Dean LeffingwellOver the last decade, I’ve been fortunate to be deeply engaged in a number of enterprise-scale, Lean-Agile transformations that resulted in the development of the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®).

Frankly, the results were amazing. Substantial increases in productivity and quality, happier employees, and markedly reduced time to market were typical. As has been the case throughout my career, the results motivated me to document the learnings throughout. This occurred first in my blog, then the Addison-Wesley books Scaling Software Agility and Agile Software Requirements, and the latest, a Pearson video training book, Leading SAFe LiveLessons.

Of course, I couldn’t do any of this this alone. I was again fortunate to work with a number of bright collaborators, including Alex Yakyma, Drew Jemilo, Jennifer Fawcett, Colin O’Neill, and many others.

In order to formalize our collaboration and make the framework more readily available to a worldwide audience, we founded Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI). SAI is committed to continually evolving the framework as our thinking, field experiences, technology, and marketplace evolves. We are also committed to continue to make this knowledge publicly available.

In the sections below, we gratefully acknowledge many of the sources of input to the framework. In addition, we’d like to thank all those in the field who put the framework to work to the benefit of the practitioners’ daily lives, the ultimate business outcomes, and, most importantly, the end user results. You are the heart and soul of SAFe. Without you, it’s just a website.

After all, better software and systems make the world a better place.


Dean Leffingwell, SAFe Creator, and CEO, Scaled Agile, Inc.



SAFe Contributors

Alex_YakymaAlex Yakyma

SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Alex Yakyma is a methodologist, trainer, and consultant who has been applying Lean and Agile practices in the software industry for more than a decade.

Alex joined Dean Leffingwell in 2006 and since then has been actively working on the Scaled Agile Framework and its numerous implementations in the field. Alex’s broad prior experience as a program manager in highly distributed multicultural environments allows him to perfect his clients’ operational capabilities at the program level, their cross-program coordination, and their portfolio strategies.




Drew Jemilo

SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Drew is a principal contributor to the Scaled Agile Framework, consultant, and instructor.

Drew met Dean Leffingwell in early 2009 when he was developing a scaled Agile methodology for a management consulting company to bridge their strategic business framework with Agile. Since then, they have worked together with global clients to synchronize distributed teams using the Agile Release Train in the U.S., Europe, and India.

richardRichard Knaster

SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Richard Knaster has more than 25 years’ experience in software development in roles ranging from developer to executive and has been involved in Agile for more than a decade. Prior to joining Scaled Agile, Inc., Richard worked at IBM, where his career spanned from product line management (PPM domain) and professional services to chief methodologist, Agile and Lean. Richard is a certified IBM Thought Leader and an Open Group Distinguished IT Specialist. He is also a certified SPC, PSM, Agile Certified Practitioner, PMP, and a contributor to the Disciplined Agile Delivery framework and PMI Portfolio/Program Management standards.

inbar_orenInbar Oren

SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Inbar has more than 20 years experience in the high-tech market. For over a decade, Inbar has been helping development organizations—in both software and integrated systems—improve results by adopting Lean-Agile best practices. Previous clients include Cisco, Woolworths, Amdocs, Intel, and NCR.

Working as a principal contributor to SAFe, and Scaled Agile instructor and consultant, Inbar’s current focus is on working with leaders at the Program, Value Stream, and Portfolio levels to help them bring the most out of their organizations, build new processes and culture.

A martial arts aficionado, Inbar holds black belts in several arts. He also thinks and lives the idea of “scale,” raising five kids—including two sets of twins—with his beautiful wife, Ranit.


We are also indebted to those SAFe Program Consultant Trainers (SPCTs) and SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs) who are doing the “heavy lifting” in applying the framework in various enterprises every day. Many have contributed indirectly in discussions, certification workshops, LinkedIn forums, etc. More specifically, the following individuals have directly provided content that is included in either the framework proper or in the associated Guidance articles.

