Thomas Byrdal Christensen

BEC Poland

Thomas is a Development Director with strong software engineering background, a former senior project manager and Agile Coach, and a proud father of two.

Thomas will present his talk together with Jakub Bażela.

How have we dismantled SAFe in favor of different approaches?

In 2017 BEC financial technologies decided to follow the SAFe agile method and reorganised the entire company into Agile Release Trains and started the transformation into a true SAFe organisation. After 4 years of transformation, a Covid-19 pandemic, and a completely new C-level leadership, we found ourselves with a need of redefining our stance on frameworks and tools being used on team level.

Working in the financial area of mortgages and pensions on a highly regulated Danish market, we need to be very stable and predictable (to be compliant with financial authorities), but on the other hand, we still need to serve fast-pacing changes of requirements coming from more than 20 Danish banks, to ensure their competitiveness and continuity of operations. We initially thought SAFe can be a good idea for our 7 to 9 teams, as a marriage of agility and prescriptiveness - but after more than three years of using it, we still had some questions.

With the new leadership in BEC, and with a strong believe in the core Agile principle of constant adaptation, we grabbed the opportunity to examine our Scaled Agile Framework instance thoroughly during 2021 company transformation.

We wanted to try a simpler approach to Agile, and as the result of our inspection, our part of company became a field of experimentation – either coming back to the classic Scrum for some teams or learning more of Kanban approach in other ones. What we have learned since now and what advice we have for people dreaming of shaking SAFe off, will be presented both from managerial (Thomas) and process (Jakub) point of view.