Introducing the new SAFe Implementation Roadmap!

Introducing the new SAFe Implementation Roadmap!

Implementation Roadmap SAFe Updates

Hi Folks,

When we released SAFe Version 4.0 last January (seems like forever ago in the lifetime of SAFe), we also introduced the ‘Implementing 1,2,3 Tab’ to provide our first published guidance on how to implement SAFe. That was sound advice, and it served well as basic guidance to implement SAFe. Many successful implementations followed, as you can see from Case Studies.

But we all know it takes more than that. How does one identify value streams and design the ARTs to begin with? How do you get ready for the first PI planning event? What do you do after you’ve launched that first ART? And so much more.

To address this larger issue of implementing SAFe at enterprise scale, we are pleased to announce a series of guidance articles which can now be found under the Implementation Roadmap main menu. There you will find this picture and upcoming links to 12 new articles (one for each roadmap step below), which provide more detailed guidance for implementing SAFe at scale. Of course, we all also know that there is no one right way to implement SAFe, but after hundreds of successful implementations, this pattern emerged as the most common, so we decided to share it here.

Figure 1. SAFe Implementation Roadmap
Figure 1. SAFe Implementation Roadmap

Please be advised that this thread is a work in progress and we are planning to release about an article a week until this series is complete. As of this writing, the first article is posted. You can start the journey by clicking here.

Good luck with implementing SAFe; we are confident you will get the outstanding business results that you deserve.

Stay SAFe!

Dean and the Framework team

Author Info

Dean Leffingwell

Recognized as the one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices, Dean Leffingwell is an author, entrepreneur, and software development methodologist.

comment (6)

  1. Tony Ludwig

    13 Jan 2017 - 11:37 am

    I see we go right to setting up ARTS, after education. I understand that this may be a baseline, but I always like to assess the current situation, decide on SAFe implementation framework strategy (do I need 4 levels, 3 levels, or the Essentials? similar thinking as a Software Development checklist in RUP) and I have always set up the Portfolio first, regardless of size, to get them to understand and exercise the fundamentals of Strategic, Tactical, and Daily concerns. Am I incorrect in doing so?

    • Dean Leffingwell

      Dean Leffingwell

      22 Jun 2017 - 12:01 pm

      Hi Tony,
      What you say makes sense to me, depending on context of course. There is no one right way to implement SAFe. For the Implementation Roadmap, we just had to pick the sweet spot, the activities that are always necessary. The order doesn’t matter as much as the understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. Every implementation, and every organizational change, has its own personality. Thinking is required.


    11 Jan 2017 - 12:11 pm

    Hi Dean,
    Good to read you.
    I am guiding SAFe implementation in the biggest Mexico Bank, so your approach “SAFe implementation roadmap” is interesting for me.
    IMHO this roadmap should be a baseline, the baseline that you could adapt whenever needed, depend a lot of factors.
    Every people is different, every team is different, every enterprise is diferent, so are not an unique roadmap to transform or implementing. Should be iterative, rolling wave planning.
    I would hope meet you at next SAFe Summit (our RTE was there with you last year).
    Kind regards

  3. Frank Schophuizen

    10 Jan 2017 - 11:48 pm

    Hi Dean, why isn’t the SAFe implementation roadmap a release train in itself, with a vision, program backlog, PI planning, cadence, demos, releases any time, I&A workshop, etc. That way it would comply with the SAFe principles, in particular #4, #7, #8 and #9.

    • Dean Leffingwell

      Dean Leffingwell

      11 Jan 2017 - 1:02 pm

      Hi Frank,
      In the upcoming articles, you’ll see how the Lean-Agile Center of Excellence often takes the path you describe, though it’s sized more like an Agile team than a train.

      • Tom Sylvester

        13 Jan 2017 - 9:56 am


        That is most often how we implement. Get the Lean/Agile Center of Excellence team established (ideally early but sometimes there is prework for an organization), then have them go through the process of implementing agile in the organization by utilizing the tactics.

        Outside of helping to implement and sustain, it also gives many people who may never be on an agile team the experience of going through the same challenges that an agile team faces, so they have a better appreciation.

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