Let me start by describing my experiences working with Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe methodology for more than a year. I’ve noticed an improvement in what we deliver to our users compared to traditional project methodologies. To give some context of the approach, we have an onsite planning meeting of two days every ten weeks called PI Planning (program increment), where we plan, prioritize and estimate the delivery of the features divided by user stories in a cadence of two weeks sprint. The business is in that meeting as well, so it helps us with the prioritization. It’s fantastic to see the priority values that people from the business assign to each feature that from IT perspective are not important at all.
One of the most critical aspects of the framework is that every two weeks we engage the users to see and verify what we produce. These meetings allow us to make any corrections based on the comments of the users and, during the next sprint adjust and deliver again. It’s compelling because you can see the increments in the overall software that you are producing every two weeks. Agile methodologies go very well when you have more unknowns than knowns, so every sprint that can be up to four weeks, you can discover the path to what is needed and the users are engaged from the beginning.
To give an example of other project approaches like the waterfall, the user has an interaction with the system that was developed too late in the game and then changes are tough to make because everything is already built and takes too much time and money, this is one of the reasons why projects fail. Also, Scrum takes one-tenth the amount of effort that is required compared to when using a waterfall approach. From a velocity perspective agile software development progress seven times faster than traditional methods.
To conclude, I also have a lot of successful experiences using waterfall methods for implementation projects of ERPs as well, but I don’t remember one that wasn’t painful, in all of them I had to work nights or even whole weekends to deliver.
Scaled Agile Framework (2017) What is SAFe? Available at: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/what-is-safe/ (Accessed: November 2018)
Rubin, K (2013) Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. Ann Arbor, Michigan. Addison-Wesley.