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What is SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework)

Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is a wealthy physique of information that gives organizational workflows for Enterprise Agility. SAFe builds on high of group degree frameworks like Scrum and XP and integrates Lean patterns into the group with the target of Enterprise Agility versus group agility. Enterprise Agility is the last word end result for a enterprise and group agility is a element of the bigger image.

Origin of SAFe

The Agile mindset was codified in 2001 in Snowbird, Utah when a few of the biggest thought leaders in software program business obtained collectively and created the Agile Manifesto. The Agile Manifesto by means of its Four values and 12 rules supplied a standard language for software program builders (in addition to others). The business was fast to lap up the steering supplied by the Agile Manifesto and frameworks like Scrum and XP which supplied actionable practices and rules to “implement” the Agile mindset grew to become widespread. 

As Scrum began to take roots, organizations began to understand that the steering labored effectively for small, unbiased groups. With regards to giant enterprises, it’s unlikely that one group can ship worth to the client straight. There are basic points round the way in which enterprises are structured and arranged which inhibits their agility. Even when such points are resolved, it will nonetheless take a number of groups to return collectively to create actual buyer worth. Therefore, organizations began to search for an answer on “scale” the agile rules and values throughout the enterprise. Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe was developed as a steering for fixing this downside. 

SAFe Core Values

SAFe is constructed on learnings from Lean Pondering along with agile. SAFe depends on mindset shifts on a few of the basic features of a company. The Four core values of SAFe are: 

  1. Alignment-> Everybody within the group must be aligned on the imaginative and prescient and mission. 
  2. In-built High quality->High quality is constructed into the product all through and never “added” later. 
  3. Transparency-> There must be belief and openness within the organisation. Transparency helps in constructing belief. 
  4. Program Execution->Groups and “Groups of Groups” ought to have the ability to execute and ship worth repeatedly. 

SAFe Core Values

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SAFe Ideas

 SAFe rules information the pondering course of and philosophy behind SAFe’s practices and patterns. There are a complete of 10 SAFe Lean Agile Ideas. They’re primarily based on the rules of the Agile Manifesto in addition to learnings from Lean.  

Very typically folks get slowed down by practices with out understanding the rationale why the apply was created within the first place. As a consequence, they begin feeling “course of overhead”.  

   The 10 Lean Agile Ideas of SAFe are 

  1. Take an financial view-> Create an financial framework that guides your choices. Selections taken with out contemplating economics are neither useful for the producer nor the buyer. 
  2.  Apply Methods Pondering-> As a substitute of optimizing native elements of a system, focus on the entire. Very often the foremost points in a big group are the way in which completely different elements of it work together inhibiting quick turnaround occasions of buyer worth. Addressing the challenges related to these inter connections will lead to extra enhancements from a worth perspective. 
  3.  Assume variability, protect choices-> Necessities and resolution approaches, each must be versatile within the quickly altering world. Keep away from the sense of gratification obtained by locking in designs and necessities.  Take a set-based strategy to resolution discovery as opposed to some extent resolution.  
  4. Construct incrementally with quick built-in studying cycles -> Apply Plan Do Test Alter cycle not simply at group degree but in addition at prepare and resolution degree. We harbour appreciable threat if we don’t combine often throughout groups and options. 
  5. Base milestones of goal evaluation of working methods -> Standing stories should not true measure of progress on our targets. They’re rooted in the undertaking administration mindset of activity completion. As a substitute, consider methods repeatedly by means of demonstrations(demos) and use goal suggestions to grasp the true progress in the direction of our aim. 
  6. Visualize and restrict WIP, cut back batch sizes and handle queue lengths -> Smaller batch sizes stream by means of the system quicker. Smaller queue lengths be certain that you possibly can reprioritize the backlog extra often. Visualizing the work and making it clear is step one in the direction of it. 
  7. Apply Cadence and Synchronize with cross area planning -> At scale, particular person group cadence shouldn’t be ample as a single group not often delivers finish buyer worth. To make sure that the system works easily beneath growththroughout sprints and not simply particular person groups, synchronizing the cadence of all groups in an Agile Launch Practice is important. 
  8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of information employees -> Cash shouldn’t be the last word motivator for data employees. In SAFe, we attempt to create an atmosphere the place folks have autonomy, mastery and function which are the important thing motivators for data employees. 
  9. Decentralize Determination Making -> We have to decentralize most choices. Selections that are infrequent, are lengthy lasting and have economies of scale must be centralized. 
  10. Arrange Round Worth –Organizations are constructed round silos. Worth supply requires us to overcome these silos and function successfully such that we’re optimized for worth creation and never hand offs from one division to the opposite.  

