SAFe and the Sparx Architecture Platform

SAFe is a reference architecture that represents a set of processes, roles and decisions that enable organizations to effectively manage agile, scrum and DevOps activities across their organization. It addresses the challenges of empowering self-directed teams while ensuring alignment to enterprise wide strategies, objectives, policies and standards. 

The Sparx Architecture Management Platform provides a set of powerful capabilities to support your SAFe implementation and agile development activities. 

architecture analysis and portfolio management

Portfolio Management

Starting with strategy articulation, Sparx Systems EA enables you to model out your organization’s goals objectives and strategic initiatives in a way that your executives easily understand. This strategy is further articulated into a portfolio canvas to aggregate the various components of each portfolio. The portfolio canvas enables architects and business analysts to clearly articulate the scope of a portfolio to help executives understand what they are investing in and delivery teams to understand the context of their activities.

Dynamic roadmaps enable leaders to see all the activities taking place within a portfolio or across the company. A portfolio Kanban board enables the tracking of individual scope items through the portfolio management process with an interactive status tracking capability that is directly tied to the solution components that are being developed by technical teams. 

Managing User Stories

One of the most powerful tools that SAFe provides to the organization is a common language and taxonomy for defining scope and activities across the company. Sparx EA enables you to define Epics and Features aligned to your company strategy and decompose them into the user stories that your agile teams need to deliver. Many teams leverage agile management tools like Jira to support agile delivery teams. 

Sparx EA can be integrated with tools like Jira, Release One, Rally and Azure DevOps (formerly TFS) to enable user stories to be managed and articulated within Jira and those user stories (and their supporting attributes) can be linked directly to the enterprise and solution architecture model elements in Sparx EA. Whether you choose to define and elaborate user stories in a tool like Jira or directly in EA, the data is connected, giving you the big picture view of your organization 

Managing User Stories
BIZBOK Foundation

Agile Backlog Management and Dependency Mapping

Orchestrating agile development activities across the organization requires backlog management activities to take place at multiple layers. SAFe provides the approach for how to do this, but one of the biggest challenges is tracking dependencies between user stories and individual activities to ensure Epics and features are delivered completely. Sparx EA’s robust dependency management capabilities give your architects and delivery teams the ability to map and trace relationships between use cases, linkages between agile development work and the solutions they produce, and technical dependencies amongst solution components. 

Leveraging Sparx Systems to support dependency management enables you to deliver better product quality and reduce delivery risk by connecting agile delivery directly into your architecture and encourages component re-use which reduces technical debt and accelerates time to value. Instead of creating new product features (things like technical capabilities, functions, messages and user roles) components can be cataloged and leveraged across distributed agile efforts. You can’t do this at enterprise scale if you are drawing flowcharts in Visio or PowerPoint. 

Stakeholder Collaboration

SAFe and other agile methodologies require a significant amount of collaboration between technical staff and business stakeholders. Facilitating this collaboration is often difficult because the toolsets different team members use to perform their tasks are highly specialized. Scrum leaders, project managers and business analysts use agile management tools like Jira and Confluence to define and manage work packages and user stories. Agile software development and DevOps staff use engineering systems like Azure DevOps (formerly TFS) to design, build, test and deploy technical solutions. Architects use modeling tools like Sparx EA to map out dependencies amongst solution components and relationships to business operations and company strategy.

The Prolaborate solution from Sparx Systems enables you to aggregate information from all of the systems that support your Agile team and present them in consolidated, curated dashboards that explain the big picture to executives and stakeholders and provide the ability to drill down into the relationships and details that team members need to collaborate effectively. Discussion features, polling and review workflows enable project stakeholders to review and provide feedback directly against the architecture models, user stories and work products – giving you real-time collaboration, even if your team is geographically distributed

Agile and SAFe on the Sparx Architecture Platform

  • Sparx Enterprise Architect modeling tools
  • Integration with Jira via Pro Cloud Server
  • Prolaborate collaboration platform for sharing architecture content with stakeholders

SAFe and Agile Enablement Services from Sparx Services North America

Sparx Enterprise Architect supports out of the box SAFe requirements like collaboration, tracking and reporting or traceability of requirement. For the rest we are there to support you.

  • Assistance in defining and modeling your company’s SAFe processes, roles and enabling systems
  • Integrating the Sparx Architecture Platform with your Agile Development, ITSM and Engineering systems
  • Guidance in integrating different methodologies with SAFe (such as TOGAF, ArchiMate & BIZBOK)
  • Training for your organization or individual teams on Requirements Management, Decision Modeling, Business Process Modeling, Solution Architecture and Model Based Systems Engineering
  • Mentoring for project teams, agile teams and individuals with best practices to improve productivity