Fabiola_EyholzerFabiola Eyholzer, SPC4

Guidance article: Agile HR with SAFe: Bringing Lean-Agile People Operations into the 21st Century

Harry KoehnemannHarry Koehnemann, SPCT4

Special contributor to SAFe for Lean Systems Engineering, and 4.0 systems engineering content

Ken France, SPCT4

Guidance article: Mixing Agile and Waterfall Development in the Scaled Agile Framework

Scott Prugh, SPC

Guidance article: Continuous Delivery

Eric Willeke, SPCT4

Guidance article: Role of PI Objectives
Guidance article: A Lean Perspective on SAFe Portfolio WIP Limits

Jennifer FawcettJennifer Fawcett, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Product manager and product owner contribution and focus

Colin_ONeill_80x80Colin O’Neill, SPC4

SAFe 1.0–2.5 Contributor

Gareth EvansGareth Evans, SPCT4

Guidance article: Lean Software Development in SAFe

Gillian ClarkGillian Clark, SPCT4

Guidance article: Lean Software Development in SAFe

Maarit Laant Maarit Laanti, SPCT4

Lean-Agile Budgeting guidance and white paper

Steven Mather, SPC4

SAFe 2.0 glossary draft

Al ShallowayAl Shalloway

Concept development and community support



The Scaled Agile Framework has been proven to deliver substantial business benefits in a large number of software and systems enterprises. We admire these companies for the courage to innovate, and we are indebted to them for the feedback they have provided. Specifically, we’d like to thank the many companies in our Case Studies, each of whom has adopted the framework and many of whom have provided specific input to help it evolve.


The contributors to Agile Software Requirements

Initial concepts behind the framework were first documented in Scaling Software Agility, but the framework per se was first documented in Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (ASR), so it’s appropriate to repeat and update the book acknowledgments here. Thanks to the ASR reviewers, Gabor Gunyho, Robert Bogetti, Sarah Edrie, and Brad Jackson. Don Reinertsen provided permission to use elements of Principles of Product Development Flow. Thanks to my Finnish collaborators Juha-Markus Aalto, Maarit Laanti, Santeri Kangas, Gabor Gunyho, and Kuan Eeik Tan. Alistair Cockburn, Don Widrig, Mauricio Zamora, Pete Behrens, Jennifer Fawcett, and Alexander Yakyma contributed directly to book content. Even that list is not exhaustive; many others—Mike Cottmeyer, Ryan Shriver, Drew Jemilo, Chad Holdorf, Keith Black, John Bartholomew, Chris Chapman, Mike Cohn, Ryan Martens, Matthew Balchin, and Richard Lawrence—contributed words, thoughts, or encouragement.

A special acknowledgment to the Agile thought leaders

Of course, SAFe stands on the shoulders of many who came before us, particularly the Agile thought leaders who created the industry movement. It starts with the signers of the Agile Manifesto and continues with those outspoken thought leaders who have helped move the industry toward the new paradigm. The following have contributed most directly to our understanding of Agile development: Kent Beck, Alistair Cockburn, Ron Jeffries, Mike Cohn, David Anderson, Jeff Sutherland, Martin Fowler, Craig Larman, Ken Schwaber, Scott Ambler, and Mary and Tom Poppendieck. Still others are acknowledged in the bibliography below.

A special acknowledgment to the Lean leaders

In extending Agile to the enterprise and developing the broader Lean-Agile paradigm, we are also fortunate to stand on the shoulders of Lean thought leaders as well, including Don Reinertsen, Jeffrey Liker, Eli Goldratt, Dr. Alan Ward, Jim Sutton, Michael Kennedy, Dantar Oosterwal, Steve Womack, and Daniel Jones. Still others are acknowledged in the bibliography below.

