SAFe® Day Government

SAFe® Day Government

Advancing the Government’s Mission with SAFe

When:

April 21, 2022, 8:00 am – April 21, 2022, 3:15 pm EST

Where:

Online

Who:

Agile Coach, Government Agilists, Product Manager, Program or Project Manager

Event Overview

Get ready for a knowledge-packed day featuring customer stories and informative speaker sessions—all tailored to a government audience.  

  • Connect with SAFe coaches, thought leaders, and change agents
  • Get advice from subject matter experts on setting up a SAFe transformation
  • Network, ask questions and share best practices with your peers
  • Discover firsthand how public and private sector organizations use SAFe to deliver value to customers

Speakers

Dean Leffingwell

Creator of SAFe, Chief Methodologist (Scaled Agile)

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices, Dean Leffingwell is an entrepreneur and software development methodologist best known for creating SAFe®, the world’s most widely used framework for business agility.

Harry Koehnemann Headshot

Harry Koehneman

SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant (Scaled Agile)

Harry Koehnemann is a SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant at Scaled Agile where he helps organizations build and deliver solutions faster, more predictably, and with high quality. He has decades of experience with product development lifecycle practices including Lean, agile, MBSE, requirements management, quality management, and the related activities necessary to support compliance. Harry is a regular presenter on Lean-Agile topics and engineering practices at agile, engineering, and government conferences.

Dr. Steve Mayner Headshot

Dr. Steve Mayner

SAFe fellow (Scaled Agile)

Dr. Steve Mayner is an executive coach and Lean-Agile evangelist with a passion for cultivating transformational leaders and high performing teams. His 33+ year career in business includes roles as vice president in multiple Fortune 500 companies, as well as chief technology officer for a Health IT startup company. He also retired in 2003 as a commissioned officer in the reserve component of the U.S. Air Force with just under 21 years of service. In his current role as a SAFe® Fellow for Scaled Agile, Inc., Steve contributes to the ongoing development of the framework and courseware with specializations in government, leadership, learning culture, and organizational change. In addition to the SAFe Summits, he has been a regular presenter at the DevOps Enterprise Summit, PMI, and various government and industry conferences.

Kimberly Wade

LACE Team Member (Naval Air Systems Command)

Ms. Wade is a member of the Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE) for the F/A-18 & EA-18G Integrated Product Team (IPT) at Naval Air Weapons Station – China Lake. As a lean-agile change agent within the IPT, Ms. Wade has had the opportunity to coach a diverse workforce of engineering, software development and business operations teams as they implement changes using success patterns from both industry and Government programs.

Angela Ackerly

Supervisory Financial Specialist (United States Department of Agriculture)

Angie is a supervisory financial specialist in one of USDA’s financial management organizations. Angie puts a high priority on delivering sound processes through automated financial applications, with a keen interest in supporting the front-line USDA employees who directly serve the nation’s farmers and ranchers in delivering the USDA FPAC mission. She is challenging herself and her team to adopt agility in software development. She is also researching how agile concepts can be introduced in other activities managed by her team. She lives outside of Kansas City, MO with her husband and three miniature dachshunds. She is also a crazy Kansas City Chief’s fan, enjoys traveling and hasn’t given up on learning to play the drums!

Helen Scott Headshot

Helen Scott

Product Owner (United States Department of Agriculture)

Helen is a Product Owner for the USDA whose business focus is accounting. Being a new Product Owner on an existing Agile Release Train, she enjoys learning a new way of working. She’s impressed with how well the SAFe works and how committed everyone is to Business Agility! Helen is driven to learn more about Product Ownership and share her experiences to help kickstart the journey of new Product Owners.

Jennifer Roberts

Agile Product Owner (United States Department of Agriculture)

Jennifer is an Agile Product Owner with an Accounting background. She brings a positive attitude and commitment to her team. Her team’s product is Funds Management.

