InFlyt Experience

Challenge:

Reduce cycle time, control costs, and improve quality in a highly regulated environment.

Industry:

Information Technology, Aviation

Solution:

SAFe®

Results:

  • The company is two times faster in introducing releases.
  • The ability to spot bugs sooner raises quality and enables more frequent releases.
  • Employees report higher engagement and satisfaction.

Best Practices:

  • Invest in training – From gaining support for SAFe to the first PI and ongoing, Thales InFlyt Experience has invested heavily in training people at all levels—contributing to buy-in and a smooth transition
  • Engage change agents – Thales trained seven change agents to influence the rest of the organization

Introduction

With 64,000 employees and over 25,000 engineers and researchers in 56 countries, Thales has a global presence no other provider can match. For inflight entertainment solutions and digital services, the leading airlines in the world have come to rely on the company’s Thales InFlyt Experience division to enhance the travel journey and create engaging and personalized experiences for their passengers.

From the comfort of your airline seat, the Thales Inflight Entertainment System allows you to watch shows, play games, browse the dining menu, or find your current location on a global map. You can also connect to in-flight Wi-Fi on your own device. The Thales system is guaranteed to work at highest quality, all the time.

Such in-flight entertainment and connectivity has become an essential and expected benefit on commercial airlines. Every year, more than 300,000,000 passengers across 75 partner airlines rely on Thales InFlyt Experience solutions.

At Thales, success depends on innovation, competitiveness, and teamwork to meet and exceed customer expectations. The company designs and develops highly complex integrated hardware and software solutions, within a regulated environment across all regions where Thales customers operate, which adds to the challenge of frequent deliveries.

Bringing Agility Across the Enterprise with SAFe

In the past, individual teams at Thales began experimenting with Lean-Agile approaches. However, their efforts remained limited to software teams, and they continued to release in large batches. Something had to change.

“We needed a framework to meet our goals of providing exceptional customer satisfaction with reduced cycle time, lower costs, and better quality,” says Ted Tomoyasu, Director of SAFe Transformation at Thales InFlyt Experience.

SAFe: A Clear Vision for Implementing Agile

Leo Alonso, Thales VP of Engineering, had used the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) successfully at a former company. To explore the option for Thales, the company sent seven people to Implementing SAFe® training with Portofino Solutions, a Scaled Agile Gold Partner. All received certification as SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs). With that knowledge, the group returned ready to explain the approach to executives and gain buy-in.

“Sending a cross-functional team to SAFe training was one of the big success factors and a major step in gaining executive sponsorship,” Alonso says. “They returned with a clear vision for how to implement SAFe, which supported the decision of our senior executives to move forward.”

That core of seven team members became what Thales calls the Lean-Agile Transformation Team (LATTe), which was designed to provide the vision, guidance, and support to take the organization forward with SAFe.

From there, the company identified one large value stream to begin with and moved forward with training. This initial training brought together architects, project managers, and functional managers related to the value stream along with people from additional shared services such as HR, Finance, and leadership.

“Thales took training very seriously,” says Armond Mehrabian, President of Portofino Solutions. “When we talk to other companies about SAFe, they ask if they can just send one person. But if you want to be successful, you need a critical mass of trained people to bring about change.”

In August 2015, Thales conducted a Quickstart SAFe implementation that involved two days of training in SAFe for Teams, two days of Program Increment (PI) planning, and two days of SAFe Scrum Master training. In total, about 150 people joined the first PI.

PI Planning events allowed for the diverse working groups to come together quickly and collaborate face-to-face in real time. “We were able to see how all the layers of technology fit together to deliver this complex system,” says Robert Magnusson, Continuous Improvement Project Manager at Thales.

The adoption of business agility across the enterprise faced some resistance from those in traditional project manager roles. Thales kept them as the primary interface to customers and gained their buy-in by showing that they could respond more rapidly to customer requests.

SAFe in a Regulated Environment

Bringing Agility Across the Enterprise with SAFe

Thales must comply with diverse regulations in all the regions and countries where its customers operate, as well as with the requirements from aircraft manufacturers. In addition to these requirements, there are customizable features that are unique to each airline. Thales designs its systems by focusing first on fixed solution intent (aircraft manufacturer requirements) and tackles variable factors (airline requirements) later.


