SAFe – Business Owners

SAFe has business owner’s roles, which are being played through three to five groups of stakeholders. These people have shared governance, fiduciary, ROI responsibility, and efficacy for the Agile Release Train delivered value. In every train, the role is being carried out by the people who are suited enough for this kind of job. Aside from that, they have other responsibilities in every stage such as before PI Planning, during PI Planning, Assigning business worth, at adapt and inspect, PI Execution, and other working responsibilities.
Before PI Planning
This period is considered as Business Owners business time because they have a lot of things do such as participating during prior-PI Planning, understanding all the business goals and objectives, helping the stakeholders, Product Management, System Architects, and Train Release Engineer comprehend and understand the set goals, and providing the context of the business to the Milestones, external dependencies, and suppliers. When these people do not make these responsibilities the next step or process will be tremendously affected.
During the PI Planning
The roles of these individuals are very important during this process as they deliver related business context elements, play a major role when it comes to the review of draft plan in which they need to understand its bigger picture and whether or not the plans achieve the recent business goals, circulate the process, communicate the priorities of the business to various teams, keep the stakeholders’ alignment and agreement, and actively join with the review on the management and problem-solving session. With these obligations of the Business Owners from SAFe, these should be properly done so that everything will go accordingly and hassle-free.
Assigning Business Worth
The assignment of business worth especially during planning stage gives the business owners, the team, and the stakeholders a salient face-to-face dialogue. Aside from that, it provides a chance to enhance a personal rapport between the Business Owners and the Agile Teams in which they will be able to gain a deep understanding wherein the mutual commitment is being based. Also, they will better realize the true business goals and their relative worth.
At adapt and inspect
The adapt and inspect workshop can be considered as the larger cadence-based chance wherein the Agile Release Train (ART) will be able to make deeper reflections and to solve a wide variety of predicaments that they will face along their ways. These impediments cannot be solved without the business owners’ involvement. In the workshop, business owners evaluate the actual value of businesses while considering the plan. Furthermore, they make an active participation on problem solving.
PI Execution
Apart from that, their roles do not stop. As a matter of fact, they play a significant obligation during this process such as attending to the system demonstration that will view the development which can provide feedback, attending Iteration planning, attending iteration Retrospective sessions, and others.
Other responsibilities
These include providing a feedback on the Solution Demo, addressing impediments, joining in the Post-PI Planning, assisting trains in adjusting the Agile Release Trains PI plans. With all of these responsibilities of the business owners, they have an important role all throughout the process.

— Slimane Zouggari

SAFe: Value Streams

Value Streams are known as the primary SAFe construct intended for organizing, understanding and delivering value. Every value stream is considered as a long-lived series of the steps which an enterprise would use in order to offer continuous flow of value to the customer. The main goal of the SAFe portfolio would be about financing and nurturing set of solution development activities which either delivers the end user with direct value or whether to support some other business value streams. It is considered as a critical skill to identify and optimize value streams of the Lean-Agile enterprise.
It is a fact that organizing around value would offer substantial benefits into the organization such as faster learning, higher quality, solutions, higher productivity and shorter time of marketing which are all better fit into the intended purpose. SAFe would definitely be of great help for you in terms of organizing around value that would be accomplished first by understanding the value streams and finally organizing the SAFe Agile Release Trains in order to realize them. The art and science of SAFe is realizing the value streams through the ARTs. Apart from that, value streams would lend themselves into systematic analysis as well as improvement through value stream mapping that is utilised in order to identify as well as address the delays and also the non-value added activities therefore helping in terms of accomplishing only the shortest sustainable lead time.
What are the types of Value Streams?
For SAFe, system builders should be aware about the two types of the value streams that are present in a certain enterprise. The first one is the operational value streams which show the steps to be used in order to provide services and goods to the customer both for external and internal. And this is how the said company would make money. The second one is the development value streams that are to show the steps being used in order to develop new products, services capabilities and systems. In most cases, these are the same, once a solution provider would develop the product for sale as well as feeds distribution directly. However, in the said case there is only a value stream being the development as well as operations are considered to be the same. Still, it is critical to understand both types of the value streams since the development value stream would feed the operational value stream.
How to identify value streams?
Within some organizations, it is a simple task to identify value streams. Most are simply the services, products and solutions they develop as well as sell. Once the enterprise gets a bit larger the task would be more complicated as well. Value would flow via applications as well as services and might across numbers of parts of the distributed organization to numbers of external and internal customers of different types. In some of the larger IT shops, value might move across numbers of departments as well as organizations and also across numbers of deployed systems. And in that case, finding the value stream might be an essential analytical as well as business context-related activity which provides basic foundation intended for the Lean-Agile transformation.

