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    August 21, 2023

    Sustainable SAFe - What is Sustainable SAFe?

    Hear from SAFe Fellow, Phil Gardiner, in this kickoff event for a new Webinar Series about Sustainable SAFe. The tables will be turned this time as SPC Laura Caldie interviews Phil to explore what is meant by “Sustainable SAFe.”  Watch this recording to get the answer to this question in this short 1 hour webinar! 

    Watch if you want to learn:

    • What is unique about the Sustainable SAFe perspective?
    • What are the benefits of an intentional focus on sustainability?
    • How can I implement SAFe to create a sustainable way of working
    • What do I need and where do I start?
    Download Presentation

    About Phil Gardiner

    Phil, a SAFe Fellow and SPCT, leads the Applied Frameworks’ SAFe Practice. Phil is responsible for large-scale transformations and guiding change agents as they learn to apply the Scaled Agile Framework. Phil has served as a leader, coach, and consultant at some of the world’s largest companies as well as government organizations such as the US Department of Defense

    About Laura Caldie

    Laura leads business development for Applied Frameworks’ consulting practice, with responsibilities spanning large-scale transformations, product portfolios, and enterprise training programs. She has worked with dozens of Fortune 500 companies, including SalesforceCiscoDell and Adobe. Laura is a Certified SAFe Practice Consultant®  and Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master®

    About the Sustainable SAFe Series:

    Thriving in the digital world requires a way of working grounded in agility, adaptability, and resiliency. The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) provides the guidance and flexibility to achieve sustainability.  When paired with Profit Streams™, SAFe unleashes the profitability needed to achieve sustainable profitability for those enterprises that create value through software enabled solutions.

    In the Sustainable SAFe webinar series, SAFe Fellow Phil Gardiner and guests ranging from business leaders to coaches and consultants explore how to leverage SAFe in a way that leads to sustainable success at scale.  

    The series will tackle tough topics and provide actionable insights such as:

    • Engaging the Business through LPM
    • What Does Good Look Like and How To Get There
    • Engaging the Business by Speaking Profit 
    • The Power of Agile Product Management 
    • The Role of SPCs and Change Agents
    • Evolving from Value Streams to Profit Streams


    Laura Caldie  03:49

    . All right, well, I guess we waited a couple extra minutes. So why don't we get going on here because it's a topic I know both of us have spent actually quite a lot of time talking about which is the concept of sustainable SAFe and so I'm, I'm looking forward to this one. So just really quickly, I guess the reason that's interesting to both of us is that applied frameworks help companies kind of grow sustainably profitable software enabled solutions. So we do a lot of things to kind of help enable that. But in this particular webinar, we really want to focus in on sustainable SAFe and how that helps with that. So just a little bit about me, my name is Laura Caldie. And I just mentioned I'm based in Chicago where it's a little rainy today, but that's alright. My role is leading sales and marketing efforts. But I also get to do things like interview interesting people during webinars and I was happy that he in this case, it's our newest SAFe fellow and SPC T Phil Gardner. And I'm always excited to say that you're a SAFe fellow. So you know. Yeah. So in addition to that, in addition to that, and that you're a SAFe practice lead, is there anything else that you want to add into your kind of bio background before we get going

    Phil Gardiner  05:06

    no, just I'm excited to kick off a new series. You know, I learned a lot from and we probably will have one more episode, possibly two of the SPC journey series. We did part of that in July of 2022. With Harry Koehnemann Scaled Agile, and that over the course of the of the series, it kind of evolved into more of an interview type thing where we hold in different different individuals get different perspectives. That's the vision I have for this particular series as well. We're going to frame it up a little bit with today. So I do have some slides, but ultimately, it's going to end up moving into that same type of model where we're going to hear from lots of different people from lots of different perspectives, but got a kind of baseline with what am I talking about when I say sustainable SAFe and that's what today's about,

    Laura Caldie  05:52

    right? Yeah, well, it's it's obviously SAFe, right? And so maybe you can set the tone a little bit about how you talk about SAFe and what's important with that.

    Phil Gardiner  06:04

    Yeah, so when when, when people think about SAFe, right, this is oftentimes the picture that's in their mind and not so much for me. You know, when say 5.0 came out or when I saw it back in 2019. I think it kind of changed my perspective. I love the fact that there was a different way of looking at this. What you're seeing here is a great image map and it's a great way to connect with the different articles inside the framework. You know, we look at the different configurations through this but it doesn't really kind of give you the spirit of things have circles around the around the left, the left side of the framework picture here we call this the big picture. And the two on the bottom is really when I think about SAFe, that's what I think about. Love that image. When when I talk to executives, I talk to people who are new to SAFe. I really talk about it, it's this. It's the set of competencies in these different 21 dimensions, seven core competencies to help an enterprise achieve a greater sense of business agility and to continue to evolve in that area. To do that, you need to strengthen yourself in these seven core competencies. And when we look at that, there's there's so many places to start. Now there are some from a execution perspective, for example, without team and technical agility. You know, your ability to deliver on a cadence would be tough, but this is really kind of the lens that I see see, say through and we think about sustainably being able to adopt these new ways of working. We're thinking about strengthening the enterprise's abilities and scaling that throughout these these seven core competencies, competencies while focusing on you know, the needs and desires and the outcomes that their customers are looking for as well.

    Laura Caldie  07:48

    Yeah, and I think you know, you and I talk about SAFe with customers quite a bit and I one of the things that I hear you talking about is kind of this need to organize around value. And so, you know, I thought maybe it would be interesting to kind of set it up like this as well if that's something I always hear you talk about is is organizing around value. Well, how do people do that? And yeah, talk to us a little bit more about value streams.

