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SAFe. Engagement and motivation

There are three key elements which contribute to people engagement and motivation when putting the financial factor aside. That is not to say that money is not a motivator but rather that they work in a different way than expected and should be paired with the previous three key aspects.

There are three key elements which contribute to people engagement and motivation when putting the financial factor aside:

  • Having a purpose – supported by the idea of delivering value to customers and society in the end
  • Being able to become experts in their field – supported by allowing emergent architecture, collaboratively designing the solution, being able to constantly innovate etc.
  • Being in control of their environment, being autonomous – the team members all together define, build test and deploy. They are defining and committing to their plans, a lot of the decisions are decentralized allowing them to use the most relevant and fresh information to their best interest.

That is not to say that money is not a motivator but rather that they work in a different way than expected and should be paired with the previous three key aspects.

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Continuous improvement


This is achieved by the fact that at each level, starting from the individual team member up to the Large Solution and the Portfolio, everything follows the Deming cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Adjust). Every actionable item identified during the checking step should be prioritized in the corresponding backlog of each layer and implemented.

SAFe derives these principles and practices from Lean, Agile and System Thinking as the main bodies of knowledge, all three strongly emphasizing the same ideas of optimization, removing waste, constant learning etc. The focus on embracing and modelling the nine SAFe principles continuously drives the improvement of the overall system.

A step forward is taken by replacing “Continuous improvement” with “Relentless improvement” which means that the organization should live with a “constant sense for danger” driving them to anticipate the things that could go wrong in the future and act proactively rather than reactively in fixing them.

The formal ceremonies are also emphasizing and supporting a lot the idea of improvement. We can discuss for instance about the usual team Retrospective meetings but even more relevant are the Inspect&Adapt events where every single program member has the chance to contribute to the improvement of the overall train efficiency. The roles of the SM, RTE and STE (Solution Train Engineer) have a very strong component related to the improvement initiatives by using the built-in opportunities and tools.

At the level of the Portfolio, the LPM guides the entire system improvement initiatives in collaboration with a group of Agile experts called the Lean Agile Center of Excellence and the RTE and SM communities. For each layer SAFe recommends the presence of SAFe Consultants, people who will objectively help in driving a working implementation of the framework.

Related to the quality of the delivered products, the usage of metrics and tools for measuring or performing static and dynamic analysis of the implementation, will drive the efforts to keeping and improving it.

Interested in adopting SAFe in your organization? Check out our SAFe training portfolio.



Iulian Velea 
Technical Project Manager | Certified SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC4)

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