Process Improvement and Small Organizations

Mike HarrisThe article in the March/April 2016 edition of IEEE Software, “Software Process Improvement in Very Small Organizations,” focuses on a topic that any reader with a small organization will find interesting: the fact that very small entities (VSEs) – which have 25 or fewer employees – occupy a large part of the software business. Not only do many VSEs offer software services directly to clients, VSEs often are an outsourced provider for larger organizations, serving as a crucial factor of success.

However, there is no software process framework in place for VSEs. Those commonly used in the industry, such as CMMI and SPICE, are difficult to apply in smaller organizations due to cost, time, or other factors.

As a result, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) collaborated to publish a set of ISO/IEC 29110 standards and guides (available for free at, a widely adopted standard. This document introduced the term VSE and includes process guidelines based on VSE characteristics.

If you read the IEEE article, you’ll find tables summarizing the most common improvement hurdles that VSEs face and the opportunities SPI offers them, based on decades of field experience in multiple countries.

In addition, the authors of the article are in the process of building an “experience factory,” helping VSEs to start process initiatives. VSEs can join the effort or benefit from the findings to-date (for free!).  

Why is this so interesting? Because in any organization – software or not – constant improvement is a necessity. In order to thrive and succeed, an organization must be looking for areas of improvement, best practices to follow, and an increase in quality. The easiest way to achieve that is via a framework that serves as a roadmap for change (like CMMI or the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)). Smaller software organizations have long been at a disadvantage because so many of the available frameworks were not created with them in mind.

This new set of standards and guides allows smaller organizations to reap the benefits of process improvement, while also contributing to the body of knowledge. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Read the article: “Software Process Improvement in Very Small Organizations,” IEEE Software.

Mike Harris

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
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An Introduction to SAFe 4.0

SAFe 4.0 White PaperThe Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is a proven method for implementing Agile across an enterprise. Many organizations may use Agile for some of their teams, but they don’t know how to scale their implementations without losing the benefits. SAFe enables an organization to efficiently and effectively scale Agile.

DCG Software Value is a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) certified partner, and we've helped a number of organizations successfully use SAFe. Of course, when introducing any new framework or concept, it's easy to get caught up in and confused by the details. We've all been there. 

Luckily, Scaled Agile, Inc., the governing body for the framework, has published a clear overview all about the latest version: "SAFe 4.0 Introduction: Overview of the Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Software and Systems Engineering." 

This white paper provides a high-level overview of the framework, including its values, principles, practices, and strategy for implementation. Here's how it may be of use to you:

  • Learn how to apply SAFe for enterprise-class Lean-Agile software and systems development.
  • Learn the basics of SAFe prior to taking a course (e.g. Implementing SAFe 4.0 with SPC4 certification, Leading SAFe 4.0, etc.).
  • Understand SAFe 4.0 in greater detail, especially for those who haven’t taken a 4.0 SAFe class.

Whether you're currently using SAFe, you plan to use it soon, or you're just curious about what it is, the white paper is worth your time. Check it out and let us know what you think - and if you have any questions!

Download Now

Written by Default at 05:00
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What to Expect With SAFe 4.0

We’re pleased to announce the latest version of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has been released –SAFe 4.0 for Lean Software and Systems Engineering!

We are SAFe Silver Partners. This, of course, means that we’re big proponents of the framework (when implemented properly), and as such, we offer SAFe-related training courses, services and consulting.

We also have three certified SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs) in our company: Mike Harris, Tom Cagley and Tony Timbol – all of whom are available to offer SAFe guidance and run SAFe courses. We’re excited to share that they are all now officially certified in SAFe 3.0 and SAFe 4.0, having passed the official exam that covers the latest updates to the framework.

What are those updates? Well, any framework worth its salt is going to appropriately evolve over time based on industry feedback – and SAFe is no exception. Version 4.0 offers a single, more scalable framework that includes new content and guidance to help organizations better organize around value delivery and improve the coordination of value streams and systems.

Some highlights:

  • SAFe now supports both software and systems development.
  • Enterprise Kanban systems manage the flow of work across all levels.
  • The Big Picture is simpler and lighter weight.

We won’t get into all the details here. You can read more about the update on the SAFe website or join Tony Timbol for a webinar on January 21 to review the changes from 3.0 to 4.0. If you have any questions, you can always contact us for more information – we’re always happy to help!

Written by Default at 05:00
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Leading SAFe® in Edinburgh

Scaled Agile Silver PartnerScaling Agile isn't easy - it takes knowledgeable, experienced people to lead the charge. Leading SAFe is a two-day course that provides you with the information you need to successfully apply the Scaled Agile Framework within your organization or team, reaping the benefits of Agile across your organization.

The good news? We're offering a Leading SAFe class in Edinburgh! If scaling Agile is something your organization is considering, this class is imperative - so don't miss out! Registration is limited.

The class will be delivered by Mike Harris, CEO and SAFe Program Consultant.

The Details:

Dates: 8-9 October
Venue: Edinburgh Training & Conference Venue
16 St. Mary's Street
Edinburgh, Scotland

Further information about the class. including payment details, is located here. For more information, or if you have any questions, contact DCG-SMS' Steve Kitching: +44.843.2895174.

Written by Default at 05:00
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DCG Advances to Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe™) Certified Silver Partner

SAFe Silver PartnerWe're happy to announce that we have certified additional members of our team as Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Program Consultants (SPC). As a result, we have advanced to Silver Partner status with Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI), the exclusive certifying entity for the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe).

Over the past year, our SPCs have been involved in numerous SAFe training classes and client engagements, and we're more convinced than ever that the SAFe framework is the best practice for scaling Agile. We're also more aware than ever that the need to scale Agile is prevalent in many organizations, but help is often needed in order to best execute the task.

As a Silver Partner, we're looking forward to expanding our reach and helping more organizations realize and capture the value of SAFe. We have access to proven SAI materials and thought leadership, as well as training curriculums and courseware. If you're not prepared to commit to SAFe yet, we also offer a SAFe Readiness Review (to help your organization determine if (and how) SAFe would work in your specific environment).

The benefits of Agile are undeniable (when implemented properly) - we're excited to help organizations expand those benefits across their teams with the Scaled Agile Framework! If you have any questions about the framework, please do not hesitate to reach out!

Written by Default at 05:00
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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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