Using Management 3.0 with SAFe

At McKenna Consultants, we are evangelistic about experimenting with new ideas, mixing them with old ones and cherry picking our favourite or most effective ideas from a variety of frameworks, methods and practices. We are not bound to any particular body or framework, instead we opt to implement the best flavour of ideas for each individual customer.

Recently, we have been working with a customer to implement the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) to work in their environment. As we have begun to get the Agile Release Train (ART) working effectively, we have been discussing how we keep the momentum and enthusiasm up after PI Planning, how to give the teams more authority and autonomy, how to continue to scale, how to continue to learn and experiment and ultimately how to continue to get better. This has gone on to lead us on the road to implementing some of the Management 3.0 ideas.

McKenna Consultants have been running SAFe implementations since the start of 2015 and are running a Management 3.0 two day training course at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th November.

The 6 Main Themes In Management 3.0

The more that we looked into the main ideas of Management 3.0, we quickly realised that Management 3.0 and SAFe could complement one another. The 6 main themes in Management 3.0 (from Martie, the Management 3.0 Model) are:

1. Energise People
2. Empower Teams
3. Align Constraints
4. Develop Competence
5. Grow Structure
6. Improve Everything

Martie, the Management 3.0 Model
Martie, the Management 3.0 Model

Here is a summary of how we have seen some of the ideas from Management 3.0 fit within an organisation implementing SAFe.

1. Energise People

It is now widely accepted that a happy team is a productive team. In Management 3.0, the five criteria that have been identified to energise people are: knowledge, creativity, motivation, diversity and personality.

We find that SAFe provides many opportunities to energise people. Attending PI Planning can help to align people to the goals of the company and department. Working on an Agile Release Train (ART) with 100 other like-minded professionals and having fun with new ideas and prototypes whilst planning for the upcoming Program Increment during the Innovation and Planning (IP) sprint also provides a welcome boost. Many of the ideas in Management 3.0 can be sampled within this environment. The CEO of a telecommunications company that we are implementing SAFe with uses the “No Door Policy”, choosing to have his desk smack in the middle of the developers.

SAFe Principle number 8 – “Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers” – explores at how to motivate knowledge and creative, workers, referencing some of the work by Dan Pink on autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Energise People - Workout Quote (
Energise People – Workout Quote (

2. Empower Teams

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs.

If you have ever been fortunate enough to attend or be an integral part of a PI Planning event within the SAFe framework, you will probably agree that it is one of the most empowering, motivating and creative events that you can hold for your teams. Empowerment is a key theme that you see throughout SAFe, from PI Planning, to the encouragement of the decentralisation of decision making (SAFe Principle #9).

Figuring out with decisions to decentralise can be tough activity to get right. However, if you look at Management 3.0, how about using delegation poker with your teams to find the best solution of you?

Empower Teams - Workout Quote
Empower Teams – Workout Quote (

3. Align Constraints

In SAFe, we align everyone on the train around the portfolio vision and strategic themes. These are communicated at PI Planning and continually promoted through vision statements, posters and company intranet messages. It is essential in SAFe to have this bigger picture, higher purpose and shared goal in order to not only focus everyone on the same goal, but to also provide motivation, guidance and a sense of achievement.

Align Constraints - Workout Quote
Align Constraints – Workout Quote (

4. Develop Competence

In Develop Competence, Management 3.0 explores how we assess the competence of an organisation. Jurgen Appelo recommends to measure multiple dimensions (people, tools, functionality, quality, time, process and value) as there is no one true maturity metric that can summarise this.

If you take a look at the SAFe Big Picture, you will see metrics present at the Program Level, governance in the Program Portfolio Management team and scrum and Kanban at the team level, providing further opportunities to gather data.

During PI Planning, business owners are encouraged to assign relative business value to the teams’ objectives as they go. An experiment with one team who were struggling with identifying PI Objectives during PI Planning led to us subtly suggesting that we use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). This worked great and led to us having real, measurable objectives, with the perceived business value too.

We have also begun to use the 360-degree meeting as an alternative to the dreading annual appraisal with some of our more open and honest teams!

Develop Competence - Workout Quote
Develop Competence – Workout Quote (

5. Grow Structure

SAFe is aimed at managing large software development systems, so scaling is natural to it. It is important to remember that there is no one size fits all. McKenna Consultants have been involved in multiple SAFe adoptions as still have not led 2 the same. SAFe, is a framework, not a prescription and will grow and evolve naturally.

Management 3.0 also identifies “Generalising Specialists”, people who do one thing really well and are good enough at some other jobs. This is also known as T shaped people, or even related to that of a feature (cross functional) team.

Grow Structure - Workout Quote
Grow Structure – Workout Quote (

6. Improve Everything

SAFe has many opportunities for transparency, inspection and to adapt. Transparency is one of the Core Values of SAFe. There are team level retrospectives, Program Level Inspect and Adapt workshops and PI Planning retrospectives. All of these events provide opportunities to reflect, learn and celebrate small successes when necessary. One of the key things that leads to constantly improving everything is to maintain a separate “improvement backlog” of Stories of improvements for the team to implement. During Sprint Planning, the teams allocate some of these items to be improved during the next Sprint.

Improve Everything - Workout Quote
Improve Everything – Workout Quote (

Experimenting With Management 3.0 & SAFe

McKenna Consultants believe that you should adopt the best bits of multiple ideas, concepts and frameworks to find what is the best fit for you and your organisation. The more that you experiment, inspect and adapt, the quicker you will excel as an organisation.

McKenna Consultants can help you tackle these big questions. Check out our range of Agile services.