Adoption of SAFe, DevOps & Data Engineering for Business Agility in a Leading US Oil & Gas Company
By Noaman Baiyat / May 26, 2023
This case study investigates the successful implementation of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) for business agility, along with DevOps and Data Engineering strategies, at one of the largest oil & gas companies in the US. The company sought to streamline their processes and optimize the production of a Business Intelligence (BI) application using cloud services. Over 5 Agile teams, comprising of around 60 individuals, worked in alignment to deliver this transformative change. It provides an overview of the company, the challenges faced during the transition process, and the solutions employed to address those challenges.
Industry: Oil & Gas
Location: South Central US
The oil & gas company aimed to achieve business agility by adopting SAFe as a framework and integrating DevOps and Data Engineering strategies. Their goal was to productionalize a Business Intelligence (BI) application utilizing cloud services. The company had Agile teams working in silos, including Data Engineering, Data Science, DevOps, and Infrastructure/Network & Security teams. The main challenges faced during the transition process included:
- Breaking down silos and fostering cross-functional collaboration
- Aligning Agile teams with the organization's strategic goals
- Ensuring seamless integration of the BI application with existing systems
- Balancing security concerns and cloud service adoption
- Measuring the impact of SAFe implementation on business agility
To address these challenges, the company successfully implemented the following SAFe, DevOps, and Data Engineering solutions:
- Adoption of SAFe as a unifying framework for Agile teams, incorporating key values such as alignment, built-in quality, transparency, and program execution.
- Establishment an Agile Release Train (ART) for cross-functional collaboration and synchronization of team efforts.
- Implementation of DevOps practices, including Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD), to enable seamless BI application deployment. These DevOps practices resulted in a 35% reduction in deployment time and a 40% reduction in deployment-related errors.
- Comprehensive security and compliance strategy for cloud services, aligned with SAFe's value of built-in quality. There was a 30% reduction in security incidents after the implementation of the security strategy.
- Analytics dashboard for monitoring business agility metrics and SAFe value of transparency. The dashboard tracked over 10 key performance indicators, providing a real-time view of the organization's agility.
The oil & gas company adopted a systematic approach to tackle the challenges encountered during the SAFe implementation process, as well as the integration of DevOps and Data Engineering strategies:
- Training programs for employees on SAFe principles, DevOps practices, and Data Engineering techniques.
- Formation of cross-functional teams aligned with the organization's strategic objectives.
- Incremental deployment of the BI application in cloud environments, utilizing CI/CD pipelines and data processing frameworks.
- Proactive risk assessment and security measures for cloud services, in line with SAFe's built-in quality value.
- Continuous monitoring and adjustments to optimize the SAFe implementation, DevOps workflows, and Data Engineering processes.
Results and Impact
The adoption of SAFe, along with the successful integration of DevOps and Data Engineering strategies, resulted in several measurable benefits:
- Increased cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing across 5 Agile teams.
- The deployment time for the BI application was reduced by 35% due to the efficient DevOps practices.
- A 30% reduction in security incidents, ensuring robust security of the BI application in the cloud environment.
- Significant improvement in agility metrics as tracked by the analytics dashboard.
The Chief Information Officer of the company noted, "The implementation of SAFe has been a game-changer for us. It has not only improved our business agility but also accelerated the deployment of our BI application. The collaboration of DevOps and Data Engineering teams has enabled us to accelerate innovation while maintaining top-notch quality and security."
The oil & gas company's experience with SAFe implementation offers valuable lessons for other organizations seeking to adopt the framework:
- Embrace SAFe values to build a culture of collaboration, alignment, and continuous improvement across teams.
- Employee training and support on SAFe principles and practices are crucial for a successful adoption of the framework.
- Establish an Agile Release Train (ART) to synchronize efforts and ensure that teams are aligned with the organization's strategic objectives.
- Implement DevOps practices, such as Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment, to enhance the efficiency and quality of technology solutions like the BI application.
- Incorporate Data Engineering solutions to effectively handle data ingestion, processing, and storage in the cloud, while maintaining built-in quality and security.
- Continuous monitoring, evaluation, and adaptation of SAFe practices are necessary for sustained success and to maintain alignment with changing business objectives.
This case study demonstrates that a well-executed SAFe implementation strategy, combined with DevOps and Data Engineering approaches, can yield significant benefits for an oil & gas company. The organization's experience serves as a valuable example for other companies seeking to adopt SAFe as a framework for business agility, along with leveraging DevOps and Data Engineering best practices to drive growth through efficient delivery of technology solutions like BI applications.