Michael Kester

Lean-Agile Product Owner (United States Department of Agriculture)

Michael is a Lean-Agile Product owner, Systems Accountant and a Lean-Agile convert.  Michael has worked as a product owner under waterfall and Lean- Agile. Michael is responsible for multiple systems which combine to deliver payments to America’s farmers and has 10 years government accounting experience. His passion is accounting, databases, creating awesome Excel formulas and delivering programs which help farmers feed America. Michael enjoys golfing, country music, speaking in public and spending time with his wife and six kids which range from 13 years old to 1 year old.

Ron MacKenzie

Agile Coach/SAFe Program Consultant (United States Department of Agriculture)

Ty Deschamp

Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator for Infrastructure (Acting) (NA-52) (National Nuclear Security Administration)

Ty Deschamp is the Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator for Infrastructure at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). His office is responsible for the modernization, operations, and maintenance of NNSA’s $116.3 billion physical infrastructure and more than 5,000 property assets. Ty has over 15 years of broad experience across NNSA and the Department of Energy (DOE) in the areas of nuclear infrastructure and safety, nuclear nonproliferation, national security, and environmental management.

From Value Stream Identification to Value Stream Mapping: Maximizing Value Flow With SAFe®

Events > Webinars > From Value Stream Identification to Value Stream Mapping: Maximizing Value Flow With SAFe®

From Value Stream Identification to Value Stream Mapping: Maximizing Value Flow With SAFe®

This webinar will introduce the new SAFe Value Stream Mapping Workshop and explain the crucial differences between value stream mapping and value stream identification.

When:

December 16, 2021, 12:00 pm – December 16, 2021, 1:00 pm

Where:

Zoom

Who:

Agile Coach, Consultant, Product Manager, Release Train Engineer

Event Overview

Understanding and continuously optimizing value streams is a critical activity in every Lean Enterprise. (After all, value streams contain all the activities, people, systems, and flow of information and materials necessary to deliver value to customers.) For years, SAFe has provided guidance on how to identify value streams and organize around them. Recently, we added guidance for how to map value streams for optimum efficiency. This webinar will introduce the new SAFe Value Stream Mapping Workshop and explain the crucial differences between value stream mapping and value stream identification.

Speaker

Marc Rix

SAFe Fellow & Principal Consultant at Scaled Agile

Teaching LPM – Experience the Updated Getting Started Workshop

Events > Webinars > Teaching LPM – Experience the Updated Getting Started Workshop

Teaching LPM – Experience the Updated Getting Started Workshop

Experience the new LPM Getting Started Workshop material and activities in this interactive webinar. We are offering this session so you can confidently facilitate Day three of LPM, the Getting Started Workshop, which is designed to prepare change agents for LPM implementation.

When:

December 8, 2021, 9:00 am – December 8, 2021, 9:00 am MST

Where:

Zoom

Who:

Agile Coach, Consultant, Product Manager, Program Manager

2021 Global SAFe® Summit Online

Events > Summits > 2021 Global SAFe® Summit Online

2021 Global SAFe® Summit Online

Join us online, from wherever you are in the world

When:

September 27 – September 30

Where:

Virtual

Who:

All

Overview

Join us online, from wherever you are in the world, for the 2021 SAFe® Summit. Get the knowledge and tools you need to improve your SAFe practices, do the highest-value work, build organizational resilience, and create sustainable change. Connect with other SAFe practitioners, hear tips and advice from pros in the field, and bring your team to learn new ways of working together in your own organization.

Shared Objectives and Collaborative Sense Making: Key to Success

product owners (POs) and product managers (PMs)

Welcome to the third post in our series about best practices to create a healthy relationship between product owners (POs) and product managers (PMs) that drives product success. You can check out the previous post here.

In this post, we’ll dive into examples of how you might find yourself in the feature In this post, we’ll dive into examples of how you might find yourself in the feature factory described in our first post. Plus, we’ll offer some thoughts about how to get back to strong PO/PM relationships and focus on delivering value.

Scenario One: Who are you talking to?