SAFe: Strategic Themes

Lots of organizations utilize strategic themes in their strategy map. These themes could help organize those groups of related strategic goals, which work altogether to present a valuable and specific business result.
Let’s Take a Thorough Look of What Strategic Theme Really Is
Strategic themes are itemized, specific objectives, which link a SAFe Portfolio to the changing business strategy of an enterprise. It offer business context mainly for decision making in the portfolio at the same time affect investments in the Value Streams and be able to offer inputs to the following decisions:
– Program Backlog
– Solution
– Portfolio
– Budgets
– Economic Framework
These themes don’t need to restate the evident, as majority of elements of the vision of portfolio are comprehended through context. In addition, portfolios stakeholders are typically understand well what the portfolio is really for, handle, and create their own visions and goals.
What does it offer?
To a certain extent, strategic theme is capable in providing the enterprise along with the differentiators that is going forward coming from the present state to the unknown state. These aid drive competitive differentiation as well as innovation, which is achievable through efficient portfolio solutions.
In addition to that, strategic themes are crafted as a result of a collaborative and structured planning process – one, which includes the executives and fiduciaries of the enterprise and the key stakeholders coming from every portfolio.
Devising Strategic Themes
Creating strategic themes is one practice in strategy formulation; however, it is not the state of SAFe portfolio context. According to the guidance of a certain enterprise, this theme is an output of a collaborative process, which is a kind of process wherein the enterprise portfolio stakeholders are able to work along with portfolio stakeholders to analyze a collection of inputs prior to getting at conclusions.
Following are some common samples of strategic themes:
(1) Create shingle sign-on in the portfolio applications into the internal enterprise apps
(2) Online retailer or lower warehouse costs
(3) Execute operational and product support for securities in FOREX trading (security company)
(4) Demand to a younger demographic or online retailer
(5) Regulate on three (3) software platforms
How Strategic Themes Affect the Portfolio
Strategic themes are one of those primary inputs into the portfolio vision at the same time plays as elements of Economic Framework, which affects Agile Release Train budgets, Value Streams, individual ART vision, Portfolio Backlog and Roadmap.
 Economic Frameworks – it affects some of the major parameters such as product cost, cycle time or development, risk, product value and development expense
 Value Streams – such theme affect value stream budget that present the spending s well as the personnel allocations needed to build the portfolio vision.
 Vision & Priorities – here, the Product and Solution Management was able to apply such them to affect the roadmap.
 Portfolio Backlog – themes offer decision making filters on the system of Portfolio Kanban thus affecting the portfolio backlog.
Keep in mind that strategic themes are quite essential tool for corresponding strategy to the whole portfolio. It offers a memorable, simple reference frame and at the same time must seep into the thinking of everybody included in Solution delivery.