    Phil Gardiner  08:13

    Also, value streams is a core concept before SAFe and you know, it's been around for a long time kind of came over to the US with with the Toyota Production System and kind of that whole idea of Lean thinking evolved around this. And when we think about a value stream, right, it's these activities that take us from from a triggering event to the delivery of value. And you know, whether that's a product it's a service, you know, some type of solution which we made up of products and services, is really where we're thinking about this gives you a good baseline. When we talk about sustainable SAFe. The key with value streams is once you have a good definition, you can see how we're surrounded with them. Everywhere we look we can see value streams. One of the things that we have to consider especially when we're implementing SAFe is the scale, right? So for example, you know, you could make an argument that we've got 47 different value streams here. Well, technically speaking from a mapping perspective, you might but when we look at understanding what those value streams are, so that we can leverage Lean and Agile at scale, it's a little bit different. So let's add some complexity. We'll talk about how value streams are positioned and SAFe. Right, so operational value streams and development value streams, right. So your operational value streams, this is really about those activities to deliver that product or service to the market. Right manufacturing a product fulfilling an order, you know, admitting and treating a patient at a at an ER or hospital right, providing alone delivering a professional service. Most employees in the enterprise or in the government agency, you're going to work in an operational value stream that serve the ultimate customer directly. Right and those could be for you know, and just a side note here. I love working in the government and, you know, myself and many of the individuals that I've worked with here and applied frameworks have all served the government in one capacity whether military service or as a as an Agile coach or consultant, helping the government implement Lean and Agile at scale. And so, today's session is really going to be tailored to you know, the commercial market. However, we talk about seven elements of sustainable SAFe six of the seven are absolutely immediately applicable to government, nonprofit state and local government versus felt and federal government as well as commercial. So just just be aware that I if you know me, I have not given up my my support for the government because those men and women who are doing that stuff, it is tremendously awesome. And anyway, sorry, little sidebar there. But we're going back and talking I'm talking about this right with operational value streams. You know, we're we're gonna we're talking about manufacturing products, giving customers support and services selling a process, you know, selling and processing orders, you know, giving access to a software product, whereas the development value stream is really about those activities needed to convert a business hypothesis into a digitally enabled software solution that delivers customer value. What that value is, is part of the challenge with with sustainability. We'll talk more about that in a little bit. But when we think about organizing around value, we think about where the people work, when we're looking at building, designing, building, deploying, supporting that solution. Oftentimes, we're talking about the development value stream. You know, the slide that Laura has up here on our screens is a good example to kind of just if you're new to this, it kind of frame it for you, right? You know, in this case, we're looking at, you know, hey, we've got a value stream responsible for fulfilling an order made on a website, which results in a brand new Porsche being delivered to our house. Or waiting at the dealership, right? Perhaps we need to bring bring in our Porsche for maintenance, those interactions be organized around the different value stream. Now when we think about development value streams, you know, this is a sequence of activities that product development teams, and others you know, all those individuals involved in, in developing that solution designed builds support that's used by the operational value stream. So in order to get that portion to the customer, there are solutions out most of the time, you know, oftentimes software enabled solutions that allow that to happen. And so when we think about this, everything needed to build the Porsches powertrain would probably be a development value stream. I haven't worked with Porsche directly. So I'm just using a theoretical example here. But the value streams have all those activities, the people the systems, the flow of information and materials need to deliver the value and so operational value streams are going to vary significantly depending on their purpose. Are you delivering a missile warning system for the US government? You know, for the for the for the taxpayers and for the you know, protect our country, or are you delivering a are you delivering a software product that people are going to license and purchase? You know, and so OVS is are typically going to vary, but development value streams are pretty much built around define, build, validate, release, etc, right? And so, you know, but what if we need what if we need financing? What if we need some of these other things and so, I'm not I'm not doing a talk on value stream today. But I just want to say that understanding the flow of value is so critical, both from the perspective of getting that solution out to market so that your customers actually can leverage it. So the warfighter can leverage it so the consumer can leverage it so the business to business customers you have can leverage it. Whereas, you know, when we look at at way that SAFe is positioning operational value streams and develop value streams. There's actually patterns emerging now where you could have a portfolio around both a development value stream or developing value streams as well as an operational value stream looks. We're not gonna get to that today, but that'd be a that's a topic for a future webinar. Oh, for sure.

    Laura Caldie  14:17

    Yeah. And I think understanding value streams is a kind of an essential element of what you think of when you're talking about sustainable SAFe, because I think there's a lot of virtues here, so maybe we can go through a few of them that are pretty helpful in understanding sustainable SAFe.

