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12 steps to scaled agile - Outside the foundational whitepaper

Bipin Paul Bedi
April 5th, 2020 · 3 min read

1. What is the scaled agile framework?

The Scaled Agile Framework is a set of organization and workflow patterns intended to guide enterprises in scaling lean and agile practices.

SAFe promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across large numbers of agile teams. It was developed by and for practitioners, by leveraging three primary bodies of knowledge: agile software development, lean product development, and systems thinking.

2. What problem is SAFe trying to solve?

Software development teams have proven that implementing agile frameworks, like scrum and kanban, lets them deliver solutions to customers faster, with more predictability, and gives them the ability to react quickly based on new information.

But the real challenge is extending it across multiple teams in a large organization. In other words, implementing agile at scale.

3. What leadership abilities can connect agile teams into an agile enterprise?

  • Gain visibility - Make the work visible in backlogs (for plans) and demos (for emerging solutions)
  • Figure out what works - Review the incremental output to assess progress towards outcomes
  • Optimize investments - Pivot or persevere by reallocating funds to maximize throughput of value

4. What is Lean Portfolio Management and what are its objective?

Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) describes how senior leadership applies lean principles to connect strategy to execution. Portfolio management teams learn about an enterprise’s strategy and allocate a budget towards the implementation of that strategy.


  • Maximize the throughput of value
  • Prevent bottlenecks
  • Demonstrate good servant leadership

5. What pain points LPM addresses?

  • Long cycle times on large initiatives
  • Work gets done, but the vital needles don’t move
  • Budgets are difficult to change based on new information

6. What is LPM implementation checklist?

  • Create a leadership team
  • Allocate budget
  • Strategise the execution model by defining current and future state
  • Align work towards the flow of value
  • Create a measurement framework with transparent tracking system
  • Revisit the backlog for continuous improvement and value delivery

7. What is the value of OKRs in scaled agile?

The principle of “what gets measured, improves” is the key foundational element in any agile implementation. The Objectives and Key results define the goals and measurement criteria for continuous alignment towards value delivery.

They help us in creating value and reaching goals rather than focusing on activities and tasks.

8. What are SAFe core values?

  • Alignment of business and Teams. Information flows both upward and downward in a timely fashion, unlike traditional top-down, command and control structures.
  • Build in quality with five key dimensions; flow, architecture and design quality, code quality, system quality, and release quality.
  • Transparency using inspect and adapt rituals.
  • Program execution, teams and programs must be able to deliver quality, working software and business value regularly.
  • Leadership

9. What are SAFe core principles?

  • Take an economic view
  • Apply systems thinking
  • Assume variability; preserve options
  • Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles
  • Base milestones on the objective evaluation of working systems
  • Visualize and limit Work in Process (WIP), reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengths
  • Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning
  • Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers
  • Decentralize decision making

10. How to implement SAFe?

The SAFe Implementation Roadmap consists of an overview graphic and a 12-article series that describes a strategy and an ordered set of activities that have proven to be effective in successfully implementing SAFe. Please follow guideline described at scaled agile framework

11. How would you compare SAFe with other methodologies?


Scrum@Scale is a methodology of organically scaling scrum practices by creating a network of Scrum teams through a ‘scale-free architecture,’ meaning, basic Scrum roles and events are linearly scaled without introducing new process dynamics.

It is only successful in a vertical monotonous stack where no or minimal agile management tools are required. The core competencies are T-shaped at the organisational level.

Its core principles are

  • Small teams
  • Scaling across the entire organization
  • Applying minimum viable bureaucracy

Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)

Less takes a minimalist approach to roles, structure, and artifacts. It is ideal for two to eight teams and becomes unmanageable for eight-plus teams. LeSS also differs in its stance that product owners should have complete content authority and strategic influence, where SAFe encourages a more democratic approach. And while in SAFe many factors inform strategy, LeSS places emphasis on a customer-centric approach focused on paying customers.


Disciplined Agile (DA) is a toolkit that enables organizations to decide what way of working makes the most sense to fit them. DA involves situationally employing different levels of scale for each project and places emphasis on decision-making enablement to help guide strategic direction.


The Spotify “model” is a people-driven, autonomous set of practices that can be applied for coordinating agile teams. Spotify places emphasis on self-organizing, cross-functional, and co-located teams called “squads” (the equivalent of a scrum team). Squads are organized into larger units called “tribes”. Dependencies between squads are few and handled through Scrum of Scrums when they occur. Knowledge sharing is enabled through “chapters” and “guilds,” informal groups organized based on skill sets and interests.

12. What is the significance of Agile triangle in program management?

The agile triangle represents the three dimensions of Cost, Time and Scope. In the traditional waterfall approach, the scope was fixed, and cost and time were adjusted, leading to either prolonged delivery cycles or budget overflow. But in agile practice, we keep the flexibility in scope to continuously align it with value delivery.

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