What is SAFe®?

What is SAFe®?

What is SAFe®?

SAFe® stands for the Scaled Agile Framework. It is an agile delivery method designed to enable faster deployment of customer centric needs. Built to encompass the entire portfolio (Portfolio, Programme & Team) it is a wide ranging opportunities for those looking to deliver based on a customer focused mindset.

SAFe® is designed to give a team flexibility and to help manage some of the challenges larger organisations have when practicing agile. It is designed not so much as a single methodology, but as a broad knowledge base of proven best practices that real teams have used to deliver successful software products.

There are other scaled methodologies out there. SAFe® isn’t by any means the perfect solution for every delivery, but it has gained traction due to the freedom to cherry-pick the bits you need and maintain collaboration whether your delivery is programme, portfolio or enterprise.

What’s the History of the Scaled Agile Framework?

The SAFe® framework was introduced in 2011. The Big Picture at that time described how to leverage existing agile frameworks such as Lean, Kanban, Scrum, & XP and apply them at the portfolio to team levels.

Today, SAFe’s entire catalogue of knowledge and success patterns is all available for free, and it has become one of the most popular agile frameworks.

What are the Strengths and Weakness of SAFe®?

SAFe’s strengths include:

  • Helps cross-functional teams collaborate more effectively
  • Helps organizations achieve greater transparency
  • Aligns all aspects of a project to the broader business goals


SAFe’s weaknesses include:

  • Some believe the framework is not pure agile, because it requires a lot of planning and process definition
  • It also takes more of a top-down approach rather than a team-based approach


Looking for some further reading. Try John P. Kotter’s ‘Leading Change‘. Just click the link to see more about this on Amazon. More options can be found on my suggested reading page.

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Please let me know what you think of this article. Feel free to challenge anything you don’t agree with – I’m always happy to listen.

SAFe Agilist
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