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Becoming Agile is a journey, AgileSparks is the Spark* to light your way

AgileSpark is a leading team of coaches and trainers that has helped hundreds of technology organizations around the world reach their business goals by adopting, implementing and scaling Agile principles and practices.

AgileSparks customers understand that achieving true agility comes from adopting an Agile mindset and culture throughout the organization

Simply adopting the mechanics of the Agile methodology of the day is nothing more than what we call Agile Theater or Scrumfall and won’t deliver results. Organizations must understand the underlying principles of these Agile frameworks and have the insight to be able to adapt them to their specific needs. The most challenging part of becoming an Agile organization is inspiring and managing the change it requires. Achieving agility involves a shift in both organizational operating systems and culture. Inevitably, an Agile transformation will involve everyone in the organization from those in technology and product delivery all the way to marketing, sales, and HR.

We believe every business is unique

Choosing the approach to agility that is right for the context and culture of your organization is the foundation for success. Our teams’ expertise spans industries and contexts. Companies we’ve worked-with include those delivering Web/SaaS products, embedded software, cyber-physical systems, Tier 1 networks, medical device products, and military systems. That kind of deep and varied experience allows us to guide organizations towards agility in a way that is tailored specifically to them.

We help the world’s leading tech firms figure out how to achieve agility

Several of the world’s leading tech firms such as Intel, AT&T, HP, Philips, Siemens, Amdocs, and Elbit turn to us to help figure out how to achieve real agility at scale. Regardless of size, we nurture stable, long-term relationships with our customers and partners based on the trust and respect that’s critical to achieving transformational change.

AgileSparks Team of Coaches

We have a high profile leadership team whose members are sought-after thought leaders on the world stage, which means that customers benefit from the latest in Agile thinking.

AgileSparks is Scaled-Agile and Scrum.org partners

We are certified SAFe and Scrum coaches and trainers, meaning – our customers receive the highest standard cross geographies in training and consulting services.

Upcoming training events in India

Private classes that will be tailored exactly to your needs are available, training can be done in our premises or yours. For more information and scheduling, please contact our booths’ team or state it in the below form.

The AgileSparks Way

The AgileSparks Way is our proven approach to implementing widespread organizational change that is focused, managed and incremental, achieving the results organizations need to see on key performance indicators.

Our approach towards SAFe

Unlike other coaches, we don’t treat the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) like an off-the-shelf closed methodology. For us, SAFe methodology is a starting point that our clients can use as a toolbox. Once you understand SAFe principle, we assist you to inspect and adapt it to your needs. Our clients and class participants routinely tell us that the combination of well defined SAFe methodology and deep understanding of their pains-points and needs is the most effective approach and it is a key reason for them choosing us.

Global Presence

With permanent presence in India, Israel and United States ,AgileSparks coaches are accessible and bringing their vast knowledge and worldwide experience to your Agile engagement.

Examine yourself – 6 questions to tell if SAFe is right for you

By Yuval Yeret, CTO at AgileSparks

These days, it seems that scaling Agile is all the rage, while Agile truly is the best, most efficient and most profitable way to get a great product to market quickly, scaling Agile is a road filled with potholes and landmines.

If you don’t do it properly, your product as well as your team can easily end up in a ditch.

So how do you know if SAFe is right for you?

Well… you could hire a team of consultants to go through your business etc. this would certainly be lengthy (and expensive) process to figure it out.

Or you could just use this simple checklist and find out in a few minutes.

Just check the boxes that apply to you and add up your score. At the end of this list, we’ll tell you what your score means – and whether SAFe truly is for you.

So let’s get started…

1st Question, Do you really NEED to be Agile?

Agile is a great framework, but it’s not for everyone. So do you even need Agile? Let’s find out:
  1. Is there a strong business demand to improve Time to Market?
  2. Is there a strong business demand to improve Productivity?
  3. Are there serious IT/product development quality problems/complaints that you are struggling with?
  4. Is there a serious employee engagement issue that you are looking to address?
  5. Do you believe Agile is going to be a key ingredient in maintaining/extending your competitive edge or closing up on your competition?

2nd Question, Do you need to SCALE your Agility?

Has your team gotten too big for your current Agile implementation? These questions will give you the answer: Do you need to achieve the Agility improvements discussed above in one of these contexts:
  1. A program/product/system where 1-2 teams are not sufficient to deliver at the pace required by the business.
  2. A program/product/system where 1-2 teams are not sufficient to maintain the variety of systems/modules/knowledge needed to deliver value in this area.
  3. Dependencies between teams are repeatedly coming up as a real struggle – causing waste, delays, and frustrations all around.
  4. It is pragmatically impossible at the moment to solve the majority of the dependencies through reorganizing from component teams to feature teams. Coordinating / Collaborating between different teams seems to be a necessary evil for the foreseeable future.

3rd Question, Is your organization looking for detailed guidance on how to scale Agile?

