Article: Project Management using Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a set of organizational and workflow patterns for implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale.

Project Management using Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Table of Contents


The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a set of organizational and workflow patterns for implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale. It promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across large numbers of agile teams. We often say it was formed around three primary bodies of knowledge: agile software development, lean product development, and systems thinking. Software-Industry veteran Dean Leffing well originally called the Safe framework the “agile enterprise big picture.” SAFe is a system designed for business agility.

If you’re already using Scum, SAFe and Scrum are not at odds with each other. It’s more a question of environment and objective for implementing agile principles. For example, it is expected you may have to accept some additional planning and rigidity so that the many agile teams can better fit together.

Project management in an organization using SAFe happens at the individual team level, program level, and portfolio level. At the team level, it is business as usual. It is at the program level where organizations will begin to see benefits from implementing SAFe.

Principles and Steps

Below are some of the commonly accepted SAFe principles. They are also called the ten foundational principles.

  • Take an economic view
  • Apply systems thinking
  • Assume variability, preserve options
  • Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles
  • Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems
  • Visualize and limit work in process, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengths
  • Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning
  • Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers
  • Decentralize decision making
  • Organize around value

Below are the twelve commonly accepted steps for implementing SAFe. The focus of SAFe is development teams, but, as you see from this list, others should be trained as well:

  • 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 Agile Release Trains (ART)
  • Create the implementation plan
  • Prepare for ART launch
  • Train Teams and launch the ART
  • Coach the ART execution
  • Launch more ARTs and value streams
  • Extend to the portfolio
  • Sustain and improve

SAfe is not the only scaled agile framework. There are others such as Scrum@Scale (S@S), Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), Disciplined Agile (DA), and Spotify. It would be of interest to a do a deeper dive into these frameworks and determine each framework is most successful. For example LeSS is most successful when scrum teams have mastered Scrum.


  1. Piikkila, Jessica. “What is SAFe?” Atlassian. Accessed 9 February 2023.
  2. “What is Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)? - A Guide to the SAFe.” ProductPlan. Accessed 9 February 2023.
  3. “What is SAFe - Framework For Business Agility.” Scaled Agile. Accessed 9 February 2023.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment