Fig.: Essential SAFe Overview *Sources: 07

Hi, welcome to this compact lesson where we will look at the smallest scaling of SAFe.

What content is covered in this lesson?

We’ll talk about in the next few minutes:

  • the situations in which Essential SAFe lends itself,
  • what levels there are,
  • what roles there are and what basic tasks each role has,
  • how Essential SAFe differentiates itself from the other scalings,
  • what types of teams there are,
  • we also talk about sprints and product increments,
  • about the Objective, the Vision and the Roadmap,
  • also about the release train,
  • and about Continuous Exploration, Integration and Deployment.

But now to the content of this lesson:

Where is the Essential SAFe applied?

You will find the Essential SAFe either in manageable company sizes with up to about 50 project team members or encapsulated projects of the same size without much interaction with external interfaces. In contrast to Scrum, this scaling already assumes that the project is designed as a program (here in the program level) and is realized by several teams (here in the team level) with several products. For this reason, there is a Program Backlog and several Team Backlogs. All teams work towards a common release train with the overall solution. The Release Train Engineer (also called RTE) coordinates the Scrum Masters and Product Owners of the teams in such a way that the delivered work results of the teams lead to working releases. He also distributes good practices within teams to the other teams and advises the Scrum Masters. The Release Train Engineer in therefore assigned to the program level.

At the program level, product management ensures that the products of the product owners result in a functioning overall solution that meets the requirements. The system architect is responsible for developing the solution and IT basis for the entire program, on which the teams can then develop their product solutions. The business owners represent the interests of the departments in the project, but also commercial interests.

How is management considered in Essential SAFe?

The Essential SAFe does not involve the top management level and therefore does not include strategic solution approaches. In addition, this scaling assumes that there is only one solution to be developed and that multiple solutions are not required for an overall solution. Therefore, there is no Solution Train and no Value Stream here. In Essential SAFe, there is only one solution – the Solution Context.

Attached to this lesson you will find a PDF in A3 format with the Essential SAFe Overview. Depending on the project scaling you use, feel free to print this out and hang it on the wall in your project room as a basis for discussion and explanation to the team.

Fig.: Requirements elicitation in SAFe *Sources: 07
What does the vision mean in SAFe?

Before a solution is developed, it is always necessary to define a vision (the goal of the solution to be developed), a rough plan to achieve this solution (the roadmap) and to secure the infrastructure (the system team) for the solution to be developed. Requirements elicitation is also firmly anchored in the SAFe model, as are the agile principles of customer focus.

What does solution development look like in SAFe?

Solution development takes place in iterations of several sprints per product increment. Each Program Increment is preceded by PI planning (Program Increment Planning) – although PI planning can also be done together with Sprint planning before each individual Sprint. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these alternatives in more detail later. Each PI also has a fixed goal, which is recorded in the PI Objectives, so that this is not lost sight of in the course of the Sprints. Each sprint is followed by verification that the PI target is still met and a demonstration of the newly developed functionality to the customer in the running system. One or more product increments flow into the release train – ideally in the form of an automated continuous integration and deployment process into the development, demo, test, training and integration instance. New releases can then be deployed into the production system at selected times. Of course, the big school is when the deployment of releases into the production system is also fully automated and carried out at short intervals – in extreme cases daily.

Is DevOps compatible with SAFe?

Since Continuous Integration requires close collaboration between development and operation of the software solution, DevOps is also part of SAFe. This point is so specific and broad that I will not go into it here. However, I plan to provide a separate course for this in the future. In the SAFe diagram you can read about the basics of DevOps in SAFe.

Is quality assurance considered in the SAFe?

And last but not least, we also find quality assurance in SAFe, in which the quality areas and test methods are described – also a very broad topic with the most diverse approaches to integration in the project process. We will also go into more detail about this in the course of the course series.

Now let’s summarize what we have covered in this lesson:

  • we now know for which situations the Essential SAFe is suitable,
  • which roles do what at the team and program level in a very basic way,
  • how Essential SAFe differentiates itself from the other scalings,
  • that there are system teams in addition to project teams,
  • that sprints are bundled into product increments and planned in advance,
  • that there are also objectives, a vision and a roadmap above the PIs,
  • that there is such a thing as a release train, continuous integration and continuous deployment,
  • and that we will go into great detail as the course progresses – exactly when the topics come up in the course of the project.

Now that we have dealt with the smallest SAFe scaling with the program level, we will extend this in the lesson after next with the Large Solution level, in which an overall solution can be created from several individual solutions.

But before that, we have another little surprise for you: The following lesson contains a short quiz in which you can check for yourself which content from this lesson has stuck with you. I wish you a lot of fun with it, see you again in the lesson after next!

*Source data: 07

Leave a Reply