    Phil Gardiner  14:34

    Yeah, absolutely. Right. So you know, first off, being able to visualize it, right? Is one of those things and I'm skipping around in order here, but we think about, you know, when I think about value streams, I got my start, you know, years and years ago with value stream mapping before SAFe this idea of understanding the seven types of waste and, and finding those bottlenecks. All that's intrinsic to SAFe and with SAFe 6.0 came out in March. There's definitely a focus on establishing that flow. But when we think about using this, by definition, right, a value stream delivers some sort of value to the customer at the end, and usually it's reciprocal, right? There's value to the enterprise who's providing the solution and there's value to the to the customer who's receiving it. And so, when we think about this, we have to start asking ourselves what is value? Right? And, you know, there's a whole you know, I think about my agile coaching days, there's there's a whole debate around what is value, the reality is, if you're a for profit company, values, oftentimes profit, right? You know, if you're one degree away from profitability, maybe you're only thinking about revenue, which is only part of the picture. And so we want to think about when we look at value streams, we definitely want to be thinking about value and what that means right? If there's a decision needs to be made, are we thinking about the effects that could have on the customers and on the end users, right? We have to have this new mindset that goes beyond a transactional relationship where you ask for it, we gave it to you, we're building a relationship here. Remember, we also want to think about the total lifetime value exchange that can be there between the customers and us, right? We want long term relationships. Little side note here. You know, I worked with the private and private investment firm, personal investment firm and for them. One of the experiments we ran was moving from selling mortgages to getting people in their homes. If you think about that, it seems really not that big of a difference. But when the contact agents, those in field offices, those in the in the call centers, when they were focused on getting a person into their home, the way they spoke, the way they looked at it the way they interacted, the relationship they built with their customer was different than just selling a mortgage. And what they found was that while there was a little bit of this a tear change, here's a little a little bit of a dip in mortgage sales. Initially, what they saw was an unexpected explosion of ancillary services, because the people who got their home through this company now had a relationship that was leveraged to build it and they could offer additional solutions to kind of create this whole product solution offering for all the financial needs of a customer as opposed to a transactional and either mortgage through you. You know, but let's, I already mentioned a little bit if you want to keep it on the slide and talk a little bit about, you know, identifying the bottlenecks and efficiencies that's all about flow and certainly sustainability is about being able to get to that point, you know, early on, when I was when I first got involved in SAFe in 2013. It was deliver value at a pace we can sustain deliver more value at a pace we can sustain was the was the was the phrase I used all the time. Right. And that that part of pace we can sustain because, you know, I can tell you I'm a I'm a tall guy, not as big as I used to be. But when my kid fell off her bike, you want to see a big guy run, right? But that's not a marathon. I could not sustain that pace. Right and my knees were hurting for a few days afterwards. But you know, we have to have this ability to keep going with this way of working that we've got. But values value streams encourage, but don't guarantee the delivery of valuable outcomes over the delivery of result, right. And so when we think about a value stream, it has its greatest impact when the when they're organized around the delivery of valuable outcomes desired by customers and getting to the whole design thinking and really focusing on what the customer is looking for. So lots of customer centricity and design thinking that's enabled, if you don't even understand that triggering event, and what needs to happen to get your customer what they want, then it's really hard to Frame to Frame, good product management and kind of get going with the customer centric focus. But lots of lots of stuff on the virtues of value streams. However, don't stop there. Right and there's there's a way to evolve beyond this. And I'll tell you, I've been talking about sustainable SAFe for as long as I can. I can I can I can recall my early impact was SAFe, where it didn't stick at a massive impact on my approach my philosophy on on change and lots of things. And here at apply frameworks, you know, we offer our we have SAFe services, do a lot of private training, private consulting, you know, mentoring, helping people partner people on their journey, while also being experts in product management that transcends both SAFe and not SAFe, right. We've got CSPs that do Scrum training, and wide variety of services. A lot of that product management expertise coalesced into a body of knowledge called profit streams. And one of the things that I had the benefit of doing recently was last week I was in Sunnyvale going through a immersion week type experience to kind of become what's called a CPS T certified profit streams trainer, where I'm looking at leveraging this new framework and what it can do and what I've come come to see is that there's a really great opportunity here to take all the goodness of having a sustainable implementation was SAFe and and all the things you can do to have that success, sustainable success with SAFe and bring in this additional body of knowledge around profit streams, that really helps you speak the language that the business speaks really helps you move away from just talking about value and actually if you're a commercial company talking about profit, I got to tell you personally, it was kind of uncomfortable at first. I I was I was uncomfortable talking about profitability in front of everybody. So when I worked, you know, years ago, I started working with lpm we would be talking about revenue, we've talked about net present value, we're talking about, you know, profitability EBIT of everything. But that wasn't a conversation that we had in front of the developers. And you know, this idea of value was was more nebulous. Well, that's a business thing. They're gonna worry about that. Well, in actuality, as a developer, you want to understand that what you're delivering is profitable because, you know, if it's not profitable, then this wonderful way of working you have and this joyful work you're doing may not be there because you've got to be able to pay for these ways of working. But let's move the next slide if you don't mind. Yeah,

    Laura Caldie  21:43

    I mean, one of the things that that I think you're getting at when you're talking about profit streams and some of the additional work that you're doing is not exactly 100% reaction to maybe some of the opportunities that value streams give us but it is, like it's this extra thing that we can now do for companies that measure value as profit, right. So that might be a deficiency in a value stream is that it doesn't really quantify it as profit explicitly. Right? Even though companies need to sometimes

