Demonstrate Progress rather than Report
One of the important ‘features’ of agility is the demonstration of working code on a cadence. In SAFe we demonstrate working software at regular intervals. For one of my projects, we had the Product Owner personally demonstrate working code (in the FUT environment) to her peers every Day 10 afternoon at 2pm. It was like a 45-minute television show – started on time and was introduced by the anchor with small ‘stories’ sequenced in a logical flow. We had a sync-up after the morning scrum call to make sure everybody knew their part. Sometimes we had to pull a “Julia Childs” and show how we mixed up the cake, then set the un-cooked cake below the counter and (wallah!) pull a completely cooked cake out and place on the counter to decorate. The most important part, however, was that the PRODUCT OWNER herself was demonstrating the working code – no smoke and mirrors from IT and a business representative explaining *why* what the teams developed was valuable.
Because the Product Owner’s VP attended these sessions (most often in person, but sometimes via WebEx), we enjoyed record attendance. Because everyone who cared to know how progress was being achieved attended these sessions – no one needed to get biweekly reports from the team. This freed everyone up to concentrate on the business-value work and less on record keeping. Success begets success… and demos remove the need for reports.