Picture this: You’re a PM at a company that’s designing a new app. In the spirit of customer centricity, you’re actively getting feedback. You’re regularly talking to a couple of hyper-engaged customers from Company X. It’s a large company and you’ve got a strong relationship with one of their internal champions who’s easy to get in touch with. During one of these customer feedback sessions, a developer on your team joins the call, too. Afterwards, while you’re confident things are headed in the right direction, your developer wonders out loud why the customer thinks to feature A is great if she really hasn’t used it yet.

Contacting the same customer for feedback on every new thing your company is working on isn’t the best approach. Why? If you’re not careful, you might end up thinking about her as representative of all the rest of your customers with the same job title. That’s likely not the case, so you should also be talking to customers at different companies with different needs for whatever it is you’re building. Another thing to think about: if it’s just you talking to the same customer all the time, you’ll often believe that your organization is always building the right thing. Inviting other people in your organization to collaborate with you on those customer calls might uncover a different perspective, as your developer did in the previous scenario. Having those two or three perspectives in the room is greater as a whole than as individual viewpoints.

Scenario Two: What are you measuring?

product owners (POs) and product managers (PMs)

Picture this: Your organization developed a page on a website and is seeing 20 percent user adoption on that page. As the PM, you think that’s successful because you’re hitting a key performance indicator (KPI) revealing that 20 percent of people logging in are using the page. But your PO feels that’s not necessarily true because the metric represents the same handful of people logging in, not 20 percent of overall users, which is how they interpreted the KPI of “20-percent adoption.” To address the data conflict, you and the PO look at the feature to see what the details of the KPI were. Turns out there aren’t any details, nor is there any mention of baseline metrics. So, neither of you know if the page was successful or not, or if you should pivot or persevere, or what to compare the data to. And the team’s efforts turned into a feature factory because the goals were really about getting the features out the door instead of the goals themselves.

It seems really apparent that PMs and POs need to agree on what measurements translate to a successful outcome, and how they’ll be tracked and interpreted. But we often skip over that part, just assuming all that will be obvious when the time comes. But actually, that assumption often leads to data conflicts. Aligning on metrics is hard work. You may not even know exactly how to measure success yet and you might have to slow down before you speed up, but agreement is critical to avoid future data conflicts.

Get smart 

The same applies to determining the goal of the work and the value to the customer using SMART objectives. Many of us are familiar with these. But really, how often do you and the team take the time to get alignment and a clear, shared understanding of all the details of your objective? Is it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART)? Or is it just specific but not measurable?

And remember, it’s ok to fail, as long as you’re learning and applying what you learn to improve. The learning part is only possible in a culture that allows for failure, for example, where you’re not hitting the metrics. It’s a culture where people don’t feel the need to mess with the data or avoid committing to a measure from the beginning. It’s part of the innovation process to fail. If the culture doesn’t allow for that, then you’ll get a culture of people that skip that step on purpose to make it look like they’re successful..

The trap of the feature factory is easy to fall into. I hope now that you have a clear path to: 

  • Improve how you collect and perceive customer feedback
  • Write clearer KPIs with baseline metrics
  • Clearly define and align on SMART goals across teams

Armed with this information, you can better recognize the trap, and use your PO/PM relationship to stay out of it. 

Check back soon for another post in our PO/PM success series.

About Lieschen Gargano Quilling

Lieschen Gargano is an Agile coach

Lieschen Gargano is an Agile coach and conflict guru—thanks in part to her master’s degree in conflict resolution. As the scrum master for the marketing team at Scaled Agile, Lieschen loves cultivating new ideas and approaches to Agile to keep things fresh and exciting. She also has a passion for developing best practices for happy teams to deliver value in both development and non-technical environments. Fun fact? “I’m the only person I know of who’s been a scrum master and a scrum half on a rugby team.”

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POs and PMs: A Dynamic Duo

Welcome to the second post in our series about best practices to create a healthy relationship between product owners and product managers that drives product success. You can read the first post here.

