SAFe 4.0 Distilled: Applying the Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Software and Systems Engineering

SAFe 4.0 Distilled: Applying the Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Software and Systems Engineering

by Richard Knaster, Dean Leffingwell

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SAFe®: The World’s Leading Framework for Enterprise Agility

“SAFe® 4.0 Distilled is the book we’ve all been waiting for. It breaks down the complexity of the Framework into easily digestible explanations and actionable guidance. A must-have resource for beginners as well as seasoned practitioners.”

Lee Cunningham, Sr. Director, Enterprise Agile Strategy at VersionOne, Inc.

To succeed in today’s adapt-or-die marketplace, businesses must be able to rapidly change the way they create and deliver value to their customers. Hundreds of the world’s most successful companies—including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, AstraZeneca, Cisco, and Philips—have turned to the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) to achieve agility at scale and maintain a competitive edge.


SAFe® 4.0 Distilled: Applying the Scaled Agile Framework® for Lean Software and Systems Engineering explains how adopting SAFe can quickly improve time to market and increase productivity, quality, and employee engagement.


In this book, you will

  • Understand the business case for SAFe: its benefits, the problems it solves, and how to apply it
  • Get an overview of SAFe across all parts of the business: team, program, value stream, and portfolio
  • Learn why SAFe works: the power of SAFe’s Lean-Agile mindset, values, and principles
  • Discover how systems thinking, Agile development, and Lean product development form the underlying basis for SAFe
  • Learn how to become a Lean-Agile leader and effectively drive an enterprise-wide transformation

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780134209456
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 99998
File size: 41 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Richard Knaster, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant at Scaled Agile, Inc., 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. He was a contributor to SAFe(R) 4.0 Reference Guide (Addison-Wesley, 2017).


Dean Leffingwell, creator of SAFe®, is widely recognized as the one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices. He is an author, serial entrepreneur, and software systems development methodologist. He is author of SAFe(R) 4.0 Reference Guide (Addison-Wesley, 2017). His two best-selling books, Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (Addison-Wesley, 2011), and Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises (Addison-Wesley, 2007), form much of the basis of modern thinking on Lean-Agile practices and principles.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

About the Authors xix


Part I: Overview 1


Chapter 1: Business Need for SAFe 3

Why Do Businesses Need SAFe? 3

The Challenge of System Development 4

Applying New Bodies of Knowledge 5

Improving System Development Outcomes 9

The Business Benefits of SAFe 10

Summary 13


Chapter 2: SAFe Overview 15

The Big Picture 15

The Levels 17

The Foundation 22

The Spanning Palette 24

Summary 25


Part II: The Foundation of SAFe 27


Chapter 3: Lean-Agile Mindset 29

Overview 29

Thinking Lean 30

Embracing Agility 33

Applying the Agile Manifesto at Scale 37

Summary 40


Chapter 4: Lean-Agile Leaders 41

Exhibit the Lean-Agile Mindset 42

Lead the Change 42

Know the Way and Emphasize Lifelong Learning 47

Develop People 48

Inspire and Align with Mission. Minimize Constraints 52

Decentralize Decision-Making 53

Unlock the Intrinsic Motivation of Knowledge Workers 54

Evolve the Development Manager Role 55

Summary 58


Chapter 5: SAFe Principles 61

Why Focus on Principles? 61

Principle #1: Take an Economic View 62

Principle #2: Apply Systems Thinking 70

Principle #3: Assume Variability; Preserve Options 74

Principle #4: Build Incrementally with Fast, Integrated Learning Cycles 76

Principle #5: Base Milestones on Objective Evaluation of Working Systems 79

Principle #6: Visualize and Limit WIP, Reduce Batch Sizes, and Manage Queue Lengths 80

