SAFe is a combination of Lean, Agile, and DevOps practices to increase business agility. It offers guidance on how to deliver products in an agile environment scaled at three levels and provides guidance on how to extend agile within your enterprise with its fourth level, portfolio.
* Last SAFe version – This top-level was extended with lots of Lean Portfolio Management. Many agile practitioners find SAFe too prescriptive and complicated. You can also search more about scaled agile framework via https://prettyagile.com/safe-training/.
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* It clearly prescribes many roles, events, practices, and responsibilities. These add complexity and require significant investment. They also reduce the agility that agile is known for. This can however be a blessing for large companies.
* SAFe's prescriptive nature gives you concrete guidance, but it doesn't force you to instantly overhaul your organization or product's architecture in order to reduce team dependencies.
* It uses a quarterly planning event called Program Increment Planning (PI Planning) to do this.
* It is a top-down collaboration event and planning cycle that builds on and overrides the Scrum Sprint cycle.
* PI planning is a way to bring everyone together (at the level of adoption) around the strategic goals for three months. This helps to identify the dependencies among teams and departments and create a prioritization system that will allow you to efficiently move towards your PI goal.
A few notes about the SAFe levels:
SAFe at the team level is essentially Scrum with several XP practices. See below.
SAFe can add a solution train to coordinate multiple ARTs. A Solution Train Engineer is also added to help with larger products that have more than 150 employees.
Portfolio level coordinates development streams with other levels to ensure agile release trains and solution trains are aligned with strategic goals.