W. Edwards Deming
W. Edwards Deming

And to Edwards Deming

Finally, where would we be without the seminal works of W. Edwards Deming, to whom we perhaps owe the deepest gratitude of all? He was a visionary, whose tireless quest for the “truth” and unwavering belief in “continual improvement” led to a set of transformational theories and teachings that changed the way we think about quality, management and leadership. The impact of his revolutionary ideas has been compared to those of Copernicus, Darwin and Freud. Others have referred to him as the father of the third phase of the Industrial Revolution.

LEARN MORE about Edwards Deming at the The Deming Institute.


SAFe is based on our own work, the work of the the contributors and SPCs worldwide, and an incredible body of knowledge about Agile, Lean Thinking, Lean product development, systems thinking, organizational change management, human potential, business strategy, management philosophy, and more. Each of the books and articles in the bibliography below have contributed materially to the authors’ perspectives and are integral to what makes SAFe safe.

  • “Agile Architecture: Strategies for Scaling Agile Development.” Scott Ambler. Agile Modeling, 2012.
  • The Agile Architecture Revolution: How Cloud Computing, REST-Based SOA, and Mobile Computing Are Changing Enterprise IT. Jason Bloomberg. Wiley, 2013.
  • Agile Business: A Leader’s Guide to Harnessing Complexity. Bob Gower and Rally Software. Rally Software (Telemachus Press), 2013.
  • Agile Coaching. Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley. Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2009.
  • Agile Contracts: Blast Off to a Zone of Collaborative Systems Building. Drew Jemilo. Agile 2015.
  • Agile Estimating and Planning. Mike Cohn. Prentice Hall, 2005.
  • “Agile in a Hardware/Firmware Environment: Draw the Cost of Change Curve.” Ken Rubin.
  • Agile Portfolio Management. Jochen Krebs. Microsoft Press, 2008.
  • Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products. Jim Highsmith. Addison-Wesley, 2009.
  • Agile Project Management with Scrum. Ken Schwaber. Developer Best Practices, 2004.
  • Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2006.
  • Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game. Alistair Cockburn. Addison-Wesley, 2006.
  • Agile Software Development in the Large: Diving into the Deep. Jutta Eckstein. Dorset House, 2004.
  • Agile Software Development with Scrum. Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle. Pearson, 2001.
  • Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise. Dean Leffingwell. Addison-Wesley, 2011.
  • Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams. Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory. Addison-Wesley, 2009.
  • Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed. Barry Boehm and Richard Turner. Addison-Wesley/Pearson Education, 2003.
  • Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company. James C. Collins and William C. Lazier. Prentice Hall Press, 1995.
  • The Birth of Lean. Koichi Shimokawa and Takahiro Fujimoto (eds.). Lean Enterprise Institute, 2009.
  • “Building Deep Supplier Relationships.” Jeffrey Liker and Thomas Y. Choi. Harvard Business Review. December 2004.
  • “Business trend: ‘E-shaped’ People, Not ‘T-shaped.'” Sarah Davanzo.
  • Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. Tim Brown. Harper Business, 2009.
  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship. Robert C. Martin. Prentice Hall, 2008.
  • Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition. Lyssa Adkins. Addison-Wesley, 2010.
  • Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders. Jean Tabaka. Addison-Wesley, 2006.
  • Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation. Jez Humble and David Farley. Addison-Wesley, 2010.
  • Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk. Paul M. Duvall, Steve Matyas, and Andrew Glover. Addison-Wesley, 2007.
  • Crossing the Chasm. Geoffrey Moore. Harper Business Essentials, 1991, 2014.
  • Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams. Alistair Cockburn. Addison-Wesley, 2004.
  • The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace. S. Chris Edmonds. Wiley, 2014.
  • Disciplined Agile Delivery: A Practitioner’s Guide to Agile Software Delivery in the Enterprise. Scott W. Ambler and Mark Lines. IBM Press, 2012.
  • Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software. Eric Evans. Addison-Wesley, 2003.
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Daniel H. Pink. Riverhead Hardcover, 2009.
  • Emergent Design: The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development. Scott Bain. Addison-Wesley, 2008.
