Welcome to SAFe® 4.6 for Lean Enterprises!
Why is this update important?
It comes down to a single question. How can we better help you build a truly Lean enterprise?
We looked at how the Framework has answered that question to date, combined that with what we’ve observed in organizations succeeding with SAFe, and a distinct picture emerged. What has come into focus are five primary attributes—‘core competencies’—that are clear differentiators between those who are getting the full benefits of Lean-Agile development, and those who aren’t. The competencies—it turns out—are key. They set the stage for a fluid convergence of Agile, Lean, DevOps, and Lean Portfolio, that enables the organization to operate in a truly Lean fashion, and to better navigate the challenges of digital disruption.
One of those ‘ah-ha’ moments
Identifying the competencies was one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments you get when something comes into focus that you haven’t quite seen that way all along. Once they came into view, we knew that better explaining and enhancing these competencies was the next, most important step in evolving the Framework. You can scroll down for details on each competency, but some context first will help you better understand them.
In SAFe 4.6, we expanded the Framework by bringing these competencies to the surface and enhancing them in a way that would help SAFe organizations build the right muscle memory to operate in a Lean fashion. At the same time, SAFe 4.5 has been enormously popular and stable (described as the world’s most “widely used” enterprise Agile framework by Gartner), and we didn’t want to rock the boat—too much. Not just yet. But it became clear that this new way of working with SAFe—through the lens of the core competencies—was significant and could make a big difference, especially for organizations struggling with their transformations. Plus, we needed a way to integrate all our new learnings in Agile technical practices, DevOps and continuous delivery, Lean portfolio management, and more. So, how do you change everything without rocking the boat? By introducing SAFe 4.6!
Introducing the Five Core Competencies of the Lean Enterprise
Visually, the new version of the Framework is not that much different than its 4.5 predecessor. But now it is anchored by the “Five Core Comptencies of the Lean Enterprise.” Each competency is represented by a new icon on the right edge of the SAFe Big Picture, and each is supported by a new knowledge base article that tells that story. In fact, the entire SAFe knowledge base has been updated or refactored to support the new competencies, and many new articles have been added.
The new guidance is designed to help organizations master the competencies and integrate them into their organizational and strategical DNA. You can think of the competencies as a mission-critical roadmap that can be used to identify knowledge and leadership gaps, inform strategic and organizational decisions, improve solution development, and ultimately position the business for maximum fitness and readiness. That’s the best way to leverage these competencies to your organization’s advantage. That, and, of course, update your implementation to SAFe 4.6.
Each core competency describes the knowledge, skills, and mindset needed to help an organization navigate the complex challenges of a world driven by digital transformation:
|Lean-Agile Leadership – Advancing and applying Lean-Agile leadership skills, the foundation for everything else|
|Team and Technical Agility – Enhancing agility and technical practices with Built-in Quality, Behavior-Driven development (BDD), Agile testing, Test-Driven Development (TDD), and more|
|DevOps and Release on Demand – Building the Continuous Delivery Pipeline, and implementing DevOps and Release and Demand|
|Business Solutions and Lean Systems Engineering – Building the largest software applications and cyber-physical solutions in a Lean and Agile fashion|
|Lean Portfolio Management – Executing strategy formulation and establishing portfolio vision, chartering portfolios, establishing Lean budgets and Guardrails, as well as portfolio prioritization and roadmapping|
And one more thing—top-level Government visibility and support
Another key enhancement in SAFe 4.6 is a new area of guidance devoted to the public sector. Government now has visibility in the SAFe Big Picture graphic, and four new knowledge base articles provide guidance for transitioning the Lean-Agile mindset into government contexts.
For more on all of the above, read more in the What’s New in SAFe 4.6 article.
SAFe curriculum updating to SAFe 4.6
In early November, Scaled Agile’s entire role-based curriculum will be updated to reflect the changes in SAFe 4.6, and then the new release will be moved to scaledagileframework.com. The previous version will relocate to v45.scaledagileframework.com.
Be sure to read the FAQs on training and certification as you prepare to upgrade to SAFe 4.6.
It is our sincere hope that this new version of SAFe helps you and your enterprise achieve the benefits you all deserve for working so hard at building the world’s biggest, and best, software and systems.
We owe a special thanks to you, the SAFe community, for all your feedback and support. Your passion for the best SAFe possible has driven us to deliver what we like to think of as the most adaptable—and ‘competent!’—framework in the world.
—Dean, Richard, Inbar, Harry, Steve and the entire Scaled Agile team
Dean Leffingwell, creator of SAFe, Chief Methodologist
Richard Knaster, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant
Inbar Oren, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant
Harry Koehnemann, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant
Dr. Steve Mayner, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant