What is SAFe? Eight Facts About the Scaled Agile Framework

July 9, 2021

By Simpliaxis


It should come as no surprise that the entire world of software development is highly result-driven and extremely fast-paced. The work environment is a mixture of constant re-directions and changes, which is why the implementation of SAFe is useful. Even though it’s a challenging technique to implement, it can help in enhancing the efficiency & velocity of the company to remain competitive in this modern digital age.

Software development teams have already grasped the Lean Development and Agile/Scrum procedures, over the last one or two decades. However, as projects & teams begin to grow, the execution of SAFe helps in providing the ideal scalability to Project Managers. As a result, the difficulties of maintaining different teams in sync with each other so that a deliverable product could be obtained can be achieved effortlessly.

What is SAFe?

SAFe stands for Scaled Agile Framework.

When talking about what is SAFe Agile, it should be known that SAFe is a foundational program that helps in allowing Agile to be highly scalable for enterprise software & systems. The benefit provided by SAFe to companies can be viewed similar to what Scrum does for the Agile teams. The basic aim of SAFe is to ensure that company development is aligned to enhance business objectives.

The SAFe procedure combines the know-how of proven Agile, DevOps & Lean processes and thereby generates a platform that helps in meeting the software development requirements in various enterprise programs. Just like Scrum, SAFe provides an evolving & flexible framework, so that incremental milestones are reached to realize a larger project. The primary popularity of SAFe is derived due to its methodical & structured approach for completion & alignment of any project.

The following are the five main components of SAFe:

  • Integration
  • Governance
  • Funding
  • Architecture
  • Roles

Furthermore, the above-mentioned components are considered in three different categories:

  • Portfolio Level
  • Team Level
  • Program Level

Who should use SAFe?

If you’re the head of an enterprise and you need to scale your development platform from small-scale to large-scale, then using SAFe might be the ideal move. Like with any change in the work environment, the shift to SAFe must also be managed carefully. And that’s why obtaining proper support from the team and keeping the communication channels open is highly crucial.

In case your organization is already a large enterprise, then your development teams will already be utilizing some versions of Agile so that they can meet their goals. But, by bringing those versions under the umbrella of SAFe, there will be an improvement in the quality of products that you offer to your users. It should be known that the SAFe framework offers a familiar system for developers who use Scrum since it’s also based on Agile, allowing your enterprise to enjoy steady results.

That’s not all though because SAFe also offers a great choice for developers who want to enter the enterprise-end solutions (or in case an organization wants to restructure its processes & framework).
Now that we have obtained a proper understanding of SAFe, it’s time we delve into some of the most popular Scaled Agile Framework facts.


8 facts about SAFe

1. SAFe manages inter-team dependencies efficiently:

There will be moments when multiple teams will gather together to work on the same project, making one team dependent on the other one. SAFe helps directly identify such inter-team dependencies so that all teams can work together in perfect harmony. As a result, each Development team will be able to deliver a working part of the product.

Such a scenario will assist in the completion of the project within the desired timeline without any delay or rework. Moreover, proper inter-team communication, productivity and morale will be at an all-time high because of SAFe.

2. SAFe aligns the vision of multiple Product Owners

SAFe works as an ideal procedure or solution to align the different visions for multiple Product Owners, who are responsible for the creation of a particular product.

Generally, each product should have only one Product Owner. Thus, having multiple Product Owners can be termed as a Product Owner anti-pattern. But, the good news is that – SAFe can help in solving such an anti-pattern problem seamlessly.

3. SAFe makes it easy to manage multiple products

SAFe assists enterprises to handle multiple products together, especially if the products have a lot of inter-dependencies between them. Just like inter-dependency exists between different development teams, the same can be said for products. Both Scrum as well as SAFe act as solutions in delivering worthy products.

However, it should be learned that having multiple products can act as a hindrance to the enterprise’s efficiency, which is why a re-assessment of the product portfolio is suggested.

4. SAFe is based on multiple decades worth of lessons learned

SAFe concepts have been around for a long time and one of the key aspects, i.e. flow, was first recorded by users Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo as the Toyota Production System, during the 1930s. The Toyota Production System was later translated to Lean Manufacturing.

5. SAFe aims to enhance the product’s delivery value

In case you’re not aware, SAFe is introduced to act as an alternative to traditional product management. Since it uses the framework of Scrum and the principles of Agile & Lean, the focus is directed on building the ideal product for the enterprise.

6. SAFe highlights points of improvement

When enterprises start using SAFe procedures, various systematic problems are detected. Some of the issues include communication bottlenecks, bloated processes, lack of understanding regarding what the customers require, duplicative tasks, and so on.

Even though SAFe will not magically fix all these problems, it can help you figure out the ideal solutions over an extended period. As a result, a proper direction can be followed based on the unique circumstances & context.

7. SAFe improve enterprise productivity

One of the most popular reasons why enterprises implement SAFe is to increase organizational productivity or efficiency. There can be multiple causes of low enterprise efficiency, such as:

  • Facing issues when managing inter-team dependencies
  • Not being able to align the vision with the product
  • Product delivery issues

Enhancement on the above-mentioned aspects will directly lead to an increase in the overall organizational productivity, which can be achieved by implementing SAFe.

8SAFe helps enterprises to transform digitally

Multiple organizations around the world such as PepsiCo, MetLife, Lockheed Martin, and the like, have been able to utilize SAFe to transform digitally. Thus, they’re able to remain competitive in a post-digital economy.

In 2021, it’s the norm for every company out there to master technology for serving their customers in a better manner.

The business-side advantages of implementing SAFe

As of the current scenario, there are four business-ended merits of implementing SAFe and they are as follows:

  • Enhanced time-to-market

When the current market tends to demand a faster upgrade or even a change in creativity, with the help of SAFe, teams can move as a single focused unit towards a common objective. The process of SAFe will assist any team to evolve at a rate that will help the business to meet its long-term & short-term market goals. According to the SAFe website, teams will notice almost an increase of 30 to 70 per cent when it comes to market adaptability.

  • Better engagement

Successful organizations always bank on proper employee engagement. In the space of software development, employee engagement will help the team to work like a well-oiled machine. And when all the components will work in sync and in the same direction, great results can be expected.

  • Increased productivity

When team members are engaged with each other, productivity will increase, leading to a sense of enjoyment & accomplishment. Proper practices and communication within the team members will lead to less wasted work, meaning the chances of rework will be minimal. It has been reported that due to SAFe, teams can enjoy an almost 20 to 50 percent increase in productivity.

  • Top-notch quality

Since SAFe uses the Lean-Agile principles, such a scenario will lead to almost a reduction of 25 to 75 percent in product defects. With the help of proper built-in quality checks, it’s ensured that the product that is being delivered meets the high-quality standards set by the organization.


At the end of the heyday, it should be realized that to achieve market success, companies need to focus not only on product development but also on managing projects effectively. Any company can have development teams that are brilliant at what they do. But, if the teams are not clear on the requirements of each other, precious deadlines will be missed due to rework or miscommunication.

Ultimately, those development team members will get frustrated and the entire work environment will be chaotic and less productive. Furthermore, team morale will take a hit. Thus, to avoid all of these aforementioned scenarios, implementing SAFe is a necessity.

We hope you liked our extensive explanation of what is Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and in case you have any queries, feel free to let us know.



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