SAFe is an agile framework aimed to be deployed at enterprise scale, based on Lean, Agile and DevOps approaches. Even though deploying agility at enterprise scale may sound appealing, when it comes to the practical stage, the complexity of the technical vocabulary is likely to be disheartening for many of us. Before getting started, you better take time to learn the basics: how to speak SAFe – scaled agile framework ? Let’s see all about vocab, roles and specific events.
The fundamentals of SAFe – Glossary
Agile Release Train (ART)
The Agile Release Train (ART) is a cross-functional team made of several multi-profile Agile teams.
Communities of Practice (CoPs)
Communities of Practices (CoPs) are organized groups of people with a common interest in a specific technical or business field. These different groups collaborate on a regular basis to share information, to strengthen their skills and intensively work to increase their general knowledge of their field of expertise.
The Portfolio Backlog is SAFe highest level of backlog. This means that it encompasses a list of epics.
Program Increment (PI) Planning
The Program Increment (PI) Planning is a regular planning event, organized face-to-face, which sets the working rhythm of the Agile Release Train (ART) and also provides all the ART teams with a common mission and vision.
The solution Train is an organizational concept used to set up more complex solutions, requiring not only the coordination of several Agile Release Trains (ART), but also Suppliers contributions. The purpose is to align the ART group with a shared business and technological mission thanks to the solution vision, the Backlog vision as well as the Roadmap vision; and all this, according to the Program Increment (PI).
Value Streams are a long-lived series of steps used to develop a solution and create a continuous flow of value to be delivered to Customers. SAFe Value Streams are used not only to set and achieve business objectives for the portfolio, but also to organise Agile Release Trains (ART) in order to deliver value faster.
The Architectural Runway includes the existing code, components and technical infrastructures needed to implement new features, avoiding excessive redesign or deadlines extensions.
Compliance represents both a strategy and a set of activities and artifacts that allow teams to implement Lean-Agile development methods in order to develop the highest possible quality systems, while ensuring to meet legal, technical or any other industry standards.
The Portfolio Kanban is a method to visualize, manage and analyze the prioritization as well as the flow of portfolio epics, from its conception through implementation and completion.
The Solution Backlog represents the holding area for the upcoming Capabilities and Enablers, which are likely to extend across several ART. Moreover, it is used to advance the Solution and build its Architectural Runway.
Stories are short descriptions of desired features, generally written in the user’s language. Agile Teams implement small, vertical slices of system functionalities, which are then sized to make it possible their completion in a single Iteration.
Built-In-Quality practices ensure that each Solution element meets specific and appropriate quality standards throughout the development process, at each and every increment.
Continuous Delivery Pipeline
The Continuous Delivery Pipeline (CDP, or simply Pipeline) represents the workflow, the automatization and the activities needed to deliver value continuously to end users.
The Program Backlog is the holding area for upcoming Features, whose aim is both meeting user requirements and delivering business benefits for a single Agile Release Train (ART). Moreover, it also encompasses the Enabler Features necessary to build the Architectural Runway.
The Solution Context identifies the critical aspects of the operational environnement for a Solution. It actually provides an essential understanding of a Solution requirements, use, setup, exploitation and support. The Solution Context has a significant impact on the opportunities and the constraints to create a Release on demand.
The Roadmap is a schedule of events and Milestones, planning all the deliverables of a product/solution. It gathers all the commitments for the Program Increment (PI) and provides an overall view of the planned deliverables and milestones for a few upcoming PI.
Different roles in SAFe
SAFe Agile Team is a cross-functional group made of 5 to 10 people having both the skills and the authority to define, build and test some elements of a given product in a short time box (Iteration). SAFe Agile Teams generally get their inspirations from Scrum method and include key roles such as Dev Team, Scrum Master and Product Owner ones.
Enablers are responsible for the necessary activities to extend the Architectural Runway as to provide future business functionalities. These activities include exploration, infrastructure, compliance and architecture. You can find Enablers in any Backlog and also throughout the framework, at all levels.
Lean-Agile Leaders learn continuously. They are responsible for SAFe adoption and its outcomes. They encourage teams to unleash their potential and come up with the best system solutions by learning, exhibiting, teaching, coaching and promoting SAFe Lean-Agile practices, principles and values.
Solution Management manages the content for a Solution Backlog. Its members work together with Customers to better understand their needs, prioritize Capabilities, define Vision and Roadmap for a solution, define requirements and guide work through Kanban Solution.
Business Owners are a small group of people having the primary business and technical responsibility for governance, compliance and Return On Investment (ROI) for a Solution that has been developed by an Agile Release Train (ART). They are ART stakeholders who have to assess use suitability and actively take part in some ART events.
The Enterprise Architect promotes adaptive design, engineering practices and guides architectural initiatives for a portfolio. They also facilitate the reuse of ideas, components, services and proven models across enterprise solutions of a portfolio.
Product Owner (PO)
The Product Owner (PO) is a member of the Agile Team responsible for defining Stories and prioritizing Team Blog to help teams optimize the execution of program priorities while maintaining the conceptual and technical integrity of the Features or any other component.
The Dev Team is part of the Agile Team. It is a unit composed of highly skilled professionals who develop, test and deploy a Story, Feature or component. It typically includes software developers and testers, engineers and other dedicated experts to complete a vertical slice of functionalities.
Epic Owners are responsible for advancing epics across the Kanban Portfolio system. They define an epic, its Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and the Lean business case. Once all these elements have been approved, epic owners facilitate their implementation.
Release Train Engineer (RTE)
The Release Train Engineer (RTE) is both a servant leader and a coach for the Agile Release Train (ART). Their main responsibilities are to facilitate ART processes and events as well as support teams to value creation and delivery. Moreover, RTEs communicate with stakeholders, detect and escalate impediments, her manage risks and push for continuous improvement, too.
The Product Management manages the content for the Product Backlog. Its members are responsible for identifying Customer needs, prioritizing Features, managing the workflow through the Kanban Program as well as for developing both the Vision and the Roadmap program.