How to implement with Essential SAFe?

SAFe is freely available knowledge base for people building world's most important software and systems. SAFe is the fastest growing method, and they have well-described set of values, principles, and practices. Based on latest SAI report, there are 2,00,000 SAFe trained professionals in 110 counties. SAFe 4.5 introduces the four configurations: Essential SAFe, Portfolio SAFe, Large Solution SAFe, and Full SAFe.

Essential SAFe configuration is the heart of the Framework and is the simplest starting point for implementation. It’s the basic building block for all other SAFe configurations and describes the most critical elements needed to realize the majority of the Framework’s benefits. Together, the Team and Program Levels form an organizational structure called the Agile Release Train (ART), where Agile teams, key stakeholders, and other resources are dedicated to an important, ongoing solution mission. Essential SAFe consists of both team and program levels. These are ten essential elements: 

  1. Lean-Agile Principles
  2. Agile Teams and Trains
  3. Cadence and Synchronization
  4. PI Planning
  5. DevOps and Releasability
  6. System Demo
  7. Inspect & Adapt
  8. IP Iteration
  9. Architectural Runway
  10. Lean-Agile Leadership

This has been seen that some organizations are skipping critical elements of SAFe, like not doing ‘Inspect and Adapt’, ‘No Innovation and Planning iteration’, teams are not cross-functional, no systems demo, and excuse like our teams are not trained or our leaders are too busy to get trained. It’s okay not to implement something but you need to understand that you will not be gaining benefit as expected, and you shouldn’t call yourself SAFe. 

Also, SAFe has described clear twelve steps, on how to implement SAFe in your enterprise, these steps are called ‘SAFe Implementation roadmap’ and are part of ‘Foundation’. There are twelve steps :

  • Reaching the Tipping Point
  • Train Lean-Agile Change Agents
  • Train Executives, Managers, and Leaders
  • Create a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence
  • Identify Value Streams and ARTs
  • Create the Implementation Plan
  • Prepare for ART Launch
  • Train Teams and Launch the ART
  • Coach ART Execution
  • Launch More ARTs and Value Streams
  • Extend to the Portfolio
  • Sustain and Improve

In our 'Implementing SAFe' four days SPC class, we deep dive into these twelve steps. We explore transformational patterns to move from traditional mind-sets to Lean Agile mind-sets. As our SPCT Siraj Sirajuddin says, SAFe will change you first, then you need to change SAFe, and be ready for that.

In next upcoming meet-up, we plan to explore these points in detail. Let me know your questions and opinions. Looking foreword to meet you all in-person. If you want to attend any of our SAFe training, Please visit our website:


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