“It is not enough that management commit themselves to quality and productivity, they must know what it is they must do. Such a responsibility cannot be delegated.”
“People are already doing their best. The problem is with the system. Only management can change the system.”
—W. Edwards Deming
Deming’s quotes remind us of a basic premise of SAFe: Management is ultimately responsible for the success of the business and, therefore, any significant change to its way of working. There is no question that moving to a Lean-Agile paradigm will be a huge change. Not only are the practices different, but the belief system, core values, culture, and philosophies are different as well.
To begin this journey of change and instill new habits into the culture, leaders and managers need to learn and adopt a ‘Lean-Agile mindset,’ as shown in Figure 3-1.
Figure 3-1. The aspects of a Lean-Agile mindset
The two primary aspects of a Lean-Agile mindset are:
Thinking Lean. Organized around six concepts, the SAFe ‘House of Lean’ is shown in Figure 3-1. The roof represents the goal of delivering value. The pillars support this through the concepts of respect for people and culture, flow, innovation, and relentless improvement. Lean leadership provides the foundation on which everything else stands.
Embracing Agility. SAFe rests entirely on the skills, aptitude, and capabilities of Agile teams and their leaders. Although there’s no single definition of Agile, the manifesto provides the value system and principles that introduced Agile methods into mainstream software development. We must enhance it, not abandon it, as we scale.
Thinking Lean and embracing agility combine to make up the Lean-Agile mindset. This new management approach improves workplace culture by providing the concepts and beliefs that leaders need to guide a successful business transformation. In turn, this helps individuals and enterprises achieve their goals.