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.
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
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.