I’ve heard lots of metaphors used to describe the relationship between a product owner (PO) and a product manager (PM). One of my favorites is oil and vinegar—separately, they’re just liquid on a salad, but mix them together and you’ve got a great dressing.

POs and PMs - A Dynamic Duo

A PO and a PM working together creates a positive tension that leads to a great relationship—despite different opinions—that’s in others’ best interests. But combining the PO and PM into one role is a recipe for disaster. 

I know because I experienced the trouble firsthand.

Think about the core responsibilities for both roles:

  • Be the voice of the customer
  • Analyze data
  • Manage backlogs
  • Make customers happy
  • Organize cross-team syncs
  • Create roadmaps
  • Support planning
  • Seek out competitive intelligence
  • Aid support escalations
  • Help sales activities

One person simply can’t do all these activities in a typical work week. When I’ve been in this situation, I found that the urgent, tactical things come first as people clamor for responses, feedback, and direction on their daily work—ultimately causing important strategies to suffer. Some days, I’d already made two to three stressful decisions before morning tea and was expected to make more at strategic levels. I quickly experienced decision fatigue. When your company and solution are small, you might be able to do it all, but it doesn’t scale.

There’s a strong stereotype that PMs need to be mini CEOs and be just as stressed out. That’s not sustainable as a product person. When a PM is also doing the work of a PO, expecting them to do strategy and manage the team backlog throughout the PI isn’t realistic. You miss the strategic work, you miss pivot-or-persevere opportunities. I’d often ask myself, “Am I really looking at the big picture or just surviving?” 

The power of an Agile team is that it’s a high-functioning group that collaborates. And when the PO and PM roles are performed by two different people, they can work together to support those teams, and ultimately, the organization. When I was a PO working with a PM to deliver a new onboarding experience for our product, we stayed in sync. I focused on what our technology allowed and what the team could implement. She focused on market impact and educating our sales team. We had healthy, productive conversations with positive conflict about what should happen next, and split the duties of attending meetings. All while continuing our business-as-usual activities and still finding time to recharge for the next day.

POs and PMs - A Dynamic Duo

If you’re a leader, avoid having one person take on both roles. If you’re doing both of these jobs, don’t. Perhaps there’s someone in your organization who can help you by serving informally in the other role. Finding the balance that I just described is key to your and your product’s success. POs and PMs don’t have to be in the same places but they need to connect, be aligned, and maintain that positive tension. It’s why we teach these roles together in our SAFe POPM class—you need to know how to best collaborate with your peer PO or PM to excel.

If you’re free on August 26 at 6:00 PM MDT, join Lieschen and I at an online Agile Boulder meetup where we’ll talk about this very topic.

Check back soon for the next post in our series about shared objectives and collaborative ‘sense making.’

About William Kammersell

William Kammersell

William Kammersell is a Product Manager and SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) at Scaled Agile. With over a decade in Agile software development, he loves researching customer problems to deliver valuable solutions and sharing his passion for product development with others. William’s journey as a developer, scrum master, Agile coach, product owner, and product manager has led him through a variety of B2B and B2C industries such as foreign language learning, email marketing, and government contracting.

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Product Owners, Product Managers, and the Feature Factory

Product Owners and Product Managers

Both product owners (POs) and product managers (PMs) have “product” in their titles. Both roles connect people to the customer to ensure we’re building the right thing. Both roles rely on data to inform decisions and spot trends by correlating that data to everything that’s going on across the organization. Both roles manage backlogs. And both roles make customers happy. So, what’s the difference between a PO and a PM?

Product managers concentrate on the program backlog and features, look one to three program increments ahead, and focus on product viability. They collaborate with business owners and those at the solution and strategic levels within SAFe®

Product owners concentrate on the team backlog and stories, look one to three months ahead, collaborate with the team, and focus on product feasibility.

Seems straightforward enough, but we’ve heard feedback from people in the field that the PO-PM structure within SAFe isn’t so great.

