Version One - Good Tool to implement SAFe
Overall Satisfaction with VersionOne
since Jira do not provide safe support, Version one has been chosen among other tools such as AgileCraft & rally.
Version one supports safe i.e Strategic
themes, budgeting, WSJF prioritization, PI planning, roadmaps, safe metrics, continuous delivery etc.
Also VersionOne can support any configuration of SAFe & it is pretty easy to configure.
At team level we use it for release planning, sprint
planning, test management & active collaboration since teams were distributed.
Team rooms & planning rooms were very helpful to keep team focused & track progress.
- For Distributed teams, collaboration is the biggest concern. So in Version one there is awesome feature for collaboration, called ‘Conversations’ which can be used by teams to discuss work and ideas. It helps in keeping all stakeholders at same page & enhances transparency.
- To track forward & backward dependencies, it has feature called Visualization which lets you trace all project activities through multiple levels to see how stories are related and can help you in identifying blocking issues/impediments.
- Integrates well with GitHub so whenever new build is triggered, the build version is updated to the story on Version One. So its keeps everyone updated & no need to send mails/release notes after the deployments.
- It provides good support for continuous improvement, the basic requirement for scrum teams as it has feature called “Ideas" - an idea submission and voting platform for team members.
- I also found the goal page very useful, here you can list the goals for the team & leadership and track which goals are completed & which are in progress.
- The team room feature offer a place to see team backlog, a storyboard for the current sprint & task board for the current sprint. This feature is there in AgileCraft s well & I found it very useful.
- For sizing the stories, it includes the mini-game 'Estimably' which helps teams estimate stories anonymously. Anonymously is the key here.
- Tracking team progress is easy using Sprint Tracking feature & Task board. Sprint Tracking shows the total estimates, capacity, completed hours, etc. & Task board shows which story is done, in progress & not started.
- Set up is a little complicated when compared to other tools.
- Version one comes with lot of features like Rally but here we don’t get customization which is there in Jira, where from workflow to issue everything can be customized based on your team/program/portfolio requirements.
- I found it bit slow specifically when a particular story has test, documents tagged/attached to it.
- Lot of navigation to access basic stuff. Example: if I want to go to bug attachment , there are lot of clicks & navigation need to do which should be pretty straightforward I feel.
- Test Management need improvement in terms of tracking tests, team had hard time tracking regression test cases.
- Support desk is not good , if contacted they will confuse you more, better google the thing you want to do rather than connecting with support desk.
- We were able to implement SAFe successfully using Version One tool. It awesome support for safe practices like Strategic themes, budgeting, WSJF prioritization, PI planning, roadmaps, safe metrics, continuous delivery makes the difference.
- Leadership is able to track critical programs using version one. Also 40+ agile metrics provides good view to leadership on progress of their critical initiatives & they were able to take right decisions based on the current state of program.
- The collaboration tools like Conversations & integration with slack helped in effective distributed team collaboration by keeping all stakeholders at same page.
- It allows top leadership to visualize and report their strategic plans, giving all stakeholders the relevant data that they need to stay dedicated to the program priorities.
Though I personally found Rally better equipped but Rally was rejected due to its higher cost.
AgileCraft & Version One provides many common features i.e Team Rooms, Planning Rooms, Capabilities Kanban, Road mapping but Version One support for collaboration tools & its seamless integration with GitHub played key role in going with Version One.
Scenarios where it works well:
1) Retros can be very well facilitated & notes/action items
can be captured against the sprint.
2) Product Owner can effectively track the story
progress with all the test-cases, design etc.
3) Being good scaling support, it provides good visibility
across multiple teams, programs and agile portfolios, providing a centralized
environment where all our stakeholders can easily work together regardless of location.
4) It provides easy tracking all of your epics,
stories, themes, defects, tasks, tests and issues
5) I like its intuitive UI as for moving stories
around, burning hours.
6) It allows top leadership to visualize
and report their strategic plans, giving all stakeholders the relevant data
that they need to stay dedicated to the project priorities.
7) It can be easily integrated with slack
so for few teams we used slack for collaboration
Scenarios where it did not work well:
1) Test Management need improvement in
terms of tracking tests, team had hard time tracking regression test cases.
2) Version one comes with lot of features like
Rally but here we don’t get customizations which is there in Jira where from workflow
to issue everything can be customized based on your team/program/portfolio
3) Lot of navigation to access basic
stuff. Example I want to go to bug attachment , there are lt of clicks &
navigation need to do which should be pretty straightforward I feel.