LCM Podcast 15 – What’s it Like Living Through a SAFe Rollout

This is the final podcast as I put the podcast on hiatus for a bit to focus on other activities.

Most of the stories we hear about agile transformation, or a rollout of <insert the method name here>, it’s from someone selling something, or from the consultants, or leaders who were responsible for the rollout itself. I haven’t seen very many (any?) stories from people who were employees of the organization who had to figure out how to work within the method when they didn’t really have a say in how and why it was brought in.

This podcast features Ryan Latta, who was a developer on a team, and Sean Melody, who was a chief architect at the time their organization brought in SAFe. The purpose of this podcast is to understand the difference in perspective about a change that was decided upon that people affected had no real say in. In this instance SAFe is the trigger for change, so this podcast isn’t about debating whether or not SAFe is good idea, or how it works.

We chat about what the reaction was like, how the teams adjusted, what problems they ran into and how they dealt with them.

Topics We Discuss:

  • What were your roles at the time and thoughts about SAFe being brought in
  • How did the decision to use SAFe come to be?
  • How did the rollout happen? Who was tapped on the shoulder to make it work?
  • How did you balance delivering software while making this transformation happen?
  • How did people adjust to being put into some of the SAFe roles and what type of friction was created (if any)?
  • At one point, the organization decided to build features vertically (that is, cutting across teams instead of building by component). What was that like? (Ryan answers from a team member perspective, Sean jumps in with his perspective as a leader in the organization)
  • It seems like the focus was on delivery and SAFe wasn’t a destination or the focus, say more about that.
  • Finally, did some people have a bad reaction to SAFe, or ‘agile baggage’ that needed to be dealt with?

About Sean Melody

seanSean Melody is a chicken wrangler, trivia nerd, husband to an amazing bride, and proud papa to three sweet girls.  In his spare time, he likes to build software and teams and loves to work with smart people to solve amazingly hard problems.  He is currently the Chief Architect of a small internal startup inside of CA Technologies called Catchfly ( – Sign up today!).  He joined Rally Software after becoming a full blown Agile champion as the Chief Architect of the SLI project at Wireless Generation / Amplify.  You can find him on LinkedIn ( ( or on In real life, he resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

About Ryan Latta

ryanRyan started his career as a software developer through several companies and start-ups before realizing that the real problems worth solving happened before and after a keyboard. He has since joined the churches of lean and agile where he tries to inspire through blaspheming and wanton heresy. He is also an aspiring beekeeper, enjoys fly fishing, cooking, and games of all kinds. You can find him on the interwebs whittling away time being a twit (@recursivefaults), linking in (, pushing broken code (, and writing incoherently ( You can break the ice by asking him about his underground dream home.
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