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15 Aug 2016

SAFe 4.0 is not Change friendly

by Melanie Franklin

I am in a very bad mood tonight because I am studying for my SAFe 4.0 qualification, which stands for Scaled Agile Framework. It’s a useful approach to knitting together different teams who want to work in an Agile way.

What has got me so angry is the lightweight way that the implementation of change is dealt with. Whilst recognising that real business value only occurs when users start using the solution in their environment, emphasis is given to making the system available in the live environment.

Change is complicated but not impossible

I know how complicated this is, especially when the live environment is of such a magnitude that it is very difficult to replicate properly in a test environment. So ‘go-live’ involves lots of crossed fingers.

But this is not the same as managing change:

  • The psychological impact of unlearning old ways of working and learning new ones
  • The willingness and motivation to redesign ways of working that everyone is comfortable with
  • Balancing this process redesign with existing workloads and maintaining acceptable levels of customer service

Change management is a complex skill-set demanding high levels of emotional intelligence. It cannot be ignored. I think we are getting better at recognising that projects need collaboration between users and developers. But we need methods aimed at developers to provide lots more detail about the activities and techniques involved in managing change.

Survey results

In a recent survey (, 27% of respondents said they were using SAFe for large-scale agile developments. So these ideas have a lot of followers. We must become much more explicit about what change management is and how to do it well if we really want to realise benefits from our investments in IT.

Melanie Franklin
15th August 2016