The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) in a Nutshell

Written by: Hanna Taller

Read Time: 3 minutes

In the early days, Agile development was only used for pilot projects at the enterprise level. Developers worked in small teams experimenting with making lean and Agile methods work in their environment. The pioneers noted what worked and what didn't, and went on to develop various frameworks and strategies for scaled Agile adoption.

The implementation of scaled Agile by enterprises has boomed in recent years. As multiple accounts of enterprises realizing the benefits of Agile were published, more and more executives began to pay attention to lean and Agile practices and the possibility of reaping these benefits in an enterprise setting. Scaling frameworks such as LeSS, DAD, and the Scaled Agile Framework® grew into maturity.

When deciding whether and how to transition to Agile, the most important management responsibility remains measuring improvement and ROI. Management needs to choose the framework that best fits their business model & products, and that helps shorten delivery and release phases in order to outperform competitors. There is no universal agreement on the best Agile scaling framework or method out there.

Experts and consultants tend to specialize in one single scaling method, and promote it exclusively. Needless to say, there is no one-fits-all solution, and each framework has its own set of pros and cons. One of the most widely applied methodologies to enable the controlled transition to Agile in a scaled environment is the Scaled Agile Framework.

So let's see what this framework is, and why it's so popular.

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) at a glance

Developed by Dean Leffingwell, the Scaled Agile Framework is a highly structured and prescriptive method that helps large enterprises set out on the road to Agile. While it has received criticism from Agile experts, it's true that SAFe has helped numerous global companies realize the benefits of Agile while retaining some organizational structure and control over processes.

Let’s see what SAFe is about, in a nutshell:

  • What Agile and Scrum is for teams, SAFe is for companies
  • SAFe describes 3+1 levels: the Team, Program and Portfolio levels, and the optional Value Stream level
  • It helps align team-level development and business strategy
  • The framework provides PSI (Potentially Shippable Increments) and Release Planning in a scaled environment
  • SAFe is a constantly evolving framework that supports the structured adoption of Agile

The Scaled Agile Framework is a highly structured and prescriptive method that helps large enterprises get started with Agile. It is the go-to option for large, software-intensive projects where teams are highly interdependent.

CodeBeamer ALM is the first proven implementation of SAFe. Its advanced features, leveraged by Intland’s SAFe® Template, provide adequate support to manage the processes of all four levels identified by the Scaled Agile Framework (Team, Program, Portfolio levels, as well as the Value Stream level).

CodeBeamer ALM offers collaborative features to help align the teams that form the Agile Release Train. Developers on the Team level benefit from its integrated requirements management, development management, and QA & test management feature sets. Our demand management, automated reporting, and dashboard features are management favourites, as they support monitoring and decision-making with real-time data. Intland’s SAFe® Template is preconfigured with artifacts, workflows and wikis to facilitate the adoption of the Scaled Agile Framework out of the box.

SAFe® and Scaled Agile Framework are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile Inc.

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Tags: Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Codebeamer

About the Author

Hanna Taller

Hanna Taller is a content creator for PTC’s ALM Marketing team. She is responsible for increasing brand awareness and driving thought leadership for Codebeamer. Hanna is passionate about creating insightful content centered around ALM, life sciences, automotive technology, and avionics.