  • The Enterprise and Scrum. Ken Schwaber. Microsoft Press, 2007.
  • Escape Velocity. Geoffrey Moore. Harper Business Essentials, 2011.
  • The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality. Joyce Nilsson Orsini (ed.). McGraw-Hill Education, 2012.
  • The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management. Peter F. Drucker. HarperBusiness, 2008.
  • Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. Kenneth S. Rubin. Addison-Wesley, 2012.
  • Essential Skills for the Agile Developer: A Guide to Better Programming and Design. Alan Shalloway, Scott Bain, Ken Pugh, and Amir Kolsky. Addison-Wesley, 2011.
  • “Establishing an Agile Portfolio to Align IT Investments with Business Needs.” Joseph Thomas and Steven Baker, DTE Energy.
  • Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change. Kent Beck and Cynthia Andres. Addison-Wesley, 2004.
  • Extreme Programming Installed. Ron Jeffries, Ann Anderson, and Chet Hendrickson. Addison-Wesley, 2000.
  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization. Peter M. Senge. Doubleday, 2006.
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. Patrick M. Lencioni. Jossey-Bass, 2002.
  • “Fixing Scheduling with Agile at the VA.” Jason Bloomberg. Forbes. October 23, 2014.
  • The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. Eliyahu M. Goldratt. North River Press, 2014.
  • Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management. Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Wiley, 2004.
  • Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects. Gojko Adzic. Provoking Thoughts, 2012.
  • Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash. Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck. Addison-Wesley, 2006.
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Clayton M. Christensen. Harvard Business Review Press, 2013.
  • Inside the Tornado. Geoffrey Moore. Harper Business Essentials, 1995, 2004.
  • Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business. David J. Anderson. Blue Hole Press, 2010.
  • The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Landmarks of Tomorrow. Peter Drucker. Harper & Brothers, 1959.
  • Leading Change. John P. Kotter. Harvard Business Review Press, 2012.
  • Lean-Agile Acceptance Test-Driven Development: Better Software Through Collaboration. Ken Pugh. Addison-Wesley, 2011.
  • Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility. Alan Shalloway, Guy Beaver, and James R. Trott. Addison-Wesley, 2009.
  • Lean Architecture: for Agile Software Development. James Coplien and Gertrud Bjørnvig. Wiley, 2010.
  • Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale. Jezz Humble et al. O’Reilly Media, 2015.
  • Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban. Henrik Kniberg. Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2011.
  • The Lean Machine: How Harley-Davidson Drove Top-Line Growth and Profitability with Revolutionary Lean Product Development. Dantar P. Oosterwal. AMACOM, 2010.
  • Lean Product and Process Development. Allen C. Ward and Durward K. Sobek II. Lean Enterprise Institute, 2014.
  • Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit. Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck. Addison-Wesley, 2003.
  • Lean Software Strategies: Proven Techniques for Managers and Developers. Peter Middleton and James Sutton. Productivity Press, 2005.
  • The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Eric Ries. Crown Business, 2011.
  • Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation. James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones. Productivity Press, 2003.
  • The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company. Art Byrne and James P. Womack. McGraw-Hill Education, 2012.
  • The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production—Toyota’s Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That Is Revolutionizing World Industry. James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos. Free Press, 2007.
  • Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders. Jurgen Appelo. Addison-Wesley, 2011.
  • Managing the Design Factory: A Product Developer’s Toolkit. Donald G. Reinertsen. Free Press, 1997.
  • Managing for Excellence: The Guide to Developing High Performance in Contemporary Organizations. David L. Bradford and Allan R. Cohen. Wiley, 1997.
  • Managing Software Requirements: A Use Case Approach (second edition). Dean Leffingwell and Don Widrig. Addison-Wesley, 2003.
  • Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
  • The Mythical Man-Month. Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. Addison-Wesley, 1995.