“I’ve trained dozens of teams who are using SAFe and I have never seen this work well. The Product Owners are disconnected from their users and incapable of creating effective solutions for them that really solve their problems, because they do not understand the problems well. The Product Managers are essentially ‘waterfalling’ down the requirements to them and the teams are not allowed to prove if these are the right things to build or not. No one is doing validation work.” 

—Melissa Perri, Product Manager vs. Product Owner

The feature factory

What’s described above is something many call “the feature factory.” Organizations quickly fall into the feature-factory trap when POs stop talking to external customers, going with the word of the PM instead and losing sight of the user’s needs. It also happens when PMs become disconnected from the teams, choosing to write requirements that are handed off to POs instead of aligning with teams and POs on objectives about how to best achieve them. By not connecting with the team, over time, PMs start making all the decisions on their own and there’s no room for teams to provide ideas to their own backlogs—essentially ‘waterfalling’ their PIs as described above and creating a culture of meeting acceptance criteria instead of focusing on objectives. 

We often also see feature factories when PMs and POs never say “no” to requests from customers or business owners. Catering to the desires of a few large clients or to executives’ individual objectives can cause PMs and POs to drop validation work and strategy in response to those requests. Without validation work, there aren’t any clear pivot-or-persevere moments for checking in to see if we’re understanding the problem correctly or even solving their problems. Instead, we’re practicing waterfall and calling it SAFe.

In this blog series, William Kammersell, our curriculum product manager, and I will share practices to help you avoid the feature factory and create a healthy PO-PM relationship that drives product success.

Read the next post in the series here.

About Lieschen Gargano Quilling

Lieschen Gargano is an Agile Coach

Lieschen Gargano is an Agile coach and conflict guru—thanks in part to her master’s degree in conflict resolution. As the scrum master for the marketing team at Scaled Agile, Lieschen loves cultivating new ideas and approaches to Agile to keep things fresh and exciting. She also has a passion for developing best practices for happy teams to deliver value in both development and non-technical environments. Fun fact? “I’m the only person I know of who’s been a scrum master and a scrum half on a rugby team.”

View all posts by Lieschen Gargano Quilling

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Agile Product Management

Using Design Thinking to Create Value Products in the Lean Enterprise

In SAFe®, product managers play a key role in the trio of leaders that includes architects and the Release Train Engineer. All of these people work together to lead the Agile Release Trains (ARTs) in continuously delivering value.

In the Agile Product Management course, you’ll explore how to use design thinking to put your customers at the center and create products that are desirable, feasible, and sustainable. You’ll discover how continuous exploration fuels innovation. You’ll get the guidance and tools you need to work effectively in remote environments with distributed teams. And you’ll explore how to define a vision, strategy, and roadmap to satisfy existing customers and attract new ones.

Agile Product Management answers the questions:

  • How can I use design thinking to achieve customer centricity?
  • How do I prepare a product strategy, vision, and roadmap for my ART?
  • What are the right mindsets, skills, and tools to create successful products?

What’s included:

  • Course materials
  • Remote learning via SAFe® Virtual Classrooms
  • Access to SAFe® Collaborate, a visual online workspace
  • One-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform
  • Access to content, tools, and resources you need to practice SAFe every day
  • SAFe Agile Product Manager certification exam

Agile Product Management Attendees learn:

  • How to create innovation in the value stream.
  • How to use design thinking to achieve desirable, feasible, and sustainable products.
  • How to use product strategy to set clarity and direction for the ART.
  • How to develop and evolve short-term roadmaps that result in long-term value.

Adapted for interactive remote learning with SAFe® Virtual Classrooms

Agile Product Management

What people say about Agile Product Management

“Course well organized and presented very well … group activities were good.”

What people say about Agile Product Management

“Course was well organized and explored various examples out of the standard study material. Study material is helpful to understand the integrities.”

Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)

Aligning Strategy with Execution using the Scaled Agile Framework

Aligning strategy with execution is critical to any organization’s success and a key aspect of Scaled Agile Framework®. With a Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) approach, you can collaborate across silos, empower teams, and organize around value to adapt to what customers want, faster.