SAFe: Non-functional requirements

If there’s any one thing that all projects should have to ensure a successful project outcome, that is a comprehensive and sensible collection of non-functional requirements, aside from functional requirements.
NFR or non-functional requirements is responsible for describing how the system runs. Essentially, it identifies how the system should work and that is a constriction on the behavior of the system. Also, you can think of NFR as a quality attribute of a system. It covers all the remaining necessities which are not comprised by the functional requirements. Instead of specifying specific behaviors, they identify criteria that judge the system’s operation.
What are the typical non-functional requirements?
There are many typical NFR included, some of them include:
• Performance
Requirements on resources required, throughput, static volumetric, utilization, benchmark utilizations, response time or whatever thing that is having to do with performance.
• Precision and accuracy
This refers to the precision and accuracy of the data. However, each one is advisable to become beware of the one hundred percent requirements, as they frequently cost great amount of money.
• Modifiability
This is the requirements about the effort needed to make software changes.
• Reliability
Requirements on how frequent the software fails. Often, the measurement is expressed in mean time between failures (MTBF). The description of the failure should be clear. People also get confuse between reliability and availability, which, in the first place should not because they are quite different types of requirements. Make sure to identify the results of software failure, a strategy to detect error, a correction strategy and how to protect from failure.
• Portability
This is the required effort to move the software into various target platforms. Mostly, the measurement is person-months or percent of elements that need altering.
• Usability
The requirements on how challenging it will be to learn and run the system. Often, the requirements are conveyed in learning time or other similar metrics.
• Security
One or more requirements on system protection and its data. The measurements may be expressed in a range of ways such as time, skill level and effort, among others, to get in the system.
• Integrity
Integrity requirements describe the system’s security attributes, which restricts access to data or feature to particular users as well as protect the privacy of data entered in the software.
• Robustness
A robust system is the one responsible for handling error conditions in a graceful way, with no failure. This includes a forbearance of invalid data, unexpected operating conditions and software detects.
There are other typical NFR included, and some of them are capacity, scalability, availability, maintainability, recoverability, serviceability, environmental, manageability, regulatory and interoperability.
With the increasing demand in this system, more and more companies are trying to get the interest and trust of clients, promising them a high quality service and product. But if you really want total assistance, Scaled Agile Framework is the best partner you can depend on with your non-functional requirements.
SAFe is a freely, online revealed expertise base of credible and proven success patterns when it comes to implementing Lean-Agile systems and software development at company scale. It offers extensive guidance for project at the enterprise Program, Value Stream, Portfolio and Team levels.

SAFe: epic abstract

Epic Abstract
Epics are considered as containers intended for important initiatives which would help in guiding value streams through larger aim of a portfolio. In doing so, they would drive more of the economic value for a certain enterprise. They are as well considered to be large and commonly crosscutting at the same time crossing numbers of value streams and also ARTs or the Agile Release Trains. They are also investment intensive as well as far ranging in impact like formulation as well as analysis of impact, cost and opportunity as a serious matter. And Epics as well need lightweight business case as well as financial approval prior to implementation. The two types of epics are enabler epics and business epics and are to appear in the value stream, portfolio and program levels.
Portfolio business epics and Enabler epics are considered as the largest epics that would capture that biggest crosscutting initiative which happen in a portfolio. Business epics are to bring business value directly while enabler epics are utilised in order to evolve the Architectural Runway therefore supporting the upcoming business epics. So, epics are captured initially within the Portfolio Kanban and would move into the system under WIP limits or the work-in-process. And this would help in reassuring that the ones doing the work would have some time needed in order to conduct a responsible analysis.
In connection, Kanban system is about helping manage the expectations intended for reasonable scoping as well as time frames intended for implementing the new ideas of a certain business. The final decision as for the actual implementation of every epic would be subjected into the authority of the PPM or Program Portfolio Management. Once resources are available, those decision makers could now choose from the numbers of business opportunities for there would be numbers of analysed epics within the backlog any time. And the epics that are being approved would proceed to Portfolio Backlog, waiting for the implementation capacity.
Epics are indeed the most important initiatives in a portfolio that’s why they should be analysed carefully prior to the implementation. The owners of epic should also take into responsibility for the said important task at the same time the architects of the enterprise would shepherd the enabler epics which support the technical considerations for the business epics. Those most worthy epics would be passed to analysis once space would become available within that queue. And from there, effort as well as economic impact are defined a lot better, cost estimates are as well established, WSJF prioritization would be refined and also lightweight business case will be developed.
Some of the things included in the analysis would be the following:
• Workshops along with business stakeholders for the purpose of describing and understanding the business benefits of the business epic
• Implementing spikes, exploration and research activities through teams
• Define the success criteria for the epic
• Workshops for architects as well as system engineering right from value stream and program levels and to the agile team allowing them to understand the implementation of the impact and effort in recent solutions and also some other related SMEs could be included
• Develop concrete examples in order to resolve certain ambiguities
And the result of the said analysis phase would be a lightweight business case which captures the results of the analysis such as refined description, estimates of time and cost of implementation, success criteria and also program impact.