With the 10 Lean Agile Ideas of SAFe, we will perceive that even when everybody’s issues are distinctive, the underlying rules of fixing them are the identical. 

SAFe configurations

SAFe shouldn’t be a inflexible framework. You do not want to implement the framework in its entirety from the very starting. It gives steering on function as “Group of Groups” assemble by means of its Important SAFe configuration. This configuration gives patterns like manage round worth by means of agile launch trains and get to buyer centricity by means of design pondering, aside from DevSecOps and the notion of Develop on Cadence whereas Releasing on Demand. 

The Giant Answer SAFe configuration introduces the enterprise resolution supply competency, which helps these constructing the biggest and most complicated options that require a number of Agile launch trains and suppliers, however don’t require portfolio-level concerns. 

The Portfolio SAFe configuration gives the lean portfolio administration competency, which aligns portfolio execution to enterprise technique. It organizes growth across the stream of worth by means of a number of worth streams.

The Full SAFe configuration consists of all seven core competencies of the Lean enterprise. It’s the most complete model of the Framework and helps enterprises that construct and preserve a portfolio of huge and complicated options. 

Enterprises sometimes begin with Important SAFe because their first stepping stone into SAFe and steadily implement Portfolio practices.

Key Roles in SAFe

SAFe has a “troika” of roles at each degree. On the group degree, the roles are the identical as in Scrum – Product Proprietor, Scrum Grasp and Builders. 

On the Program degree, the troika consists of the Product SupervisorSystem Architect and Launch Practice Engineer(RTE)The Product Supervisor is a buyer going through function and has the content material authority on the program backlog whereas the Product Proprietor(Group Degree) is an inner going through function and has content material authority on the team backlog

The System Architect is the technical authority on the program degree and assists in creating the architectural runway. They collaborate intently with the Product Supervisor to prioritise the program backlog.  

The Launch Practice Engineer is the facilitator and coach for the Agile Launch Practice. The Launch Practice Engineer is to an Agile Launch Practice what a Scrum Grasp is to a group.  

Each Agile Launch Practice additionally has a Enterprise Proprietor who’s the important thing stakeholder to the prepare. They’re the important thing resolution makers and their energetic participation is important to the success of the prepare.

In the case of Giant Answer Layerswe now have  Answer Architect which is principally the identical function as System Architect however on the degree of a Answer Practice. The Answer Administration is a job just like that of the Product Administration however on the degree of a Answer Practice.  The Answer Practice Engineer(STE) is to the Answer Practice what an RTE is to an Agile Launch Practice.

On the Portfolio Degree, SAFe talks concerning the Enterprise Architect, which is usually somebody like a CTO and can present technical management throughout worth streams. The Epic Proprietor is somebody who shepherds an Epic by means of Portfolio Kanban and prioritisation course of. As soon as authorized, the discovery and execution of Epic turns into the native context of Agile Launch Trains by means of Options(Epics are decomposed into options)

Worth Streams and Agile Launch TrainsValue Streams and Agile Release Trains​​​​

The essential assemble in SAFe is a Team of Teams which is known as Agile Launch Practice. An Agile Launch Practice isn’t just a random assortment of groups. Fairly, it’s a self-contained “group of groups” which creates worth. It’s a cross useful “digital” unit of individuals who could also be part of completely different elements of the organisation, hierarchically.

