Several builds ago, Team ADEV transitioned to the SAFe® framework for enterprise software development. The primary goal of SAFe® is to align efforts of everyone with roles in supporting the enterprise software train – from development teams, to engineers designing the architectural runway, to business owners selecting functional priorities.

Innovation & Planning Sprint

One change in ADEV’s original implementation of Agile to the SAFe® implementation is a brief Innovation and Planning (I & P) Sprint after the build development sprints are complete, but prior to the build delivery. As the name implies, besides additional planning time for the next build, the I&P Sprint offers time for reflection and consideration on how software is being developed. Is there a better way to go about it? Are there better tools, better methodologies, better processes?

For Team ADEV, innovation has always been an important value. The ability to automate tedious manual work, streamline efforts, create better or more consistent results, make information more accessible, better understand and implement the customer requirements, and so on has remained the team’s focus. ADEV created the Tesla Awards to recognize these efforts.

Automation and Information

Now, with the transition to SAFe®, valuing innovation is built into the SAFe® Framework. Just a few builds into the SAFe® Framework, ADEV is still contemplating how to make the best use of the I & P Sprint. At the end of a recent I & P Sprint, team members gathered to present new tools they are creating; how they work, their benefits, etc. Most tools are geared toward automating manual efforts and making information more accessible. A Team Tools repository has been created to house open source software geared toward improving and simplifying development that others can build upon or improve or modify to fit their needs.

Tools presented at the end of the recent I&P week include:

• Build Plan: Provides an at-a-glance presentation of the features planned for a build and the associated stories assigned to the build sprints – across all teams or for selected teams.

• AT Anti-Duplicationator 3000: Finds regression tests (RTs) that duplicate acceptance tests (ATs) to avoid redundant testing. This tool saved more than 72 tester hours during the most recent build.

• Tag Navigator: Displays all VersionOne tags associated with a build, sprint, or application, then, upon selecting one or more tags, displays all features/stories that have them. This overcomes a weakness in VersionOne’s implementation of tags that only allows users to search for one tag at a time.

Other Ideas to make use of the I & P Sprint that ADEV are considering include training, development challenges, and hackathons.


Don Reed is a Senior Technical Writer and Project Support Specialist with the ADEV program. His background includes engineering and programing, project management, quality management and process improvement, and business-technical communication. Don has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a M.A. in Communication from Saint Louis University.