Principle #7: Apply Cadence; Synchronize with Cross-Domain Planning 83

Principle #8: Unlock the Intrinsic Motivation of Knowledge Workers 87

Principle #9: Decentralize Decision-Making 89

Summary 91


Part III: Program and Team Level 93


Chapter 6: The Agile Release Train 95

Overview 95

ART Organization 97

Develop on Cadence. Release Any Time 100

Vision 102

Features 103

Program Backlog 104

Roadmap 104

Agile Teams Power the Train 105

User Stories and the Team Backlog 107

Summary 111


Chapter 7: Planning a Program Increment 113

Overview 113

Preparation for the PI Planning Event 115

Day 1—Create and Review Draft Plans 118

Day 2—Finalize Plans and Commit 125

Summary 133


Chapter 8: Executing a Program Increment 135

Overview 135

The Iteration Cycle 136

Building Quality In 140

Improving Team Flow with Kanban 143

Managing ART Flow 146

System Demo 154

Innovation and Planning 154

Inspect and Adapt 156

Summary 156


Chapter 9: Inspect and Adapt 159

Overview 159

PI System Demo 160

Quantitative Measurement 160

Retrospective and Problem-Solving Workshop 162

Inspect and Adapt at the Value Stream Level 166

Summary 167


Part IV: Value Stream Level 169


Chapter 10: Value Stream Overview 171

Overview 171

Economic Framework 173

Capabilities and the Value Stream Backlog 176

Value Stream Epics 177

Defining and Building the Solution 178

Value Stream Flow 179

Summary 180


Chapter 11: Defining Large and Complex Solutions 183

Overview 183

The Solution 184

Solution Intent 186

Fixed and Variable Solution Intent 187

Developing Solution Intent 188

Documenting Solution Intent 191

Solution Context 192

Summary 196


Chapter 12: Coordinating ARTs and Suppliers 197

Overview 197

Value Stream PI Planning 198

ART PI Planning 200

Value Stream Post-PI Planning 201

Frequent Solution Integration 204

Value Stream Sync 206

Solution Demo 206

Value Stream Inspect and Adapt 207

Summary 207


Part V: Portfolio 209


Chapter 13: Portfolio Level Overview 211

Overview 211

Connecting the Portfolio to the Business 213

Defining Strategic Themes for a Portfolio 213

Influence of Strategic Themes 214

Measuring Progress against Strategic Themes 215

Portfolio Roles 215

Lean-Agile Program Portfolio Management 218

Advancing Solution Behavior with Portfolio Epics 221

Establishing Enterprise Value Flow 223

Coordinating Value Streams 225

Summary 228


Chapter 14: Lean-Agile Budgeting, Forecasting, and Contracting 231

Introduction 231

Lean-Agile Budgeting 231

Lean-Agile Planning and Forecasting 235

Lean-Agile Contracting 237

Agile Capitalization Strategies 243

Summary 247


Part VI: Implementing SAFe 249


Chapter 15: The Guiding Coalition 251

Introduction 251

The Implementation Roadmap 252

Reaching the Tipping Point 253

The Need for a Powerful Coalition 255

Train Lean-Agile Change Agents 255

Train Executives, Managers, and Leaders 256

Charter a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence 257

Summary 258


Chapter 16: Design the Implementation 259

Introduction 259

Create the Implementation Plan 265

Summary 268


Chapter 17: Implementing Agile Release Trains 269

Introduction 269

Prepare for the ART Launch 270

Train Teams and Launch the ART 277

The Quick-Start Approach to ART Launch 280

Coach ART Execution 281

Launch More ARTs in the Value Stream 282

Launch More Value Streams in the Portfolio 284

Summary 285


Chapter 18: Sustain and Improve 287

Introduction 287

Advance Organizational Maturity 288

Implement Agile HR Practices292

Measure and Take Action 293

Improve Agile Architecture and Technical Practices 295

Focus on DevOps and Continuous Delivery 297

Reduce Time to Market with Value Stream Mapping 298

Summary 299


Chapter 19: Essential SAFe 301

Overview 301

Lean-Agile Principles 303

Agile Teams and Release Trains 306

Cadence and Synchronization 308

Essential Team and Program Roles 310

PI Planning 312

System Demo 313

Inspect and Adapt 314

IP Iteration 315

DevOps Pipeline 316

Lean-Agile Leadership 317

Summary 319


Abbreviations 321

Glossary 323

Index 335

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