SAFe: Enterprise Abstract

Every SAFe portfolio is comprised of a collection of Value Streams and added constructs essential to offer governance and funding for the services, products as well as Solutions, which the Enterprise must fulfill.
Along with those small and medium-sized businesses today, one single SAFe portfolio could generally be utilized to direct the whole technical solution set. On the other hand, to those bigger businesses, normally those along with over 500 to 1,000 technical practitioners, there could be countless portfolios, one for every line of business:
 Smaller Business
One ART, 1 value stream, value stream level not required
 Larger Business
Countless value streams where some comes along with different ART and complete solution context required
 Largest Business
Different SAFe portfolios by which some smaller, some larger
Essential Guidance on How Enterprise Could Communicate and Define
What does a SAFe Portfolio Symbolize?
This portfolio represents the utmost and highest level of issues articulated within SAFe. In addition to that, each program involves primarily a collection of Value Streams, which offer value. The level talks about the constructs necessary, which includes:
(1) Epics
(2) Portfolio Backlog
(3) Lean-Agile Budgeting
(4) Portfolio Kanban System
(5) Program Portfolio Management or PPM, etc.
Nevertheless, bear in mind that every portfolio is present for a one reason and that is to complete or accomplish its contribution in the direction of realizing the whole Enterprise strategy. How could this be done? The answer to that question is very simple. This is accomplished through aligning every vision of the portfolio into the strategy of the enterprise.
The main mechanisms for making this are those value streams, the whole portfolio budget, strategic themes, which correspond to changing strategic intent as well as to the constant feedback using portfolio context.

Know more about Single Enterprise SAFe – Things to Consider
1. Bigger Enterprises Have Countless Instances of SAFe – In order to obtain larger purposes, enterprise would have countless SAFe portfolios, all having its own budget as well as strategic themes that represent that portion of the unit of the business strategy.

2. Portfolio Contexts Updates Enterprise Strategy – Development strategy must have continuous communication, collaboration as well as alignment from and with the downstream portfolios. In a nutshell, this needs complete and full understanding of the portfolio context that involves:

• Qualitative Data which includes weaknesses, strengths, market, threats, opportunities, analysis and accumulated solution as well as business knowledge of portfolio stakeholders.

• Key Performance Indicators that is present on the portfolio in order to present essential feedback into the financial and qualitative measure like market share, innovation counting, customer net promoter score and so much more.

3. Strategy Formulation – Understanding and defining the strategic themes and portfolio budget is one of the important exercises when it comes to strategy formulation.

4. Decentralize Execution – According to the Principle #9 of SAFe, which is Decentralize Decision Making, the creation or formulation of the business strategy is mainly a centralized however collaborative concern that the enterprise fiduciaries as well as key portfolio stakeholders serves as a central role. In addition, execution of the solution strategy, nevertheless, is decentralized into the portfolio and is sustained by constant feedback, transparency, right portfolio metrics and KPIs.

SAFe: enablers

When it comes to software engineering, enablers are the responsible one. Enablers are technical creativities meant to support and allow the development of business initiatives. They satisfy application domain requirements which include cloud infrastructure, big data processing and internet-of-things.
Enablers are highly regarded as work items that bring and capture visibility to any work essential to support delivery and development of future business structures. Primarily, they are used for system, exploration and solution architectural progress, as well as to improve testing and development environments. They are all treated like any other value added growth activities, and are therefore bounded to tracking and visibility, estimating, feedback, WIP limits and result presentation.
What are the types of enablers?
There are many types of enablers, namely:
 Enabler features and capabilities
This occurs at the Program and Value Stream levels, in which they capture project of that kind. They are sharing similar attributes, since these enablers are a kind of capability or feature. The similar attributes they possess include acceptance criteria and benefit statements. Also, they should be structured in order to match in one PI.
 Enabler epics
Enabler epics are an epic kinds. They have a tendency to intersect the PIs and value streams. A lightweight business case should also include to support their application and are discovered and tracked using the portfolio Kanban system.
 Enabler stories
These are a story type, and should conform to iterations. Though they may not necessitate user voice set-up, but they have acceptance measures to clarify the support and requirements testing.
Enablers are follow, prioritized and written the same rules as their corresponding Capabilities, Epics, Stories and Features. For instance, Enabler Features and Features are written through a Benefits and Features matrix, use story estimation points, WSJF for arrangement and have criteria for acceptance.
Managing and Producing Enablers
Most of the enablers are made when business initiatives, which creates their way through various Kanban systems, need examination enablers to validate the solution or need, infrastructure enablers to become prepared to integrate, test and develop the initiatives, as well as architectural enablers to cover the runaway.
Often, system engineering or architects create enablers at different levels, whether by Solution and System Engineering/Architects at the Program and Value Stream Levels or Enterprise Architects at the Portfolio Level. The architects or engineer who builds the enablers steer them with the Kanban systems, which offers the information required to implement and estimate, and guidance required to analyze them.
Some enablers, on the other hand, emerge nearby from the necessities of value streams or professionals to improve the current solution. To help your business, Scaled Agile Framework has created an excellent and superior service suitable to the needs and personal preference of people. You can choose a project you want for your enterprise and let SAFe do the hard work on your behalf.
Whether that is for Value Stream, Program, Portfolio or Team levels, SAFe has the knowledge and expertise to completely do the task assigned to them. Increasingly more large and small enterprises are able to get an excellent business benefits from partnering with SAFe.

