What is SAFe 5.0 all about?

Ana Aranda Diaz

Ana Aranda Diaz

What is SAFe 5.0 all about?
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As agile is increasingly becoming the norm, the community is talking more and more about the third wave of Agile, and – yes, I agree that the third wave of agile is here.

This term comes from an article of Charlie Rudd (March 2016), in the article C. Rudd describes:
The third wave’s aim is to adopt and expand Business Agility throughout the marketplace, transforming in its wake how today’s organizations operate, succeed… and fail.”

This means to go beyond having groups of people doing and being Agile, or even beyond scaling Agile. The third wave has to do with Agile companies promoting cultures of continuous organizational learning that are driven by Agile leadership, values, and principles.

The spirit is very much in parallel with Scaled Agile Framework’s new SAFe® 5.0 for Lean Enterprises. The revision and release of this version was driven by the realization within organizations that they need to transform more than their development teams. They need transform organization-wide in order to compete in today’s landscape. The focus has now pivoted towards full business agility. According to SAFe 5.0, Business Agility allows organizations to capitalize on emerging opportunities by empowering their people to make quick decisions, allocate money, and align the right people to do the work.

Also, SAFe recognizes that a framework alone is not enough to achieve a successful transformation; the true difference makers are an organization’s talent—their teams and leaders. These people are what will make it happen.

So, how does this new mindset effect SAFe 5.0?

Scaled Agile provides a very detailed description of this but I wanted to summarize for you as a quick reference.

Updated Big Picture

safe 5.0 big picture

(Version 4.6 for reference.)

SAFe 5.0 is considered to be “Your Operating System for Business Agility

New SAFe Overview tab
A new overview tab on the home page illustrates a simplified view of SAFe’s Seven Core Competencies of the Lean Enterprise. This graphic provides a fantastic initial orientation to SAFe.

safe 5.0 overview

Introduction of OKRs to Measure Business Agility
The best way to get familiar with this is to read SAFe’s Measure and Grow. It describes how to measure the state of business agility and how to accelerate growth to improve overall economic outcomes.

Essential SAFe

There is no longer any division between Program and Teams at the Essential level. See the 4.6 Essential picture below for comparison: 

These roles have been combined (and) to recognize that Agile teams include business and technical teams.

There is no longer a specified Dev team to reiterate this point.

Restructured Competencies

DevOps and Release on Demand is now Agile Product delivery.

Business Solutions and Leans Systems is now Enterprise Solution Delivery.

New Core Competencies

The Continuous Learning Culture competency describes a set of values and practices that encourage individuals—and the enterprise as a whole—to continually increase knowledge, competence, performance, and innovation.

The Organizational Agility competency describes how Lean-thinking people and Agile teams optimize their business processes, evolve strategy with clear and decisive new commitments, and quickly adapt the organization as needed to capitalize on new opportunities.

Continuous Delivery in Iterations
SAFe 5.0 provides more clarity on continuous delivery pipeline flow in iterations. The Continuous Delivery Pipeline directly supports faster value delivery to customers.

Customer Centricity and Design Thinking
There are two new articles about Customer Centricity, and Design Thinking. In both articles you’ll see that guidance has been expanded to focus on the mindset and impact of customer centricity. You’ll also find interesting information about tools and practices of implementing design thinking in support of customer centricity.

Portfolio Version
The Portfolio Vision TOWS analysis has been added. The key difference between the SWOT and TOW analysis is the outcomes that they create. A SWOT analysis is a great way to uncover the current situation of your value stream, product or portfolio, while TOWS is used primarily for identifying strategic options to create a better future state. 

Updated SAFe House of Lean

(Version 4.6 for reference.)

New Principle #10 – Organize Around Value

This new principle guides enterprises to align their development efforts around the full, end-to-end value flow.
  1. Take an economic view
  2. Apply systems thinking
  3. Assume variability; preserve options
  4. Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles
  5. Base milestones on objectives evaluation of working systems
  6. Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes, and mange queue lengths
  7. Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning
  8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers
  9. Decentralize decision-making
  10. Organize around value

Updated SAFe Implementation Roadmap

safe 5.0 implementation roadmap

(Version 4.6 for reference.)

New Courses

Lean Portfolio Management (LPM Certification)

New Elements

The previous Sustain and Improve step has been renamed Accelerate to capture what is needed to accelerate an organization’s journey to business agility. See this article for pro tips!

Business results has been replaced with Measure & Grow to reflect the addition to the Big Picture (noted above).

Get in on SAFe 5.0

Netmind is a Scaled Agile Partner and we will be happy to help your organization to achieve Business Agility through the implementation of SAFe 5.0. Moving forward, our official courses will be oriented to version 5.0. Be a part of this new SAFe revolution by joining us for these SAFe 5.0 courses: Do not miss it!

*Note for SPCs:

If you are certified in an earlier version of SAFe, you can upgrade to Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) 5.0 at no cost by logging in to the SAFe Community Platform and selecting the SAFe 5.0 Upgrade Learning Plan. You must have a certification in good standing to be able to upgrade to 5.0.

After you complete the learning plan, you can take an upgrade exam to upgrade all your active SAFe 4 certifications to SAFe 5.0. You have two attempts to pass the upgrade exam at no cost. If additional attempts are needed, there is a fee for each retake.

Also important… what happens if you don’t upgrade to SAFe 5.0? Any active certifications will remain valid until the date of expiration. Certifications expire annually if they are not renewed. You can renew your SAFe® 4 certification for a fee. However, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of the free upgrade path offered (for current SAFe 4 members) to the latest Framework and new tools.

Take into consideration that Scaled Agile always supports the version immediately preceding the current version, so the framework and courseware for 4.6 will be available until the next update or upgrade.

Please let me know if you have any other questions about this recent upgrade, or if you need help reaching business agility! 

– Ana

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About the Author

Ana Aranda Diaz

Ana Aranda Diaz

Ana is a PMP®, PMI-ACP®, SAFe SPC with more than 25 years of experience in product/project management and business development in multinational companies across the globe. She has worked as as business consultant as well as a instructor in different countries and companies. She is comfortable with challenges and with handling cultural diversity. One of her roles is to foster Project Management culture and improving the human skills aspect in the companies she work for. Ana telecommunication engineer with an executive Master's Degree in Human Resources Management. She has strong business and technical background that allows fast learning and enables immediate value added generation. Connect with Ana on LinkedIn

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