Nonetheless, they arrive collectively as per SAFe Lean Agile Precept #10(Organise Round Worth) in a method that they will collaborate quick in a decentralised decision-making arrangement(SAFe precept #9) to create worth.  

A Worth stream might include a number of Agile Launch Practices. The really useful measurement of an Agile Launch Practice is 50-125 folks. An Agile Launch Practice is ruled by a single backlog, known as “Program BacklogThe Program Imaginative and prescient and roadmap guides the Agile Launch Practice. 

SAFe Trainings and Certification

SAFe has a wealthy gamut of trainings. It presents programs for groups, for Scrum Masters, for Product Homeowners, for Architects, for Portfolio Managers amongst others. Most trainings are 2 full day programs with immersive studying experiences.  

These programs are extremely wanted as they supply an exquisite studying expertise in addition to present members a chance to earn an business recognised certification. SAFe certifications are legitimate for a yr and members can renew them by paying a renewal price.  

Extra particulars about SAFe trainings may be discovered here. 

SAFe’s Strengths and Weaknesses

SAFe’s power lies in its deal with Enterprise Agility. It focusses on orchestrating an enterprise in its entirety in the direction of a standard enterprise aim and suggests workflows and patterns for this function. 

It’s a effectively thought and researched framework that will get frequently up to date as new concepts and ideas emerge within the business. Because of this, SAFe undergoes common model updates. The present model of SAFe is 5.1

The present model talks about seven competencies of Enterprise Agility. These 7 competencies are the pillars which pave the way in which to a mindset shift which finally helps them obtain Enterprise Agility. 

Some folks take into account SAFe as too prescriptive on account of the extent of particulars that it gives. For instance, they discover too many roles in SAFe. Additional, some folks really feel that SAFe complicates the agile transformation by adding “codified paperwork”.  

In actuality, SAFe is extra “descriptive” than prescriptive. It’s possible you’ll not have to observe it precisely however tailor elements of it as per your want. For instance, most organisations begin with Important SAFe configuration as the start line after which discover Giant Answer and Portfolio constructs relying on their maturity.  

Folks want to grasp the underlying rules and select practices and roles accordingly, to succeed with SAFe. 

SAFe Implementation Roadmap

SAFe gives a confirmed set of actions and steps that have to be applied throughout an organisation. This consists of getting management on board by means of workshops and trainings as they should perceive the idea first.  

Worth Stream identification workshop is a key exercise that helps in figuring out the fitting set of steps in worth creation together with the folks and processes concerned. Publish that  lessons like Main SAFeSAFe PO/PMSAFe Scrum Grasp, and many others are useful to prepare the folks about their roles and tasks. This culminates in the launch of an Agile Launch Practice. As soon as an Agile Launch Practice has been launched, the journey may be accelerated by launching extra trains and by extending to the Portfolio by bringing in Lean Portfolio Administration practices.

SAFe Implementation Roadmap

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Is SAFe the fitting framework for me?

SAFe is a good alternative for you when you have a minimum of fifty folks in your organisation. It gives a mechanism for a number of groups to align on worth creation. Fifty is recommended as a minimal quantity to launch an Agile Launch Practice

If there are lower than Three-Four groups, a few of the steering that SAFe gives may very well be an overhead and utilizing easy Scrum of Scrums approach is perhaps useful. Nonetheless, the rules that SAFe espouses round Lean Portfolio Administration are common in nature and can be utilized regardless of the scale of the organisation. 

Along with Agile rules, SAFe is closely rooted in Lean Pondering which helps in lowering waste and focuses on general Methods Pondering. These ideas may be utilized regardless of the scale of the organisation.  


In right this moment’s world the place enterprises must be nimble to reply to the altering enterprise and technology panorama, you want a framework which guides you thru the journey. Anticipating software program growth to make use of frameworks like Scrum alone shouldn’t be ample. The enterprise as an entire wants to have a robust footing on agile precepts and a mindset shift is required to have Enterprise Agility. Scaled Agile Bodywork is one such framework which may also help enterprises on their journey to Enterprise Agility.