    Phil Gardiner  22:13

    and that's that's uh, you know, this is something where you know, I kind of think of it as a 201 type thing you know, when and SAFe definitely invested some in this right there was a class agile product management that Scaled Agile has, you know, Luke Hohmann are one of the other SAFe fellows here. He created that course years ago. And when I first saw it, it was kind of mind blowing to me, because, for me, I thought of Product Management from the standpoint of the scrum Alliance and the cspo content and I thought about it from the standpoint of SAFe product owner product management class and this role of product manager as SAFe illustrates it. And when the Agile product management course came out, it brought in a variety of things from industry that typically weren't being thought of, as with Product Management at the time, least from from my perspective, and when I you know, I remember when I met Luke, I described I said, it's like, get really good at po pm and you're riding your bike around the block, get really good at what's the natural product management, you're landing a fighter jet in the street. It is that big of a difference and stuff, market rhythms, market events, you know, customer benefit analysis, all these things, value exchange models, pricing, structures, licensing, packaging, all those concepts that are necessary for a company that's trying to base their business on delivery of a software enabled solution. And so when we think about value, right, you know, there's an opportunity there now. I don't know that I would start with that every time I want to just clarify here that this is not a 101. Like we want to start right where we're at if you can't, if you don't have a way of working that allows you to deliver something valuable, right, then pricing is not really going to matter. At the same time, though, you know, as I've been working with lpm for over the years. It's It was surprising for me personally, to see how amorphous some of the data and intentionality around getting some of these solutions to market was. And I don't think it's it wasn't anything nefarious or bad or incompetence, it's a matter of just not being exposed to it. Right. One of the things that when we implement SAFe we often find we're already doing something like that. We just didn't know it was called that right? Same kind of thing. You'll find pockets of this, but the product management skill set, evolving that, you know, to market rhythms and market events. Well, if you're if you're commercial for profit, then understanding the actual, you know, the profitability, right and it's something where you've given things away. I remember I, I used to be a fan of Kickstarter, and I ended up buying this lifetime membership for a couple 100 bucks or maybe $150 For something that membership has been has been sold three times the three different companies as that company got acquired and it's really kind of, you know, I look at the pricing now and it's like, they're having to support me after paying 150 $160 whereas now they're charging $100 a month for this content. And so, you know, there's things that that you don't know to think about, like your pricing strategy. You know, or having pricing fences and things like that, then you miss out on those.

    Laura Caldie  25:34

    Yeah, I think that gets this need for sustainably profitable business intentionally designed, right and that's, it's not that value stream thinking. tells you not to do that. It's just not explicit about the how right and the focus

    Phil Gardiner  25:48

    is kind of like building a building beyond it like I I've recently been, you know, I saw nutritionist in March and I've been on this weight loss kick right. And at first it was be aware of what you're eating less of course, and, and and exercise more, that consisted of me doing a lot more walking, right. And I've lost 65 pounds now. And so if you see my old webinars in my face a little bigger, that's why but now at the point where I need to up my game, my weights kind of stabilized over the last month, I'm not losing at the rate that I was, and so I need to I need to bring in something else to help me get to that next level. And that's kind of the way I see profit streams for some of our customers where they've got the basics going, but they're they need you know, they need to maximize this right and if we are heading into recession, then you know, it's it's do more with what I have or make more from what I have, right? And so, look from from that perspective, there's there's all these opportunities here and so let's let's let's actually switch gears I don't want to get too much into profit on this. Let's talk about sustainable SAFe because ultimately, that's that's, that's what this is. About. Right. So real quick here. We have a comment in chat from Heather. Let's see here. We use Business Model Canvas on some of our new pilot ideas, their ideas that make it out of the gate because it wasn't profitable. Our customers didn't want it right. And so if you think about those things upfront, you're Wait, you're saving yourself a lot of a lot of time, Heather. That's what I was talking about where, you know, it's like, you're sitting there and like one of the experiences I had at I can speak about this. It's my previous employer. I was at 18 T for 16 years as a as an internal employee. Here, director there, and I left and I end up coming back as a consultant. And, you know, one of the things that I was really surprised of in the business units I was working with, was there were projects that people didn't expect to have the ROI that was was planned. This isn't just ATT, this has been multiple customers. I don't wanna pick on anybody, but it's not unheard of. If you were to ask a group of executives, have you ever seen a project that it's on its way, and you realize it's not going to have the ROI that you thought, right? People will nod their head? Yes. And then you say, raise your hand if you stopped it, and you get a lot less hands raised than you might think about. And so being able to find those points to you know, when you think about business agility, right, that ability to pivot, persevere, or stop. Is there right so good point, Heather. All right. So people I've been

    Laura Caldie  28:26

    we're gonna talk about which one of these you want me to just pull them up Phil to kind of have

    Phil Gardiner  28:30

    we can do them one at a time. I'm just I'm thinking about this and or we can pull them all up. That's fine.

    Laura Caldie  28:33

    Well, if we pull up then maybe what I can do is stop sharing the deck and just have a little chat about them.

    Phil Gardiner  28:39

    That sounds great, because that way I can see you instead of a thumbnail. Yeah. So

