Getting on the SAFe® train with ABB

3 april, 2020

Recently Kristina Rosén from Frontit guided Grid Integration, a unit within ABB Power Grids, through their PI Planning event. Grid Integration started their SAFe® journey four years ago and have had PI planning events every quarter since then, but to accelerate improvements decided to bring in Kristina.

Clarens Jonsson, Technology Manager, says -The SAFe® methodology creates transparency which gives Alignment. Alignment, in turn, provides the opportunity for the business to change, from what the teams can deliver to creating the conditions for the teams to be able to deliver what business need.

– This is the second PI planning that Kristina Rosén from Frontit has guided us through and it is running smoother every time, says Mattias Rahm, Product Owner in a team called Orange. – We are accumulating important information and following the process, making our goals visible and transparent with the other teams.

– It’s important to remember that a load of 100% is not realistic or even effective, says Kristina Rosén. It is important that the teams can deliver everything theycommit to and still have possibilities to handle unexpected opportunities and risks that may occur during the increment. And, of course, any expected time for maintenance or other activities must be considered and excluded from available capacity.

– We have accomplished what we set out to do in the PI planning, says Karin Thorburn, who works on the release train level and facilitates the PI event. The teams are doing a great job! All in all, we have had better guidance in following the SAFe® methodology and are pleased to see that the teams have managed to prioritize and choose the mostimportant features for the organization.

During the final stages of the PI planning, Kristina and Karin starta round of check-ins with all teams. First up is a team in India. The meeting is held via Skype and the team gets help to handle 2-3 changes and highlight specific risks for the final plan. Also the dependencies with other teams and their features are updated on the program board.

– One of the greatest benefits of the SAFe® methodology is that the teams discuss and agree on features, it’s transparent and communicated. The final plan will give everyone involved alignment of what is to be done and when, says Kristina Rosén.

The SAFe® methodology continuously evolves and organizations might therefore need training also after the implementation, in order to accelerate the continuous learning and continuous improvement mindset. Kristina says that it is sometimes more challenging to coach an organization in the improvements than introducing the SAFe® methodology to a new organization byfollowing the SAFe® Implementation Roadmap.

Often companies need adjustments in order to be effective and it is important that those adjustments are made with the SAFe® core values and principles in mind. It is also the best part of being a coach in SAFe® implementations, actively participating in the process improvements and finding the right adjustments for the specific organization.

A group of leading roles – for example Managers, Scrum masters, Product Owners and Architects – have had two days of Leading SAFe® training with Kristina prior to the PI planning event. The training included both the methodology as well as allowing questions and insecurities to be addressed and it becamea very productive training event.

– It was great to have Kristina as a certified SAFe® 5 Program Consultant to handle the questions andguide us through the methodology, says Mattias Rahm. 

-Without her, I don’t think it would have worked. You also notice a real difference between those who have had training and those who haven’t. It was an investment worth every penny.


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