Through SAFe, Thales InFlyt shared its Lean-Agile path with the world’s leading aircraft OEMs as well as government regulatory agencies such as the Federal Aviation Association and other agencies around the world.

“The great thing about SAFe is that we have a structure in place to deliver better quality more rapidly,” says Celie Navatel, VP Quality and Customer Satisfaction at Thales InFlyt Experience. “We can easily share with our customers and OEMs how Lean-Agile is a part of what we do.”

Delivering More Often, with Higher Quality

Today, Thales InFlyt Experience has been using SAFe for two years, and now runs several Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and one value stream. The company has trained over 800 people and deployed across all departments and functions.

Through the SAFe agility transformation, Thales InFlyt Experience has successfully reduced software release cycle time by more than 30 percent, lowered cost per size point by 25 percent, improved quality with a 20 percent reduction in solution rework, and enhanced collaboration and transparency.

DevOps also proved critical for Thales, since it cannot test its systems on actual flights. Instead, the company relies on state-of-the-art tools to simulate how in-flight systems will perform. In line with SAFe, the company matched development and production environments, which is vital for successful deliveries.

Transformation leaders credit SAFe with helping to strengthen Lean-Agile practices throughout the organization.

“Thales’ framework changed from waterfall to streams of agility,” says Ted Tomoyasu, Director of Program Management. “SAFe has been instrumental in bringing agility across the enterprise”.

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study:

Air France- KLM

Fitbit – Benefits of Using SAFe in Consumer Technology

Fitbit Benefits of SAFe in Consumer Technology

“SAFe has been a successful story for us. It allowed us to grow our team in a seamless way that integrated cross-functional groups and aligned with the company’s long-term strategy. Fitbit has grown significantly since we adopted SAFe, and we were able to scale the process and still deliver high achievement every PI. My VP calls it the scaffolding that has helped moved our team forward.”

Damian Brown, Sr. Director of Program Management Office, Fitbit

Challenge:

With major consumer holidays as deadlines, target dates are immovable. Early Scrum efforts could not keep pace with company growth.

Industry:

Consumer Products, Information Technology

Results:

  • Fitbit achieved a long-term look-ahead on its product roadmap and a short-term look-ahead on team tasks
  • Teams now achieve five business goals per PI, compared to three previously
  • Velocity increased 33 percent year over year
  • Fitbit launched a record number of products last year

Best Practices:

  • Don’t miss retrospectives – After every PI planning event, Fitbit listens to feedback on what went well and what needs improvement—and integrates those changes for the next PI.
  • Establish long-lived teams – Long-lived teams provide more stability and predictability.
  • Collect metrics along the way – Collect as many metrics as possible, which could back up decision-making. These could include velocity, overall objectives completion rate and reasons for scope changes during execution.
  • Always plan for the next PI – Cadence is important to align multiple groups in the PI in preparation for the next PI planning event. Start early and make sure every participant is aware of the timeline, so all stakeholders are well-informed and prepared for PI planning.

Introduction

In 2016, consumer technology company, Fitbit, released four new products to the market that were positively received by consumers, and shipped over 22 million devices.

Delivering its highest number of products in a year is due in part to the company’s commitment to, and success in adopting SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework®) as a way to scale the team to meet target dates.

Challenge: Delivering for Consumer Shopping Seasons

Benefits of SAFe in Consumer Technology

Since 2007, Fitbit has helped millions of people around the world lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration, and guidance to reach their goals.

At Fitbit, major consumer holidays drive the product delivery schedule, including the year-end holiday season, Valentine’s Day, graduation, and Mother’s and Father’s Days. For that reason, target dates are inflexible when it comes to developing firmware and software for every product for each major platform (iOS, Android, and Windows).

In working toward targets, Fitbit engineering managers, tech leads, and Scrum masters have collaborated closely in recent years, sprint to sprint. But as the company and user base grew, Fitbit had to expand and evolve this process to meeting company and consumer needs.

“With our growing team and global presence, we knew our Scrum efforts were not going to scale,” says Damian Brown, Sr. Director of Program Management Office, Fitbit. “The question was, ‘How do we keep the organic culture people like about Fitbit while addressing the needs of the business and our global community of users?’”