    Laura Caldie  28:42

    here's what we're gonna talk about. And yeah,

    Phil Gardiner  28:46

    so one thing to say about this is that, you know, this was a tough slide for me to write because I've been talking about sustainable SAFe for a long time, but I never actually put it on paper. What is right, and I've been going I went back and forth treat, it's an approach. It's a perspective, I think, in actuality is a little bit both because I don't want you to think there's some sort of process out there so it's almost like a set of tenants. When we think about if you want to implement SAFe in a way that's sustainable, these are some of the things to think about. Right? You know, and first off, you know, keeping the framework flexible. I see we've got a got Mike Robertson dialed in. So I did a talk with him in 2019 or 2020 for the government, and it was really about SAFe had a bad rap. Someone in the government said, avoid rigid and prescriptive frameworks like SAFe and at the time Mike was working as a contractor in the government. And I remember showing this memo of record Memorandum of record to is his government leader, the federal civil servant, and he laughed out loud, because for him, it was completely a whole different experience. He's like what's flexible? So just want to you know, we think about these seven things. The first one is really, you know, keeping the framework flexible. The definition from Merriam Webster on framework is a basic conceptual structure parentheses as of ideas, right. And that in itself says this is a conceptual structure. It is not a process. This is not a you must do all of these things. And so when we think about getting SAFe, sustainably, it's you have to take that approach, you have to look at this and you know, SAFe transformation efforts, they can lose leadership support and engagement over time because you know, I've seen situations where an army of consultants come in, they're hired to focus on on the development methodology, prescribing the same advice to every business unit, and kind of this one size fits all what we find is that, you know, we can absolutely go in and get a a business unit set up inside a company to be an example of just amazing agility. Right, and, and everything's awesome. But what we've learned over the years is that's not enough. Because we need to be able to build in the capabilities for the company to understand why this was awesome. Right? Understand why it worked, why it's stuck, why it was sustainable, and successful. And you need to harness that so that you can move that into into the next piece of the pie. Now, on these seven items, you know, we're going to kind of go through at a high level of these but these the type of topics that we'll end up exploring in deeper detail, and there may be more as we go around, really, how do you get SAFe to stick inside your enterprise? And as I mentioned before, no, we're not we're not in GSA, but we have partners that are in GSA. I've got a right now Travis and I one of our SPCT candidates. Here. We're working with a state agency to help them really understand SAFe and come up with an implementation plan, as well as write an RFP that will allow them to get some really great partners in I'm excited about that one, particularly because, you know, I know that the educated government, people who know what questions to ask of their potential contractors is a powerful asset. So I'm excited about that. My point though, is that I'm sorry, I'm talking fast because I'm excited about this topic, but of these things, right. All almost all of them can be applied. And when I went through this this profit, profit streams, immersion week last week, what I what I learned was interesting is the conversations we had the other the other thought leaders there were asking, What can we apply this to federal government? Could we apply this to nonprofit? It'd be applied this, you know, in these different areas, and I would say probably someday, yes, right now, just like when se first came out, it was focused on the most part it right now, you know, over the over the over the years, there's patterns where SAFe has been used to to you can implement SAFe without any software development at all. And so perhaps in the future, there's profit streams that can work for nonprofit and profit streams, although I don't know that name would ever stick in the government but you know, this idea of understanding that benefit to the warfighter, understanding that benefit the taxpayer and using some of the tools from profit streams like customer benefit analysis, and things like that, or maybe even using some of the strategies around fencing and things like that for different levels of usage and all that stuff. Anyway, going back to this, keeping the framework flexible, right. And so we want that to be a core tenant of this and I think that's what I'll end up calling these is kind of the tenants of sustainable SAFe. A core tenant is that is that it needs to be flexible. Now what that what that means, though, is that it's still there. So I don't want to I don't want people to confuse keeping the framework flexible with this idea of pick and choose what you want. Because that's where people's brains go, well, we don't want this we just won't use this. Well. It's kind of like, hey, I want to have a Ferrari. I don't want to worry about fuels. I fast, I'm gonna leave the gas out, well, you're gonna get a lot of different you'd have a much different experience of that Ferrari if you don't actually invest in fuels than if you don't and so there are some parts of the framework that really aren't options. Right and that you you've got to find a way to make happen. And part of working with a partner or if your SPC is on their learning journey is understanding the cost of not implementing something that SAFe recommends do not so

    Laura Caldie  34:38

    the way that I've heard it described is, you know, for example, one of the core tenants of SAFe is customer centricity. So to be successful, you don't get to be not customer centric. How you are customer centric is where the flexibility comes in. customer centricity has a lot of it looks a lot of different ways depending on the company that we're working with. But successful companies always choose to do it. It's just how they do it can vary.

