Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

SAFe is a product and project framework for large enterprises. It consists of seven core competencies around which business strategy is organized.

SAFe Organization

Agile Teams / Team and Technical Agility

According to SAFe, an agile team is a group of about five to eleven members capable of managing the end-to-end delivery of business value in short, time boxed iterations. A typical agile team includes developers, a product owner, and a ScrumMaster. The primary SAFe competency of an agile team is team and technical agility.

The daily operations of the team are guided by other agile frameworks such as Scrum or Kanban. Each iteration starts with a planning event to decide what will be done within the iteration. During the iteration, the team meets daily to coordinate their work and focus on meeting the iteration goals. At the end of the iteration, the team holds an iteration review to demo the work they've completed to stakeholders. After the iteration review, they hold a retrospective to reflect on ways they can improve on the value they deliver.

Agile Release Trains (ARTs) / Agile Product Delivery

An agile release train (ART) is a "team of agile teams". The typical ART includes 50 to 125 people, or roughly ten agile teams. An ART should include all the people needed to deliver a complex solution to customers. An ART also includes a release train engineer, who serves as the coach for the ART, representatives from product management to provide the vision and backlog, and a system architect to provide architectural guidance. The primary SAFe competency of an ART is agile product delivery.

ARTs operate in program increments (PIs), which are typically five iterations long. Similar to the way agile teams operate, PIs start with a planning event in which the teams pull from the backlog to identify what should be delivered within the PI. During PI planning, dependencies between teams are visualized on a program board. At the end of the PI, the ART team holds a system demo to show the fully integrated work they've completed to stakeholders. After the system demo, the hold an inspect and adapt event.

Solution Trains / Solution Management

A solution train is a group of agile release trains that coordinates especially large and complex solutions. A solution train includes a solution management group with authority over what gets built, a solution architect to provide architectural guidance across ARTs, and a solution train engineer to coach and facilitate the activities of the solution train.

Additional SAFe Terms

  • Lean portfolio management seeks to align strategy with execution through the creation of strategic themes, a portfolio vision, and organizes funding around the delivery of value and value streams.

  • Organizational agility is the ability to change direction quickly based on market conditions, re-organizing as needed across the entire enterprise. This is done through the creation of a culture of continuous learning and investment in individuals that deliver results and demonstrate lean thinking.

  • Lean-Agile Leadership is the embodiment and teaching of lean and agile principles.

SAFe Resources

Video: SAFe Overview in 5 Minutes

Deeper Knowledge on Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Jira Align

Notes on Jira Align

Broader Topics Related to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Project Management

Resources for Project Management

Product Management

Resources for Product Management

Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

The lifecycle of software applications, from concept to revenue

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Knowledge Graph