The Lean Portfolio Management course helps executives, project management officers (PMOs) and other key stakeholders plan dynamically and be flexible enough to adjust initiatives and budgets as the market changes. The LPM course provides the guidance and tools attendees need to work effectively in remote environments with distributed teams. You’ll learn how to connect portfolio strategy and initiatives to the planning and execution of work, how to integrate feedback from participatory budgeting, and how to adapt to change while maintaining your funding vision and roadmap.

Lean Portfolio Management answers the questions:

  • How do I connect strategy to execution?
  • How do I manage flow and solve perpetual overload?
  • How can I fund and govern dynamically?
  • How does Lean Portfolio Management fit into SAFe?

What’s included:

  • Course materials
  • Remote learning via SAFe® Virtual Classrooms
  • Access to SAFe® Collaborate, a visual online workspace
  • One-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform
  • Lean Portfolio Manager certification exam
  • Access to the optional Getting Started with LPM Workshop

Attendees learn:

  • How to connect the portfolio to the enterprise.
  • How to maintain portfolio vision and roadmap.
  • How to establish Lean budgets and guardrails.
  • How to create portfolio flow.

Adapted for interactive remote learning with SAFe® Virtual Classrooms

Lean Portfolio Management

What people say about Lean Portfolio Management

“A vastly different viewpoint to the rest of the SAFe content … LPM focuses on the mostly invisible funding and governance. Not many other Agile frameworks address this vital component.”

What people say about Lean Portfolio Management

“Enjoyed LPM considerably.”

What people say about Lean Portfolio Management

“This course is very appropriate for my job and will guide me to make better decisions.”

Implementing SAFe®

Achieving Business Agility with the Scaled Agile Framework

Ready to lead a Lean-Agile transformation? Need a deeper understanding of the Scaled Agile Framework? Looking to teach SAFe courses yourself?

Implementing SAFe® offers attendees the broadest level of insight into each layer of a SAFe implementation. This course is for you who wants to be a leader in a Lean-Agile transformation. You’ll get the guidance and tools you need to lead effectively in remote environments with distributed teams. The Implementing Scaled Agile Framework® course will help you understand the roles of each person in SAFe, and then plan and guide a SAFe transformation. You’ll learn how to identify value streams, launch agile release trains, and build a Lean-Agile portfolio. You’ll also practice the principles of Agile product management and product delivery. If you’re looking for a comprehensive and practical understanding of how to help an organization achieve business agility effectively, Implementing Scaled Agile Framework® is the right course for you.

Implementing SAFe® answers the questions:

  • How do I plan and coach a SAFe transformation?
  • How can you demonstrate your expertise in and promote business agility?
  • How do you build successful solutions using Agile product management principles and skills?

What’s included:

  • Course materials
  • Remote learning via SAFe® Virtual Classrooms
  • Access to SAFe® Collaborate, a visual online workspace
  • One-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform
  • SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) Certification Exam

Implementing SAFe® Attendees learn:

  • How to coach a SAFe transformation.
  • How to launch Agile Release Trains.
  • How to identify Value Streams.
  • How to build solutions with Agile Product Delivery.
  • How to empower a Lean portfolio.
  • How to understand each role within a SAFe implementation.

Adapted for interactive remote learning with SAFe® Virtual Classrooms

Implementing SAFe®

What people say about Implementing SAFe

“It was a very qualitative, successful training! I had some fears upfront about the ‘online’ formula but that didn’t bother me after all!”

What people say about Implementing SAFe

“Terrific and challenging course that provides all the theoretical and practical knowledge required to build mastery in this domain. Delighted to join the club of SPCs.”

What people say about Implementing SAFe

“Enjoyed the course and the learning journey! Refreshed a lot of knowledge on agile development and added a lot of knowledge of its scaling potential. I am eager to apply my knowledge!”

What people say about Implementing SAFe

“I loved this class. Highly recommended to progress in your journey.”