    Phil Gardiner  35:07

    And to that point, how, you know, which I think goes to the second, the second tenet of sustainable SAFe right, which is this idea of exploring and growing into new ways of working. So you know, part of this is that give yourself some grace. Right? I mean, you know, I had a conversation with with Andy, one of the chief methodologist at Scaled Agile, and I felt that afterwards I I was talking about, you know, SPCs who are out there, you know, selling their services. And they have no experience. Well, the reality is, we've all started that point. Right. And so, you know, you are where you are, and you can't change that. And, you know, I think the focus here is is that don't expect there to be a turn key here, where it's like you send your people to training and boom, all of a sudden you've got 50% faster time to market 50% happier employees 50%, happier, you know, better, better defect rates. It doesn't work that way. It's a continuum. And I personally believe in the concept I use, I don't know if it's a real thing or not, but I've been saying it for years. I tell people, you've only got so much change currency, right? So change in enterprise. It's hard. And I use this in my mind, I think about how much change currency you have, and where do you choose to spend it? Because for example, if you want to implement SAFe and have, you know, informed people into teams, well, that's that's changed, moving from a waterfall model into agile teams that's changed. Well, at the same time, we're gonna move from JIRA to this other tool. Well, that's another big change, right? And so you have to think about you know, really looking at that, that pace and the flow of change inside your organization. And so when we think about exploring growing into new ways of working, it's known as not a toggle switch that you have to grow into it. And so when it comes to things like product management or profitability or anything in that's in the frame, either of those frameworks, you've got to know where you're at, or where you want to go and have a way to measure your progress towards it. And so, you know, just just think about that, right? Every organization makes this ongoing investment in its people and its processes and implementing SAFe is no different, right? It's an investment in adopting new ways of working, that has the potential to create extraordinary value. I mean, I you know, one of the most exciting things I can think of was or experiences was, I worked for this this this body shop consulting type of thing, company for a while, and they have the person that comes around and checks on delivery and make sure the customer is happy. And we're sitting there and Misty, and this this beat this VP of the company I was working with the the account manager says hey, you know, how's it going, she's, she's like, Oh, my husband thinks I'm cheating on him. And we're both like, what? It's just like, No, no, no, no, no, nothing like that. My kids, my husband, they all noticed a change in me. I laugh more, I'm happier. I'm sillier. I just I'm just I'm full of energy, and they are seeing a difference. And for me, that's the kind of thing that that means a lot to me as a human being is knowing that you can bring that type of joyful work to somebody. And so that's when we talk about new ways of working. We're talking about having people work in a way that brings them satisfaction. And also brings that that productivity innovation to the customer to the company who can then in turn, bring that to the customers. You know, getting that best return on investment from SAFe requires you get clear about the problems you intend to solve, understand your goals develop a strategy and a roadmap for your SAFe implementation. And then engage at a pace that ensures your people are fully absorbing this new way of working. You can't just show them something expect it to change. So you know, and on that note, you're thinking about things expecting to change. The next one I would talk about is kind of moving beyond this kind of business versus technology. In save 6.0 the framework team put an article out there it's in the bottom left corner of the of the big picture and it says Business and Technology. And if you click on that it takes you into an article it talks about five patterns that the framework team has scaled agile has observed with business and technology being together. It has things like a a business enabled agile release, train, a combined portfolio. These are things that I'm personally very excited about because to me that's a core part of sustainable SAFe. I cannot think of a single implementation that I that I that I've worked with, where I'm like, this is sustainable success, where they didn't have involvement and engagement from business as well as technology and what that degree looks like and once again, your change currency, you know, know where you're at and where you want to go. So it's not a toggle switch. But a lot of the work that we've done I mean, I've literally had an engagement with with this big CRM company, where, like my client, Shawn, my outcome, it was a small statement of work for a few months the outcome was, get the business, get the business engaged. That was the outcome we work towards and we did it but you know, when we think about this business as an infinite game, no matter how you're playing, one thing is certain the game is going to change, and you need to change with it. If you're in a situation where you've only got part of your company that can change and the other part can't. It really causes a challenge and so we want to move beyond this, this idea of where technology, you're the business, right? And maybe you start with a partnership, right? Because I've seen situations where it's been so dysfunctional, that a CIO says, You know what, I have a solution for this and it makes me very, very sad when I hear about this but what will happen as the CIO will say, it's not you know, what we need to do is we're going to build an organization to sit between business and technology. So we got the technology group doing their thing. And we're basically going to erase all this progress on on transparency and partnership and we're going to put a new organization between to kind of be that referee, that insulation between business and IT. And I haven't seen a model where that's been tremendously successful, because it kind of goes against some of those core core values of SAFe, transparency, alignment, etc. Right? You know, and so, think about this how can you get to the point where we were resist Central at&t, did a talk at the 2018 or 2019 summit, about how they turn their their SAFe engagement around how they had unprecedented executive engagement and part of that was this this use case for one of their businesses. And the, what we talked about, we didn't talk about SAFe, we talked about, we need to find a new way of working that allows us to deliver more value sooner. That's what we said back in the day. It was we and we had this agile executive team that was comprised of IT leaders, marketing, operations, sales, you know, finance, they were all part of an Agile team. Now this is getting into the lpm side of things, but essentially, that we was we the business, business unit, the business of cybersecurity, not we we work for it or we we work for for sales, or we we work for marketing or operations. And so, you know, we've got to find a way to get there and so I say moving beyond, because you have to get there and then you can move beyond it. Once again. It's not it's not a toggle switch. And by the way, lots of lots of content here, lots of thoughts here. If you've got questions, feel free to and please do put them into the q&a section. I am I do want to have time to answer questions and quite frankly, answering your your questions is oftentimes more interesting than hearing me. You know, kind of opine on things that I'm passionate about. So if you've got questions, please do put them in the q&a and we'll make sure we get to those. All right, so I think we talked about flexible framework. We talked about new ways of working, we talked about business and technology. Next one is leadership engagement. Right? And so, you know, you've got to have some level of leadership engagement to get the best out of SAFe now to even implement it. You need some sort of leadership support, right things that you hear when I when I go into a client and there's kind of two types of work we do is SAFe, we kind of do the hey let's let's let's accelerate our path to success. So we'll work with the company will come in we'll partner with them and help them benefit from all the you know, all the scars and bumps and bruises we've taken over the years as a team of people here to play framework so that they can get up and running and get the benefit out of the framework as soon as possible in a way that's sustainable. The other model that we use is oftentimes for kind of helping reinvigorate a company that's already been on that same journey. And one of the things that we'll hear in the latter case is yeah, we have leadership support. Well, what about engagement? What do you mean, right? And so the things we'll hear on a supportive leadership, you know, supportive executive leadership, you hear things like, yeah, they endorsed the implementation. They, you know, they're, you know, we tell we briefed them on our success. You know, they've, they've, they've assigned somebody to lead the implementation. They've, you know, they've approved the expenses for training or approved the expenses for consultants. You know, they they don't really and at the end of the day, they don't really see a need to understand the way of working they just want to see it done. You know, sometimes you'll hear even give you the say, give me a playbook. I want to save playbook, right? That's a different animal in engagement. Engagement is where you've got an actual leader in your enterprise leading the implementation, and that leading doesn't have to mean every day down in the weeds. In a backlog, but they lead this they understand it, right. They see the progress and the success themselves. They cultivate a sense of shared ownership of the implementation among themselves, their peers and everybody. It's we are doing this together, right? You know, training is not not just funded training is encouraged, right. And it's a focus on the quality of learning experience. You know, we have some clients that will say, you know, I really don't care if they get this certification or not. We just want them to really learn and absorb this stuff. Right. We'll usually tell them, hey, well, you want the certification too. But, you know, that just is so much more rewarding than we're competing for. We're competing for a contract and it requires that our people are SAFe certified, how out inexpensive. Can you train all our 100 people so that we can say they're SAFe, certified? Not not something that gets me up in the morning. Right? And so that support versus engagement is important, and it's his spirit of let's do this together, right. And they strive to understand the principles and the practices. If anybody kind of knows where my talks have been in the past, I'm very passionate about SPCs and I'm very passionate about lpm. Well, the latter lpm that's where executives move from, from understanding that there's this framework being implemented to actually experiencing it themselves. And they get to see those values and principles and action themselves. Yeah, so you know, see Rob ram here saying, you know, leadership engagements, the most critical success factor for SAFe right I mean, and, and so, but once again, you are where you are, right? And if you're just starting out with SAFe, you may not have leadership engagement. And part of this is, you know, what I learned over the years is a two to two tips I have for coaching coaching executives. One is don't be like a puppy on their leg, right? They're a person like anybody else. They've got different responsibilities, but don't get all starry eyed and who I'm working with as SVP now who I'm working with the CEO, right, leave that off the table. The second thing is, solve a problem for them and guess what? You get to solve another one. Right? And that's how you build that relationship. That's how you grow engagement. Now, sometimes they've done that in the past, and they're gonna engage from the beginning, but sometimes you have to show them what's why it's valuable, why it matters and prove it to them. And you can do that with small wins and you know, lots of different topics off that's a separate topic, on all the different ways you can get in there.

