Introduction to SAFe

Scaled Agile Framework would allow the complex organizations in order to attain the benefits of Lean- Agile software and systems development at scale. SAFe is the world's largest Agile framework which is used for scaling across the enterprises. This framework is used by hundreds of organizations throughout the world as it would help and drive faster time-to-market, drastic increase in productivity and quality. SAFe has been designed to help the business grow continuously and deliver the value efficiently on a regular and predictable schedule. Knowledge base of integrated principles and practices would be provided in order to support enterprise agility. Leadership engagement combined with education and training would be an important aspect to achieve success to support a Lean-Agile transformation.

This framework is divided into three segments. Team, Program and Portfolio. It allows team to:

  • Implement Lean-Agile software and systems in enterprise level.
  • It works on Lean and Agile principles.
  • It gives a clear picture on how to work at the enterprise portfolio, value stream, program, and Team.

Meets all the needs of stakeholders within the Organization.

It is a set of workflow and organization patterns which are intended to guide scaling lean and Agile practices. SAFe promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across large number of Agile teams. There are three primary bodies of knowledge: Agile software development, lean product development and systems thinking.

Lean is a software development model which offers a solid conceptual framework, values and principles, good practices.

Lean was defined by James womack and David Jones which consists of five principles "Precisely specify value by specific product, identify the value stream for each product, make value flow without interruptions, let customer pull value from the producer, and pursue perfection".

A set of Organizations and workflow patterns which are intended to guide the Organizations for scaling lean and agile practices. SAFe is divided into three segments that are Team, portfolio, and Program.

SAFe would allow team to -

  • Implement lean-Agile software and systems at enterprise level.
  • It is based on lean and Agile practices.
  • It would give detailed guidance for work at the enterprise portfolio, team, program, and Value stream.
  • It is designed to meet all the stakeholder's needs within an Organization.



Milestones are used to track the progress towards a specific goal. Milestones are used to mark the progress and goal of a specified task within a given timeline. They would be invaluable in measuring and monitoring the product's risk and evaluation. In the past, there were many milestones that were based on the phase-gate activities. In SAFe, the progress of milestones would be indicated using fixed rhythm of iterations and Program Increments. There are three types of milestones for SAFe.

  • Program Increment
  • Fixed Date
  • Learning

Planning in SAFe would often depend on its three milestones -

  • PI milestones – These milestones would support the ability to objectively evaluate the progress towards the technical or business hypothesis.These milestones occur on a PI rhythm.
  • Fixed- Date milestones - This occurs on a rhythm, but system building would rely on external events,third-party deliverables, and external constraints. These would be always often the fixed-date milestones which are different from the development rhythm.
  • Learning milestones - Learning milestones would help in validating the business opportunities and hypothesis.

If these milestones are applied properly, then each milestone would bring focus to work, help in providing effective governance and enable a better business outcome.


Why should we use SAFe Framework?

SAFe 4.0 has proved the highest success and many large organizations that implemented the SAFe framework and improved customer experience by delivering the software products in shortest span of time by following the lead-agile way.

Mostly, it works based on the agile development, and lean development. SAFe helps in -

  • Supporting business and technical goals for the company.
  • Taking decisions to improve outcomes.
  • Improving the quality of solutions.
  • Preparation for on-time delivery.
  • Scaling the agile processes up to enterprise level.
  • Applying the employee skills effectively.
  • Defining effective organizational structures
  • Calculating agile team performance
  • Suggest the ways to motivate people for good work.
  • Learning new things & taking risks.

When to use Scaled Agile Framework?

  • When a team wants to implement Agile approach consistently across portfolios, larger and multi-team programs.
  • When multiple teams are running their own way of Agile implementation but regularly by facing obstacles, failures, and delays.
  • When teams would want to work independently.
  • When scaled Agile must be implemented across the organization, but not sure what new roles may be needed or what existing roles need to change or how.
  • When you attempted to scale the Agile across your organization but struggling in alignment to achieve in order to achieve uniform and consistent strategy across business departments from portfolio to team and program levels.
  • When an Organization must improve its product development lead time and would want to know how the other companies have succeeded in scaling Agile with SAFe.

SAFe Agile Foundation principles

SAFe stands on the foundations of its -

  • Lean-Agile Principles – is a set of basic principles and values for SAFe should understood, displayed, and continued in order to get the expected results.
  • Core Values – SAFe agile is based on four core values and those are – Alignment, Built-in quality, Transparency, and program execution.
  • Lean-Agile Leadership - The Lean-Agile Leaders lead their organizations, teams to build better systems using iterative and incremental learning through understanding and exhibiting the Lean-Agile SAFe Principles.
  • Lean-Agile Mind-set – Lean agile leaders should have the mindset of learning continuously for lifelong to understand and apply the agile principles and practices. The lean agile mindset is represented in two things – The house of lean and agile manifesto.
  • Communities of Practice – Specifies a group of people who are continuously working on SAFe practices.
  • Implementing 1-2-3 – Specifies the implementation of steps 1, 2 and 3.

SAFe Core Values

The Scaled Agile Framework tries to incorporate all these core values to bring considerable improvements to delivery time, work productivity, employee engagement, and product quality. The core values of SAFe are-


Alignment is required to retain with quick change, difficult competitive forces, and geographically distributed teams.

Built-in Quality

Built-in quality ensures the same high standard of quality for every element and every increment of the build throughout the development lifecycle.


To accomplish best results in developing the products in large-scale, implementing transparency within the organization is really important.

Program Execution

The program execution is really important to deliver the best results continuously through the cycle. That is why SAFe places a strong focus on working systems and business outcomes.


SAFe Configurations

SAFe supports the full range of development environments with four different types of configurations. Those are -

  • Essential SAFe
  • Portfolio SAFe
  • Large Solution SAFe
  • Full SAFe


Essential SAFe

Essential SAFe configuration is the simplest starting point for SAFe implementation. It is the basic building block for all other SAFe configurations and the heart of the SAFe framework. It defines the most critical elements that are required to understand most of the Framework's benefits.

Portfolio SAFe

The Portfolio SAFe configuration helps to align portfolio implementation to the enterprise approach.

It is organized around the flow of value.

Large Solution SAFe

Large Solution SAFe configuration is used for developing the major and most complex solutions that are typically require multiple agile release trains and suppliers, but do not require portfolio-level considerations.

Building large solution SAFe requires additional roles, artifacts, events, and coordination.

Full SAFe

The Full SAFe configuration is the complete version of the Framework.