Microsoft Azure Devops is a popular cloud-based platform for managing source code, builds, packages, and CI/CD pipeline for development teams. Its board-based views provide a simple interface for managing team-level backlogs, sprint planning, and tactical execution.
While Azure DevOps board-based interface is suitable for use by developers, it was never intended to support large-scale strategic planning across the enterprise. It lacks native support for SAFe-based concepts, such as strategic themes or lean budgeting, and is not designed for tracking progress across enterprise wide portfolios. Visualizations and reports are limited, so organizations resort to manual exports of Azure DevOps data into tools like Excel or Powerpoint. This allows them to build reports and high-level roadmaps to track portfolio progress across multiple release trains or complex solutions.
To overcome these obstacles, organizations often cobble together homegrown solutions by using Azure DevOps work items with added text-based tags used to associate similar work-items. They may organize their work using “Area Paths” for rolling up data, or use 3rd-party extensions to aggregate data to support SAFe-based planning and tracking processes. These workarounds can create more problems than they solve and cannot resolve the core issue: Azure DevOps was never intended to handle large-scale agile portfolio planning based on SAFe.
At Targetprocess, it’s a different story. We have evolved our core architecture, native work items, and data structure to natively support SAFe and its strategic planning processes. Our Solution Library is continuously updated and includes pre-built templates with visualizations and reports to help organizations transform to SAFe-based planning and implementation. More importantly, we provide a bi-directional integration with team-based tools like Azure DevOps, so developers have the option to continue using the team-based tools they are familiar with, while business owners and portfolio managers can use Targetprocess to perform SAFe-based strategic planning across the entire organization.
The key to extending Azure DevOps to support SAFe is to allow teams to continue managing their day-to-day activities as they do today, but ensuring the status and progress of their tactical execution work is always aligned with the strategic planning and prioritization of the business teams. Connecting Azure DevOps to Targetprocess makes this easy. As business epics and solutions are communicated and shared with teams before and during PI planning, teams can visually identify and manage any dependencies as they plan the work.
When tactical execution begins, the teams can track all their work in Azure DevOps – just as they do today. As their work progresses, the business users and release train engineers can use Targetprocess to automatically view work item status and progress, adjust forecasts and visualize roadmap progress at the program, solution or portfolio levels. As business plans and prioritizations change, updates can be made in Targetprocess and then immediately be pushed down to the dev teams using Azure DevOps, keeping everyone aligned. This ensures everyone always has an up-to-date picture of status and progress – from team, to program, to portfolio levels.