    Laura Caldie  47:46

    You know, it's a separate topic, but it's very much about the point of sustainable SAFe, to keep it sustainable to make it a sustainable thing, understanding the objectives of the leaders and in some cases it is profitability. If you understand how to connect up those dots, then it becomes totally irrelevant. And I think that it's a combination of your work with SAFe six Dotto. It's the combination of your work with lpm. It's the addition of all of the Agile product management leadership that that it's kind of part of what you're bringing the energy to reinvigorating SAFe or sustainable SAFe it's now you have all these extra pieces of the SAFe six Dotto and when you layer in that that conversation around profitability because there are a number of leaders where that is how they're compensated. That is the measure of whether the organization is going in the right direction or not. That's where the sustainable SAFe concept, I think becomes so powerful.

    Phil Gardiner  48:41

    I you know, it's funny, I'm kind of skipping around on that. Yeah, it's so one of the one of the cornerstones of that at&t Success Story was their chief marketing officer. Showing up at one of their first PI System demos at one of their first i n A's. And after seeing what they what they had delivered, seeing this, this actual, you know, being demonstrated from a production equivalent staging environment, not from some DevOps dev box. He said, Okay, you've delivered more now than you did the entire previous calendar year. You got my attention. And that one statement, unlocked so many possibilities and funding possibilities. And and the reality is, is this was in early May. So they had they had delivered more to market in four months. than they had the entire previous calendar year with the old way of working. And you know, how quickly you can get to that type of milestone right? So that type of example, and you know, and I'll be blunt, I was I was leaving my house at six in the morning and I was getting home at eight o'clock at night five days a week for 11 months. And I started in I got started that I started doing that at the end of November. We launched the art in late January, early February, for that particular art and I had several other coaches working it was it was a full time thing and and everybody was in the SVP, the officer the company danessa She was all in her staff was all in it was it was a tremendously accelerated journey because they needed to turn this this business unit around and they did successfully. My point being though is that you know, if you don't get there in four or five months, that's okay to write, you know, know where you're at and where you're going and once again, it's that balance right and if you don't have the if you don't have the if you don't have the funding to be able to get a bunch of people in there that's okay to start where you start right and and going back to this, I think that the topic, we're talking about their product management, you know, what I've learned is product management in many enterprises is is just a taste of what's possible, right? I mean, at one end of the spectrum, you've got somebody who's basically collecting requests through ServiceNow and pasting them into a template. Right? And that's consistent. That's a product manager. The other side of that spectrum, you've got some of the awesome stuff happening out there. I'm not gonna mention any company names, where they understand their markets. They've got user research, they've got market segmentation, they've built out personas and they're looking at and now they're looking at pricing and pricing strategy and all those things right. Well, that's not a toggle switch either. And so when it comes to sustainable SAFe, right, cultivating for growing, growing, the product management and lpm competencies is ultimately going to be necessary to to get past a ceiling you'll hit if you don't have those and product owner product management's a great starting point, right, or cspo. If you're a scrum shop, you know, that's a great starting point, but you have to move beyond that. And with portfolio management, it's about thinking about every company out there that still in business knows how to manage a portfolio to some degree, right? So it's not about saying, Hey, you're doing it wrong. It's about are there ways to do it better? Are there ways to leverage lean and agile in your portfolio space? And you know, for there, it's about this mindset shift, instead of looking at your portfolio as a list of projects, you're going to execute, look at it as list of opportunities you're going to explore and invest in and IT investments not working to keep your money they're probably not. So building that way of working allows you to pivot which there's two more to go here. Yeah, we're talking

    Laura Caldie  52:27

    about cultivating the capabilities of internal change agents. I think that's another one you love to, you know, support. A whole series