  • The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education. W. Edwards Deming. The MIT Press, 2000.
  • “New, Improved Keiretsu.” Katsuki Aoki and Thomas Taro Lennerfors. Harvard Business Review. September 2013.
  • “The New New Product Development Game.” Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Harvard Business Review, January 01, 1986.
  • Out of the Crisis. W. Edwards Deming. MIT Center for Advanced Educational Services, 1982.
  • The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win. Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford. IT Revolution Press, 2013.
  • Planning Extreme Programming. Kent Beck and Martin Fowler. Addison-Wesley, 2001.
  • The Power of Alignment: How Great Companies Stay Centered and Accomplish Extraordinary Things. George H. Labovitz and Victor Rosansky. Wiley, 1997.
  • Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Large, Multisite, and Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum. Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. Addison-Wesley, 2010.
  • The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development. Donald G. Reinertsen. Celeritas Publishing, 2009.
  • Product Development for the Lean Enterprise: Why Toyota’s System Is Four Times More Productive and How You Can Implement It. Michael N. Kennedy. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2003.
  • Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution. Michael Hammer and James Champy. HarperBusiness, 2006.
  • “Refactoring.” Martin Fowler.
  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code. Martin Fowler et al. Addison-Wesley, 1999.
  • Refactoring Workbook. William Wake. Addison-Wesley, 2003.
  • Reinventing Organizations. Frederick Laloux. Nelson Parker, 2014.
  • Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works. Ash Maurya. O’Reilly Media, 2012.
  • “Scaling Agility @ Spotify with Tribes, Squads, Chapters, and Guilds.” Henrik Kniberg and Anders Ivarsson. October 2012.
  • Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum. Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. Addison-Wesley, 2008.
  • Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises. Dean Leffingwell. Addison-Wesley, 2007.
  • Scrum and XP from the Trenches. Henrik Kniberg., 2015.
  • Scrumban: Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development. Corey Ladas. Modus Cooperandi Press, 2009.
  • Scrum Guides. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber.
  • Servant-Leadership Across Cultures: Harnessing the Strengths of the World’s Most Powerful Management Philosophy. Fons Trompenaars and Ed Voerman. McGraw-Hill, 2009.
  • “Shooting the Rapids: Managing Product Development in Turbulent Environments.” Marco Iansiti. California Management Review 38 (1995): 37 – 58.
  • Software by Numbers: Low-Risk, High-Return Development. Mark Denne and Jane Cleland-Huang. Prentice Hall, 2003.
  • The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility. Michele Sliger and Stacia Broderick. Addison-Wesley, 2008.
  • Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum. Mike Cohn. Addison-Wesley, 2009.
  • Switch. How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Broadway Books, 2010.
  • Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. Stanley McChrystal, et al. Portfolio, 2015.
  • Test-Driven Development: By Example. Kent Beck. Addison-Wesley, 2002.
  • Test Driven: TDD and Acceptance TDD for Java Developers. Lasse Koskela. Manning Publications, 2007.
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Malcolm Gladwell. Little, Brown and Company, 2000.
  • Toyota Global.
  • Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results. Mike Rother. McGraw-Hill Education, 2009.
  • The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer. Jeffrey K. Liker. McGraw-Hill Education, 2004.
  • The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence Through Leadership Development. Jeffrey Liker and Gary L. Convis. McGraw-Hill, 2011.
  • User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development. Mike Cohn. Addison-Wesley, 2004.
  • User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product. Jeff Patton and Peter Economy. O’Reilly Media, 2014.
  • “Using Both Incremental and Iterative Development.” Alistair Cockburn. STSC CrossTalk 21 (2008): 27 – 30.
  • Value Stream Mapping: How to Visualize Work and Align Leadership for Organizational Transformation. Karen Martin and Mike Osterling. McGraw-Hill Education, 2013.
  • “What Is Systems Engineering?” International Council on Systems Engineering.
  • The Wisdom of Crowds. James Surowiecki. Anchor, 2005.
  • Work Redesign. Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham. Prentice Hall, 1980.

Last Update: 1 January 2015