Abstract for: Managerial Implications and Comparative Effects of SAFe Scaled Agile Methods in Government Software Acquisition

As Agile software development methods have become more prevalent at the practitioner level, an important question has arisen about how these small team methods can scale to meet the needs of larger organizations from the department to the enterprise level. Dean Leffingwell’s Scaled Agile Framework for LEAN Software Development (SAFe) has become a leading proposition for how to achieve these ends by completely transforming the operational model for software creation and delivery. One of the questions that managers, and particularly government managers, raise is how SAFe and similar methods can fit within their organizations and meet the control regulations and requirements they must live with. To help these managers visualize what SAFe is and how it might work for them, we have used System Dynamics modeling to investigate the operational characteristics of SAFe and build a prototype model that can be used as a learning tool and as the basis for future extension into simulations of operation of alternative organizational transformations based on SAFe. The key question is more qualitative understanding of possible scenarios than numeric metrics. The System Dynamics model-based investigastion also allows SAFe to be compared structurally to other alternative approaches.