SAFe: Budgets

Recently, the SAFe framework has introduced the ideas of OpEx and CapEx Agile budgeting and capitalization. In this recent update in the SAFe framework, it is explained that some SAF enterprise strategies can be used to create categories for labor costs in the agile development with some being subject to CapEx or Capital Expense treatment. But before exploring these updates, it is best to tackle the subject of SAFe portfolio budgets.
SAFe Portfolio Budgets
Every SAFe portfolio comes with a purpose which is to realize some technical solutions that will enable a business strategy. But for the technical solutions to be realized and the business strategy enabled, the portfolio has to operate inside an approved budget for the operation. This is because the operating costs for the development of the solutions are a key to the business strategy’s economic success.
How Budgets Work
Each SAFe portfolio must operate within the approved and known budget. The budget is the basic factor on IT development and deployment as well as that of hardware, software, services, products, solutions and all other offerings inside the SAFe portfolio. This operating budget is an outcome of the process of strategic planning and within which all portfolios operate.
According to the SAFe framework, the allocation of the funding to individual streams is under the support of the Program Portfolio Management. They are those who allocated the necessary funding for every value stream within the portfolio. On that note, the budgets may include either OpEx or Operating Expense or CapEx elements.
The requirements and design continuously emerge in Agile enterprise which means there are no formal gate that serves as overture to capitalization. This is compared to waterfall projects and therefore points out that in SAFe, capitalization can be done either on agile release trains or value streams. In release trains with the use of program increments and portfolio kanban, there are several types of requirements that are capitalized.
Understanding the Problem of Traditional Budgeting
Apparently, there are many problems pertaining to traditional budgeting approach and with that, a new solution is being proposed. But before one embraces this new solution, it is important to understand first the problems caused by the traditional approach. For one, the traditional budgeting process seems to create multiple challenges being that it is slow and complicated, not all tasks are identified and many other issues.
Additionally, with the traditional budgeting there are the constraints based on projects. These constraints obstruct positive economic outcomes as well as hinder adaptability. By following the traditional budgeting, when the project is initialed there are challenges that simple continue and makes the economy suffer. At the same time, there are delays that constantly happen and which only makes things even uglier than it already is.
These are a lot of challenges that must be addressed with following the traditional SAFe portfolio budgeting approach. On that note, there is the Lean-Agile development process that makes for new, easier solution in terms of budgeting. It follows a more effective fiduciary control when it comes to total investment budget but with higher throughput and less friction as well as overhead.