Always Planning, Always Delivering

At a previous company, Brown and colleague, Brian Hsieh, had been part of a successful Agile effort by deploying SAFe. When they arrived at Fitbit, they saw an opportunity to deploy SAFe once again.

“We had done research on the different models for scaling Scrum,” Brown says. “Brian and I had been to Leading SAFe training, and once you see that big picture, your eyes start lighting up. It’s a powerful story how the Program layer aligns with Scrum teams. We knew that SAFe was something that would work for us at Fitbit.”

But first, they had to gain executive buy-in. “I think the story we told of always planning, always delivering, was very powerful for leadership,” Brown says

A Big Picture—for the First Time

With leadership on board, in fall 2015 the company started with 12 Scrum teams at its first Program Increment (PI) planning event in San Francisco. They created a highly interactive experience with physical boards and red ribbon for a visual of team dependencies within the PI. In that first meeting, teams were energized and excited about their PI objectives.

Benefits of SAFe in Consumer Technology

“Teams reported that they could see the whole picture across company-wide initiatives and understood where they could contribute,” says Hsieh, Manager of Program Management Office.

But as early as the first PI retrospective, the company realized it had not included all the teams that would benefit from this process. Thus in the next PI, Fitbit added other teams, including firmware engineering groups.

With each PI—now up to ten—Fitbit folded in more teams and more functional groups, including some not typically part of an Agile transformation. Today, members of Firmware, Software, Design, Research, Marketing, Customer Support, Data Analytics and Infrastructure Engineering all participate in PIs. Fitbit trained all those who were leading PI events, with events extended to its other office locations, including Boston, San Diego, and Minsk, Belarus.

100% Delivery on Objectives

In adopting SAFe, Fitbit aimed to evolve its process for scaling development teams in many ways:

  • Create a fast and flexible flow across the entire Fitbit ecosystem
  • Create a system of teams across the ecosystem that work together to deliver quickly
  • Scale up to adopt team growth
  • Improve visibility with the objective of a two-month look-ahead on what each team will be working on
  • Create mechanisms for teams and stakeholders to identify cross-team dependencies and add items to other teams’ backlogs as needed
  • Align key business dates across all of the programs, including security, data center moves, compliance, and marketing programs

With the help of SAFe, Fitbit successfully achieved process evolution.

As for visibility, Fitbit achieved a long-term look-ahead on its product roadmap and a short-term execution plan at areas of work for the teams, supporting planning and decision-making for leadership. It’s a roadmap process that Brown and Hsieh credit SAFe with providing.

Velocity likewise increased; teams now achieve five objectives per PI, on average, “With the metrics that SAFe provides, combined with what we regularly report on, we can tell our CTO that velocity has increased 33 percent over the past year,” Brown says.

With higher cadence and velocity, Fitbit can more readily respond to market needs. For example, when the company noticed an opportunity to add a specific capability to its products, it brought the new feature to market in a very short time with no major bugs in internal and external testing.

Benefits of SAFe in Consumer Technology

In 2016, with an aggressive plan for launching four new products, Brown and Hsieh credit the SAFe approach with enabling teams to complete goals and objectives two to three PIs ahead of schedule.

Additionally, the integrated, measured approach contributes to the quality of the user experience. In particular, Brown points to that critical time between Black Friday and New Year’s Day when many new Fitbit owners activate products and visit the Fitbit app and website for the first time to create accounts and sync their new devices. In 2016, the company experienced no major impact to the site during that timeframe.

Just as critical, team engagement has gone up since deploying SAFe. As a result, teams now regularly hit their top objectives. “Having PIs and objectives really rallies us around something positive several times a year,” Brown says.

Now, as the company plans for next year, it’s working toward funding value streams rather than projects—a goal that SAFe 4.0 supports with its Value Stream level.

“SAFe has been a successful story for us. It allowed us to grow our team in a seamless way that integrated cross-functional groups and aligned with the company’s long-term strategy,” Brown adds. “Fitbit has grown significantly since we adopted SAFe, and we were able to scale the process and still deliver high achievement every PI. My VP calls it the scaffolding that has helped moved our team forward.”

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study: Kantar Retail