    Phil Gardiner  52:35

    on that one, right? I'm an SPC. I'm an SPC. Now what? Right, that whole journey of the SPC. I don't want to get into too deep there, but I'll just say that I truly believe that it's a tenant of sustainable SAFe if you do not have individuals inside your company that can Shepherd this new way of working and help you keep going. You're going to hit a ceiling. You're going to you know, it will impact your profitability. I mean, I'll tell you, a TNT paid more for 11 months of me as a consultant than they did for 16 years of me as an employee. Right. I think as consultants, you know, there, it's not designed to keep your consultant for eight years, right? I mean, this is something where, you know, you want people to empower your people and help them get going but then they need to take it from there. And so, you know, partner with those have gone before is a great accelerant and a great investment. But you've got to invest in the growth of your people because you need that expertise inside and I still to this day, believe that part of the reason I was as effective as I was going back to at&t as a consultant is that I I was able to harness the power of being an internal employee with the power of being an external consultant, because there's things that one can do that the other can't. And I don't believe that internal change agents in can do this as well by themselves, especially from the from the beginning. I also don't believe that external consultants can do it extremely well by themselves, either you've got to have that, that that partnership, and eventually, as you get that capability inside your internal SPCs and change agents, you don't need to rely on the outside people can be phone friends. And the last one, you know, this is kind of, you know, tying it up here from a profit streams perspective and go to profit data And we'll learn about that. But ultimately, I'll say this profit is the language that your business execs speak. And you know, I went to at a an event recently at the summit where a bunch of SPC tees and others got together one of the concepts there was how do we engage with business leaders? Well, one of those is speak their language. You know, if you're trying to talk to a finance executive, and you know, you don't know what EBITA is, you're already you may have already lost right there. You know, there's books out there on finance for non financial managers, you know, fact Jason and Luke, who won't apply frameworks, they sent him to all of us so we could read read that I got it around here somewhere. And you're really being able to speak this this language that those people who are looking at allowing you to keep your lights on and keep investing in keep growing is important, right? And the thing is, how much money is left on the table? So we have to understand how do we actually if we're, if we're, if we're a for profit company, how do we turn value into not just revenue but actual profitability? And what does that look like over time? How do we model it out? How do we maximize the amount of profit we're getting? Because I think I'll close with this. JC one of one of the people I worked with, he shared that their company since implementing SAFe a few years ago to the tune of three years ago. They they provide 30 A third of the revenue for the globe in North America and their North American region, but 50% of the profit. Everything you share with me is his IT budget has been completely fixed for for three years, three or four years now. And so doing more with less is part of this and understanding how to maximize get return on investment, right? A 33% of the revenue and 33% of the profits a different story than 33% of the revenue and 50% of the profit. So there's ways that you can do this and you can you can really make a joy you know, people love working with them so much that they've had 2% attrition, since starting SAFe. And so there's a connection here between, you know, retaining your employees and having an amazing place to work and delighting your customers with being profitable and so don't be afraid to talk about profitability.

    Laura Caldie  56:40

    Yeah, so I don't know if we have any other questions. We have a couple minutes that we can take them but and by the way, if we don't get to answer the question that we do, answer it in the email that we send out to follow up that includes a link to the recording and things like that. So it's not a waste of time to post a question, because it will get answered somehow.

    Phil Gardiner  56:57

    And like I said, If you end if you end up having you know, I mean, this is this is new, it's as you could tell, it's, it's a it's something I'm very passionate about. If you've got suggestions for for a topic or for a speaker, you know, based on what you've heard today, shoot me an email, you know, fill in applied You know, I'm looking at at doing some, some webinars around, you know, like, hey, how do you engage the business or engaged in the business through lpm? You know, I'm looking at potentially doing a webinar with with Dima the awesome lpm thought leader and scaled agile around lpm for the whole business. You know what does good look like? How do you get there? You know, engage the business by speaking profit, right? The power of agile product management, you know, all those types of things. So, thank you very much for your for your time. If you have any questions, please do send them.


    Laura Caldie  57:51

    Yeah, just to let everyone know that some of the resources that that Phil talked about are available on the applied frameworks website. So there's a bunch of webinar recordings in that SPC journey. There's one focusing on profit as well. So that could be an interesting one when you're thinking about sustainability, and those conversations that that you want to be having with business leaders. There's an upcoming SPC course, early December, and then you know, some of the things that Phil talked about, I think they're written about in that blog article that you wrote Phil about six Dotto. And so I think the combination of these things can be really helpful but there's a lot of resources on the website.

    Phil Gardiner  58:30

    And we will we will be I don't have it yet. But I'm working with some of our SPCC candidates here to apply frameworks to look at getting a couple classes out there beyond this awesome implementing SAFe class that we've got with Travis Moore and Jennifer Fossett one of the the oh geez at scaled, agile and lpm class, and and we'll kind of go from there. So thank you again, and look forward to the next the next series next episode in the series.

    Laura Caldie  58:55

    Yeah, Phil, thank you so much for doing this. It's, you know, I think it was a really nice overview and like you said, you'll be going deeper in some of the areas here so if anyone has questions we'd love to hear thank you everyone for being here. And we'll keep you posted on the schedule of the next one. So we'll be sending that information out as soon as we organize our schedule. Thanks everybody. All right. Thanks. Everybody. Thank you Phil.

    Phil Gardiner

    As leader of Applied Frameworks’ SAFe Practice, Phil is responsible for large-scale transformations and guiding change agents as they learn to apply the Scaled Agile Framework. Phil has served as a leader, coach, and consultant at some of the world’s largest companies as well as government organizations such as the US Department of Defense. Prior to becoming a consultant in 2015, Phil spent sixteen years at AT&T as a leader and internal change agent, working to bring products and services to market faster through the use of technology and Lean-Agile methodologies. Phil is a SAFe Fellow, and a Certified SAFe Program Consultant Trainer® (SPCT), one of less than 100 people who hold this certification globally. He is an active collaborator within the Scaled Agile Community and is cited as a subject matter expert in a variety of topics including Lean Portfolio Management and Agile Product Management. In addition to his SAFe expertise, Phil is an agile coach with experience in a variety of other Lean-Agile methodologies and approaches.

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