SAFe: Portfolio Level

SAFe is the proven efficient framework that has been made available and accessible by public. It is primarily designed for the application of agile and lean practices at an enterprise scale. It comes with different options to choose from and one of these is the SAFe Portfolio.
SAFe Portfolio – What Is It?
SAFe Portfolio has been known as the most important concern when it comes to SAFe. It is providing the fundamental constructs for arranging the lean-agile enterprise across the value flow in two or more streams of value. Each of these develops the systems as well as the solutions that are necessary in order to meet the identified strategic objective. The portfolio stage summarizes such elements and it also provides the fundamental budgeting including some other governance mechanisms which are important to ensure that the investment within the value streams are giving the returns that are crucial for the enterprise. This is to help the enterprise meet the set strategic goals of it.
SAFe portfolio consists of the bidirectional connection to a business. One of these is giving strategic themes which are guiding the portfolio to bigger and altering business objectives while the other indicates a consistent portfolio context flow back to the business. It appraises the business of the recent condition of the involved solution set, the key performance indicators as well as some other important factors which affect the portfolio. The program portfolio management is representing the stakeholders which are responsible to provide the best and satisfying results in the end. There are some other important activities, roles, and artifacts that complete the representation.
Important Aspects about SAFe Portfolio
As said before, the portfolio level is encapsulating people and the processes that are crucial for building systems and creating solution which are needed by the enterprise in order to meet the strategic objectives of it. Every value stream is the long-lived chain of system definition, improvement and deployment steps that are utilized in building and deploying systems that are capable of providing a consistent flood of value either to the customer or business.
As mentioned previously, SAFe Portfolio comes with strategic themes that are mainly designed to give specific itemized business goals which are connecting the portfolio to the changing enterprise or business strategy. They are providing strategic context designed for decision-making inside the portfolio, influencing the investments in the value streams and are serving as the inputs to the solution, portfolio, & program backlogs. On the other hand, these themes aren’t formed and made by the enterprise alone. The truth is that the major portfolio stakeholders are taking part in the process and therefore, they are the cornerstones of the strategy formation.
One of the arrows in the bidirectional connection of SAFe Portfolio is indicating the consistent response of the portfolio framework to the business. It involves the major performance indicators and the qualitative evaluations of the suitability of the recent solution for market application together with any weakness, strength, threats, and opportunities which are available within the portfolio stage.

Slimane Zouggari

SAFe: Portfolio Kanban

SAFe recommends the creation and the implementation of a Kanban system across the content hierarchy – which includes the portfolio, program and team including the value stream. Whilst these systems do operate in the same way, and they are interoperating, still they are significantly individual systems and they serve different purposes and they are operating at various stages of abstraction.
The management and implementation of a portfolio Kanban system is within the supports of Program Portfolio Management. Implementing this system needs a material comprehension of Lean & Agile improvement practices as implemented to portfolio level practices. It also needs comprehension of the productive capability of every Agile Release Train and its velocity including the accessibility of each for a new development or business-as-usual support activity. Once all these things are understood, the business can begin to reason regarding the portfolio level advantages in a pragmatic and logical way, with complete understanding of tangible implementation context.
The SAFe Portfolio management Kanban system can be used in addressing the Epics flow, those huge cross-cutting initiatives which can influence the plan of action for the value streams as well as the ARTs or Agile Release Trains which realize them. Thereby, the capture, analysis, sanction and the release of epics in implementation is known as the material option for the portfolio and it is something that something that requires the participate of some major stakeholders, which involve the PPM or Program Portfolio Management and the representation from the influenced ARTs and value streams.
SAFe is applying the Portfolio Kanban System within this context due to different reasons which are as follows:
– To make the strategic business initiative backlog completely visible
– To give visibility and structure to analysis & decision-making which moves such initiatives to implementation
– To give WIP limitations to guarantee the teams that are responsible for the analysis will undertake it with full responsibility and will not create anticipations for implementation and timeframes which are quite unrealistic
– To help in driving collaboration and willingness to work between the major stakeholders within the organization
– To give a quantitative and transparent basis designed for economic decision-making process for such matters
Every Kanban system is specifically designed to be used in a particular purpose. This one has been made for capturing, analyzing, giving approval and in tracking epics. This system may appear as shown below:
– Where big ideas are accepted, including new business opportunities, market changes, cost savings, mergers & acquisitions, issues concerning the recently available solutions
– Epic importance statement
– Calculation of SWJF
– Refine comprehension
– WIP limited
– Solution awareness
– Cost estimate
– Refine WSJF
– Lightweight commercial case
– Go or no-go decision
– WIP limited
Portfolio Backlog
– Epics sanctioned by the PPM team
– Consistent prioritization of the recognized Epics by the use of WSJF
– Epics owners & product & solution management will decompose the epics into program epics or value stream, capabilities & features
– Ownership transition to ARTs and value streams
– WIP limited through downstream capability
– Epic tracking pursues
– Teams start to implement at PI preparation boundaries
– The success guidelines and criteria was met effectively

–Slimane Zouggari