SAFe framework

SAFe framework

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) is a structured hybrid IT delivery approach that helps large enterprises implement Agile at large scale. SAFe distinguishes four configurations. The first configuration is mainly for small or starting organizations. The subsequent configurations are more complex and for large(r) organizations.

The configurations are:

  • Essential SAFe: the building blocks and simplest starting point for SAFe implementation.
  • Large Solution SAFe: for developing complex solutions, without the need for portfolio management.
  • Portfolio SAFe: aligns execution with strategy by organizing developments around value streams.
  • Full SAFe: the most comprehensive version of the Framework that supports enterprises in building and maintaining large integrated solutions.

SAFe for Lean enterprises (© Scaled Agile, Inc.) is a knowledge base of proven, integrated principles, practices, and competencies for Lean, Agile, and DevOps. SAFe introduces the five core competencies of the Lean enterprise that are critical to achieving and sustaining a competitive advantage in an increasingly digital age. These core competencies are shown as circles in the Full SAFe picture and are read starting from the circle in the middle at the bottom of the picture, followed by the circles on the right, from bottom to top. Scaled Agile Inc. regularly releases new versions of SAFe, for the up-to-date version please refer to the official SAFe website:

SAFe 6.0
  • Lean-Agile Leadership
    Advancing and applying Lean-Agile leadership skills.
  • Team and Technical Agility
    Driving technical practices including Built-in Quality, Behavior-Driven development (BDD), Agile testing, Test-Driven Development (TDD), and more.
  • DevOps and Release on Demand
    Building the Continuous Delivery Pipeline and implementing DevOps and Release on Demand.
  • Business Solutions and Lean Systems Engineering
    Building the largest software applications and cyber-physical solutions.
  • Lean Portfolio Management
    Executing portfolio vision and strategy formulation, chartering portfolios, creating the Vision, Lean budgets and Guardrails, as well as portfolio prioritization, and road mapping.

A few characteristics of the SAFe framework are:

  • It is a layered framework .
  • SAFe works with recognizable organizational layers and responsibilities are allocated per layer for coordination, governance and alignment.
  • All aspects of a value stream are aligned to the broader business goals.
  • Organizations might achieve greater transparency.
  • Cross-functional teams can collaborate more effectively.

TMAP defines twenty quality assurance and testing topics. We have plotted these organizing and performing topics to the SAFe levels in the section "Hybrid IT delivery models (especially SAFe)".

If you want to learn more about SAFe, we refer you to

The SAFe® aspects of built-in quality

SAFe® focuses on the quality of products with their five dimensions of built-in quality. The dimensions are: Flow, Architecture & Design quality, Code quality, System quality and Release quality.

  • Flow is achieved with a test-first approach (with TDD and BDD) and a continuous delivery pipeline. In the test-first approach SAFe® distinguishes between guiding the team and critiquing the product just like in the agile testing quadrants.
  • Architecture and design quality are achieved by determining future needs, and designing for quality (for example by good coupling & cohesion design). Good architecture and design contribute to good testability.
  • Code quality is achieved by several practices such as automated unit testing with test driven development (TDD) and paired working. But also collective ownership across teams and coding standards.
  • Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is important in achieving system quality through alignment and shared understanding which reduces rework and delays.
  • To achieve release quality there must be a scalable definition of done that aligns the goals of the teams involved and the goals of the organization as a whole.

Scaling agility results in many engineers making many small changes that must be continually checked for conflicts and errors. Continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) provide developers with fast-feedback on changes. A CI/CD pipeline is key in achieving built-in quality for products, as well as the process and the people.