Feeling a little lost in trying to scale Agile? See if a helping hand is right for you:
  1. You prefer concrete prescriptive guidance for how to scale Agile beyond the team level rather than figure it out on your own from books/case studies/creating a custom framework with a consultant.
  2. You are looking for an approach that has a solid documented track record. This will make you feel safer going into this high impact initiative and will help you convince others.
  3. You are looking for the “industry standard” which will help you with bringing in experienced practitioners/coaches/trainers, communicating with the wider Agile community, etc.
  4. You prefer “Buy” over “Make”. For you “Not Invented Here” is an advantage not a turnoff.
  5. You prefer “Tailor” over “Make”. You are not a big fan of working “by the book” but are looking to leverage a good solid coherent set of best practices that you can work with.

4th Question, Is SAFe Agile Enough for you?

SAFe isn’t a one-size-fits-all Agile solution. Check the boxes below to see if SAFe is enough for you.
  1. Coming from a “Waterfallish” development life-cycle having a planning cycle every 10-12 weeks (every PI) provides sufficient business Agility.
  2. Re-planning at the Feature/Program level every couple of weeks is not required or deemed to be a dysfunction that will be resolved by moving to a steady reliable cadence of 10-12 weeks.
  3. Delivery cadence will be somewhere around 10-12w. (NOTE: Yes. SAFe does say Deliver on Demand. But typically organizations that deliver every sprint or more often have lots more feedback to use for re-planning which will drive them more towards a more frequent planning cycle – leading either to shorter PIs or an alternative more pull-oriented planning approach).

5th Question, CAN you implement SAFe?

Implementing SAFe is a pretty big commitment. So be honest about whether your organization is ready for it.
  1. Are you serious about transforming your organization? SAFe might be SAFE but it’s certainly not EASY. It will be hard work.
  2. Do leaders have the time/motivation to lead this change?
  3. Do you have authority to drive change in the organization?
  4. Do you and whoever is relying on the delivery of this development value stream have the patience for a period of slowing down while investing in building the capability to win later on? (Think the sports team that says we are focusing on building the team this year, not aiming for the playoffs/finals, etc.).

6th Question, Are you willing to go for “Big Room Program Increment Planning”? Can you make it work?

An effective SAFe implementation requires your entire team to participate. Are they up for the challenge?
  1. Is “Whole program of 50-125 people doing program increment planning together in one big room” sound like something you can undertake every quarter or so?
  2. Is this something you are open to exploring the value of?
  3. Is this something you think you can pull off from a logistics perspective?
  4. If the set of teams that needs to work together is distributed across several locations/timezones – do you have, or can arrange, effective tele-presence solutions to enable these teams to have a “virtual big room” multi-day planning event every quarter or so?

So, is SAFe the right approach for you?

See, told you that was pretty quick…

Now it’s time to find out what your score means. If you checked:

16-25: SAFe is a very good fit for your organization and, with proper implementation, you will definitely see considerable impact on business agility, productivity, quality and overall team happiness/engagement.

For you, It is probably time to get some SAFe training, run an implementation strategy workshop and launch SAFe in an Agile Release Train or even a full Value Stream.

11-15: SAFe still may be a great fit for you. What we typically do with organizations at this level is take a deeper dive and examine your organization a little more closely. This typically means an assessment together with a deeper implementation strategy workshop.

6-10: SAFe may not be the right choice for you, but other Agile frameworks can give you the massive results you’re looking for. If the main reason for low scores is centered in the NEED area you’re probably either doing well or have some blind spot that you’re unaware of that is worth probing for. What we do in these situations is a more generalized Lean/Agile Management Workshop where we figure out the real NEED, understand the Lean/Agile options and help organizations figure out what options are worth pursuing for them.

Handling legacy code

Recently we introduced new hands-on program for Developers, the program led by Yaki Koren, Head Of Engineering Practices at AgileSparks. In dozens of companies and teams we reviewed, we have noticed that writing unit test is partially done, mainly for new code and for simple units. In addition, refactoring legacy code, the use of IDE capabilities are not part of every day work. We believe that implementing such practices will increase both quality and throughput (velocity) raising morale, teamwork and professionalism. The Engineering-Practices program include: Code Retreat Workshop, the purpose of this one day workshop is to lay the basic foundations for engineering practices implementation. The workshop focuses on learning to write unit tests, practicing test driven development and working in pairs. During the day the participants solve the same problem again and again, each time under different constraints. This is an All-Hands event – we encourage all developers of the organization (up to 40 people) to participate together, regardless of programming language. Legacy Code Workshop, this is another All-Hands one day workshop. The purpose of this workshop is to practice techniques pertaining to covering existing complex legacy code with unit tests, including refactoring techniques. In each session the developers (here also work is done in pairs) download code from github and run an exercise. Team Coaching On Engineering Practices, once developers passed the above mentioned workshops it is time to roll up our sleeves and start working with our code. We believe the best way to do this is to have team level sessions on the code. We do this using “Mob Programming”  technique, a method for having the entire team develop one piece of code together. Our experience shows that a good strategy for a team is to take a first difficult piece of code and focus on it for a day, writing the first unit tests. Once this is done the next one will be easier. During these sessions we will also start, as needed, to refactor the code toward design patterns, to make it better maintainable and robust.

Contact us today to Spark your Agile journey

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