U.S. Airforce / Northrop Grumman – Lean-Agile Mindset

Lean-Agile Mindset & DevSecOps in a Multi-billion Dollar Defense System

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How do you achieve unprecedented communication between contractor, government, and stakeholders in a large acquisition?

Northrop Grumman and US Air Force agile transformation leads describe how they have worked together to leverage SAFe and DevSecOps to scale Agile practices to refine requirements, enable customer and stakeholder collaboration, and facilitate technical planning for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) modernization program. The development occurs under a multi-billion dollar contract involving hundreds of companies and over 10,000 people across the US.

GBSD’s 50-year mission is vital to our nation’s security and adoption of a Lean-Agile mindset is essential to meeting GBSD’s schedule and capability requirements.

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

  • David Gellen, Agile Transformation Lead for GBSD /Northrop Grumman
  • Micheal Burkhart, Lead for Agile Transformation of the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program /U.S. Air Force

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NTT DATA

Customer Story – NTT DATA: Japanese Payment Services Leader Transforms Organizational Culture and Improves Business Agility with SAFe

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NTNTT DATA brings the first Japanese customer story to the SAFe Summit audience. Headquartered in Tokyo and operating in more than 50 countries as a top 10 global IT services provider, NTT Data turned to SAFe to improve its ability to respond to market demands and stay ahead of a growing number of competitors. In his presentation, Product Manager Takenori Osada describes the difficulty of introducing Agile in Japan, how their culture transformed, and how they applied SAFe in their Payments Services Division and were able to see significant improvements in employee Net Promoter Scores, time-to-market, productivity, and quality.

SAFe is essential for us to be able to compete in the payment market. This resulted in an investment cost advantage.” —Director (Business owner)

Presented at the Global SAFe Summit, October, 2020.

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pôle emploi – Benefits of Using SAFe in Employment Agency

pôle emploi - Benefits of Using SAFe in Employment Agency

Pôle emploi is the French national employment agency tasked with providing and processing benefits for the unemployed and seniors, helping the unemployed find jobs, and providing employers with recruitment resources. They employ over 54,000 civil servants through 900+ agencies, and publish more than 4 million job offers annually.

Industry:

Government

Overview

In 2014, the agency processed 8 million requests for financial aid, distributing $31.7 billion euros in benefits.

In early 2015, pôle emploi was asked to develop a new process for job seekers, no small feat given that the organization was operating in a legacy environment which included a 1600-member IT Department comprised of Scrum and waterfall teams, working with new technology as well as COBOL systems, and integrating work from several external suppliers

Benefits of Using SAFe in Employment Agency

They first met with key stakeholders to create the program context and agree on realistic scope, then explored options to fulfill the commitment, and sought a solution to meet the needs of these key areas:

  • What can we do to meet our commitments ?
  • What can we do to stay in sync?
  • What can we do to increase team collaboration?
  • What can we do to reduce integration risks on such a large scope ?
  • How can we maintain a good vision of the product?
  • How can we track the progress of so many teams?

In early 2015, they launched a SAFe pilot program to see how the Framework would work within their unique context. As part of this effort, they launched an Agile Release Train (ART) with 5 Scrum teams running on 3-week sprints, managing five cross-functional initiatives. Through Program Increment planning, they brought together all the key actors in the same room to identify key features that needed to be integrated, and dependencies between the different software components. They created a new role, Delivery Manager, to track overall progress, and used IBM’s Rational Team Concert (RTC) to track team progress.

After the first few months, they were able to identify where the Framework mapped easily to their context, where it didn’t, and how to reconcile some of those differences. For instance, they opted to move from the Delivery Manager role to a Release Train Engineer (RTE) role, as defined in SAFe, and began using SAFe-recommended templates to increase visibility on the new business requirements. They also decided to align the ART with their business program.

Today, the IT organization operates with both agile and non-agile teams collaborating, and is transitioning the non-agile teams to agile practices through their participation in the SAFe ART. They are working within the Framework to identify areas for continuous improvement and address questions such as:

  • How do we manage to take the business further within Agility?
  • Could WSJF help our prioritization process?
  • Who should assume the Product Management role in our organization?
  • How can we move forward with the system team?
  • Should we organize PO sync?
  • Who can be assigned the System Architect role?
  • Who should deal with the enablers and stories?
  • Will we be able to dissociate PI from our quarterly IT releases?
  • What do we need to do to move more teams to an agile cycle?

Get the rest of the story—including the update—below.

Many thanks to the team at pôle emploi for providing the study, and sharing your experience with the SAFe Community: Cécile Auret (SPC4), Methods Engineer, Jerome Froville (SPC4), Methods Engineer, and Michel Levaslot, Manager.

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Suggested Case Study:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Seamless Payments – A Story of Successful SAFe Transformation

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

Challenge:

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

Industry:

Technology, Financial

Introduction

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

Challenges

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

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

More Stories in Less Time—Despite Setbacks

Seamless Payments - A Story of Successful SAFe Transformation

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

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

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

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

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Suggested Case Study:

Standard Bank