What is new in SAFe 4.5

Finally SAFe 4.5 is out.  I am sure everyone is curious to know, what are the changes and how can we grab all the changes in a quick way.

 These three are visible changes:

  • Scalable DevOps and Continuous Delivery Pipeline
  • Essential SAFe
  • Implementation Roadmap

However, let us try to understand all the changes in SAFe 4.5 in comparison to SAFe 4.0

  1. SAFe 4.5 is called now “SAFe for Lean Enterprises

What was in SAFe 4.0 : This was known as "SAFe 4.0 for Lean and Software and System Engineering"


  1. SAFe 4.5 has now “Configurable Framework” and there are FOUR available Configurations:
  • Full SAFe
  • Portfolio SAFe
  • Large Solution SAFe
  • Essential SAFe

What was in SAFe 4.0  : Either it used to be "3 level" or "4 level" 

  1. Value stream level is now referred as “Large Solution” Level
  • VSE (Value Stream Engineer) is now called STE (Solution Train Engineer)
  • Like “Agile Release Train (ART)” now we have “Solution Train” also for “Large Solution” level.

All terminology for this level also got changed to below:

  • Value Stream Backlog: renamed as “Solution Backlog
  • Value Stream Epics: renamed as “Solution Epics
  • Value Stream Kanban: renamed as “Solution Kanban
  • Value Stream PI objectives: renamed as “Solution PI Objectives

 VS level.png

  1. Spanning Palette (for all configurations except “Essential”)

       In SAFe 4.5, we have 8 Palette items :

  • Metrics
  • Shared services
  • CoP (newly added)
  • Milestones
  • Roadmap
  • Vision
  • System Team
  • Lean UX (renamed)


      Changes from SAFe 4.0 Spanning Palette:

  • “DevOps”, “Release mgmt” & “Releases” (all these three) have been removed.
  • "CoP" got newly added
  • User experience: renamed as “Lean UX
  • Sys Team: renamed as “System Team

What was in SAFe 4.0 : we had total 10 items as part of Spanning palette. 

  1. Spanning Palette (for “Essential SAFe” only)

     only 3 items :

  • Vision
  • System Team
  • Lean UX
 Essential Palette.png

  1. SAFe 4.5 Foundation

     Now we have total 6 items as part of SAFe Foundation :

  • Lean-Agile Leaders
  • Core Values
  • Lean-Agile Mindsets
  • SAFe Principles
  • Implementation Roadmap (changed from 1-2-3)
  • SPC (newly added)


  1. Team Level:
  • Dev Team”: newly added, in addition to “Agile Team”
  •  “Iteration Review” : earlier this was known as “Team Demo”
  • Iteration (Plan, Execute, Review and Retro): These 4 steps added on Big picture.


  1. Program Level :

     Continuous Delivery Pipeline - This is major change to SAFe 4.5

CD Pipeline.png

      a) Continuous Delivery Pipelines has FOUR elements

  • Continuous Exploration (CE)
  • Continuous Integration (CI)
  • Continuous Deployment (CD)
  • Release on Demand

     b) "Lean Startup"formally got added to SAFe now.

     "Lean Startup" CYCLE as defined in SAFe are:

  • Hypothesis
  • Build
  • Measure
  • Learn

     c) “Lean Startup has following STEPS as defined in SAFe

  • Hypothesis
  • Build a MVP
  • Evaluate MVP
  • Pivot or Persevere
  • Implement additional feature

    Both these cycle/steps are mapped.

     “Release on Demand: reverted back (in SAFe 4.0, it was : “Release Any Time” )

     d) “DevOps approach” added as: C A L M R

  • Culture
  • Automation
  • Lean Flow
  • Measurement
  • Recovery


  1. Large Solution Level

     All terminology mapped to “Solution” instead of “Value Stream”

STE" (Solution Train Engineer ) : similar to “RTE” which is at Program level, we have “STE” now.  In SAFe 4.0, this role was known as “Value Stream Engineer (VSE)” 

     “Solution Intent” has 3 components (1 got changed)

  • Compliance (newly added)
  • MBSE
  • Set-Based

    “Set-Based” : Earlier this was called “Set Based” (minor cosmetic change)

Solution Train – similar to “Agile Release Train ART”, 'Solution Train' has been added to “Large Solution” level. 

  1. Portfolio Level
  • Lean Portfolio Mgmt”: earlier this was known as “Program Portfolio Management (PPM)”
  • Lean Budgets” : Earlier this was called “Budgets”
  • CapEx/OpEx : removed from big picture
  • KPIs : got newly added to top level


  1. Lean UX

Four steps have been mentioned from Book "Lean UX" (Author : Gothelf and Seiden)

  • Outcome hypothesis
  • Collaborative Design
  • Build MMF
  • Evaluate


  1. How to define “Feature” or “Capability” in SAFe 4.5

     Feature has got "additional" template

  • Feature : xxxx
  • Benefit hypothesis : xxxx
  • Acceptance Criteria : xxxx


  1. How to define “Epics” in SAFe 4.5

    Now this is called “Epic Hypothesis Statement” 

    got added 2 new parameters:

  • Outcome hypothesis : xxxx
  • Leading Indicators : xxxx


  1. SAFe PMPO 

    This course is renamed as SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager ("PO/PM") 

  1. Some more on Continuous Delivery Pipeline :

    a)Continuous Exploration (CE) has FOUR major elements:

  • Collaboration
  • Research
  • Synthesis
  • Implementation 

    b)Continuous Integration (CI) has THREE tier approach

  • Story Integration
  • System Integration
  • Solution Integration 

    c)Continuous Deployment (CD) - SIX recommended practices:

  • Maintain development and test environment to better match production
  • Maintain a staging environment that emulate production
  • Deploy to staging every Iteration
  • Automate testing of features and non-functional requirements
  • Automate deployment
  • Decouple deployment from release 

    SAFe 4.5 Changes - Highlight

  • Scalable DevOps
  • Continuous Delivery Pipeline
  • Configurable SAFe
  • Spanning Palette
  • Lean Startup
  • Lean UX


Good Luck with SAFe 4.5 Learning and Implementation :)

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