Earlier this year we witnessed the release of new version of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) version 4.0, many of our clients started asking what is new in this version? Scaled Agile Framework  Website has many resources explaining version 4 and its differences from the previous version. In this article, I am sharing the four areas which I noticed after teaching multiple batches of Leading SAFe using version 4.

SAFe 4 has Four Levels

SAFe version 3 did specify the need for new roles and ceremonies if more than one release trains work for the single solution. SAFe 3 acknowledge requirement for synchronization among multiple release trains when they serve the one value stream. In SAFe version 4 we have value stream level which defines roles (Value Stream Engineer, Solution Management, Solution Architect/Engineer ), ceremonies and artifacts required to bring alignment in multi release train scenario, this level is optional, since all SAFe implementation may not be that large.

Kanban at all levels

In SAFe 3.0 we had Kanban for making enterprise level initiative transparent, the Kanban at portfolio level also helped in refining and evaluating Business Epics and Architecture Epics (now called Enabler Epics) before they make to Portfolio Backlog. In version 4.0 we have Kanban at all four levels. At Value stream level Kanban helps in making the refinement of Capabilities transparent. It also facilitated evaluation of locally identified Capabilities. In the similar way Program level Kanban facilitate the Feature refinement and evaluation. In SAFe 4.0 we can have Kanban teams working as part of the train, like other teams on train Kanban teams also follow normalized estimation and commit to program objectives in PI planning.

Focus on Solution

SAFe version 4.0 explicitly mention solution and customer, when we think of backlog we usually see collections of features and user stories, but at the end customer needs solution and this solution many time includes deliverables from other suppliers, SAFe 4.0 elaborates Solution , Solution Intend, Solution Context, Solution Management and Customer.

Communities of Practices

Most of the agile organizations have Communities of practices, Communities of practices facilitates informal interaction and knowledge sharing in the common domain. In SAFe 4.0 it is recognized formally by providing space and elaboration on Big picture.

To know more visit scaled agile article on changes, and also check our video on SAFe 4.0