4 Key Takeaways from SAFe Summit 2023 to Lead Your Agile Adoption

Leveraging the future of technology for your digital transformation

Embracing digital transformation today is not only essential but requires more than just simple technology adoption; it necessitates a framework to guide organizations toward better business agility. The SAFe framework plays a pivotal role in enabling organizations to not only adopt Agile practice but also in fostering the necessary cultural shift towards a digital-first mindset.

The SAFe Summit offers a rich tapestry of insights and strategies, providing organizations with a wealth of guidance as they navigate the complex landscape of digital transformation. This year’s summit was not just about embracing new technologies, such as AI, big data, and cloud; it continuously emphasized a profound need for a cultural shift toward a digital-first mindset. SAFe Summit 2023 in Nashville shed light on the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for achieving business agility, fostering collaboration, ensuring sustainability, and optimizing value stream management in an increasingly digital world.

Here are some of the key takeaways from this year’s SAFe Summit:

1. Drive business forward through digital transformation by leveraging the future of technology

The importance of digital transformation continues to be key in SAFe Summits. Organizations must embrace the power of new technology, such as AI, big data, and cloud, and innovate to stay competitive and relevant in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. AI is quickly weaving its way through our industry and proving that it is a driving force for accelerating business agility. Petrobras and FedEx demonstrated that successful companies don’t merely utilize digital tools, but fundamentally become digital in their approach, operations, and mindset — a necessity for shaping future competitiveness.

The pervasive challenge is scaling Agile transformations across the enterprise, which requires a comprehensive adoption of new solutions and changes across the entire organization. Embracing SAFe and AI leads to business agility, and the right tool can help make implementation easier.

2. Cultivate a culture of collaboration, adaptability, and openness for continuous improvement

Echoes of cultural shifts within organizations to foster collaboration, adaptability, and openness to change rang throughout each corner of the Summit. Digital transformation isn’t solely a technological challenge; it’s about fostering a culture that embraces innovation and continuous improvement.

Dean Leffingwell, SAFe creator/chief methodologist of Scaled Agile, voiced that this cultural shift involves breaking down silos, encouraging cross-functional collaboration, and promoting psychological safety to facilitate open discussions and learning from mistakes. Calling on SAFe’s ninth Lean-Agile principle, Decentralize Decision-Making, is essential for achieving value in sustainable timeframes, improving product development flow, and encouraging innovation. Creating the right environment is crucial, with leaders ensuring clarity and competence among decision-makers while adapting the balance between centralized and decentralized approaches as the dynamic nature of work unfolds. Successful transformations require alignment from top leadership to grassroots team members, emphasizing shared responsibility, accountability, and trust.

A focus on developing talent was underscored, emphasizing the importance of nurturing innovative mindsets and adapting to change. The need to strategically develop talent, both internally and through skill-based hiring, is important to effectively harness the potential of emerging technologies like AI. The SAFe framework promotes teamwork, efficient communication, and a common language across all levels.

3. Sustainability is the catalyst for profitability and innovation

Sustainability has the power to drive profitability while fostering emotional connections with customers. Jeremy Schwartz, former CEO of L’Oréal, The Body Shop, Pandora, and former CMO of Coca-Cola, discussed the three perspectives on sustainability: championing it for profit and planet, focusing on personal benefit, and remaining passive. The right focus on moving beyond cost reduction and addressing real societal issues will create unique competitive advantages. A case study about Sainbury’s Schwartz mentioned in his keynote showcased how aligning initiatives with customer values ultimately led to an improvement in profit and sustainability. The message was clear: sustainability is a catalyst for innovation, emotional resonance, and financial success. Our commitment to Lean methodologies goes beyond waste reduction; it involves bettering our processes in line with sustainable values.

4. Streamline value delivery through flow management is priority

The refreshed spotlight on flow and value stream management was evident throughout the subjects of numerous breakout sessions. Ensuring the flow of value stream management remains free of delays and bottlenecks is critical to an organization’s ability to deliver value to customers quickly and effectively.

Mik Kersten, CTO of Planview, creator of Flow Metrics, and author of Project to Product, highlights an exciting thought on how AI will accelerate flow. His concept is that “value stream agents,” or tools to create the change, will automatically manage and optimize the flow of work, removing burdens from the system and ensuring efficient value delivery. He mentions that these agents can help in a variety of areas, such as automating flow optimizations, managing roadmaps, and even making architectural decisions. By leveraging AI, organizations can dynamically balance their workloads, streamline processes, and prioritize value-driven outcomes — resulting in faster and more efficient value delivery.

Accelerate your digital transformation

Apptio Targetprocess is a leading Enterprise Agile Planning solution that allows organizations to dynamically plan and manage work, resources, investments, and portfolios all aligned to the enterprise strategy from a single source of truth. The combination of Apptio Targetprocess’ flexible architecture and Solution Library allows organizations to customize the framework to their unique processes while achieving faster time-to-value for the many benefits of SAFe 6.0.

The right tool will help your organization implement SAFe with ease to navigate the changes and complexities of SAFe 6.0, enabling a smoother transition to a more agile and value-driven approach to enterprise planning and management. Learn more about implementing SAFe.

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