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Introducing End-to-End Support for SAFe® V3.0 in IBM’s Collaborative Lifecycle Management Solution

Do you need to maximize delivery of value in your complex enterprise but you struggle to orchestrate work across multiple interdependent teams? Are you looking for ways to provide visibility into development and delivery at the right level for multiple roles across your organization who need insight into health and status of delivery in order to meet business goals? Are you unsure about how to tackle the planning and execution of work in a multi-speed IT environment? Consider building on agile team successes by scaling lean and agile principles across your organization with a solution that supports collaboration across business and engineering to get the entire team of teams moving in the same direction

New in the IBM Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) 6.0.1 solution is complete end-to-end support for the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe) which combines tooling with an industry-leading set of best practices and guidance to address the key aspects of an IBM DevOps transformation: people, process and tools. Templates delivered in CLM can help you establish a Portfolio tooling infrastructure with associated Programs and Teams consistent with SAFe—right out of the box!

The support for SAFe in CLM builds on the key concepts of the SAFe process, combining the flexibility and scale you need in your enterprise. Whether you are an organization of purely agile teams, or one that must coordinate work of teams using agile and waterfall processes delivering side-by-side in a multi-speed IT environment, the CLM solution with SAFe can help.

Get up and running quickly

In v6.0, we provided an easy way for you to get up and running quickly to lead a SAFe-based transformation for your Programs and Teams. In v6.0.1, we expand our support by adding SAFe Portfolio tooling through a set of templates delivered across the application domains:

  • SAFe Program/Team process template for Change Management
  • SAFe Portfolio process template for Change Management
  • SAFe Portfolio process template for Quality Management
  • SAFe Portfolio project template for Requirements Management

Let’s take a look at the key details.

SAFe Program/Team Support in v6.0

The SAFe 3.0 Program process template for Change Management—delivered in v6.0 and updated in v6.0.1—allows you to easily establish a SAFe Program-level tooling infrastructure. The default infrastructure established with this template is shown in Figure 1.

SAFe Program Tooling Infrastructure 601 cropped
Figure 1: SAFe Program/Team infrastructure (out of the box)

This infrastructure is useful when your Teams are using the Agile/Scrum process that comes with the SAFe process template, but you can easily configure the tooling to support multi-speed Programs, as described in the next section. For more details on the SAFe Program/Team support, please read the post introducing this capability in v6.0.

SAFe Portfolio Support in v6.0.1

The SAFe Portfolio templates delivered in the CLM 6.0.1 applications allow you to establish project areas in the Requirements Management, Change Management, and Quality Management domains. You can easily associate these domains under a single CLM Lifecycle Project Area, providing complete traceability across the artifacts. And, by associating your SAFe Portfolio with your SAFe Programs, you have a complete SAFe Portfolio environment as shown in Figure 2.

SAFe Portfolio Tooling Infrastructure 601                           

Figure 2: SAFe Portfolio end-to-end tooling infrastructure (out of the box)

The reality is that, in many cases, your organization will need to coordinate the work of teams using different processes as part of your SAFe Program—if not forever, at least for some period of time as you build up your SAFe-based enterprise. In this case, you will want a tooling infrastructure such as that shown in Figure 3.

SAFe Portfolio Tooling Infrastructure (TSIT) 601

Figure 3: SAFe Portfolio end-to-end for multi-speed programs

You may even have a combination of SAFe Programs: some that are completely agile and others that are multi-speed. Any of these topologies will work using the SAFe templates.

SAFe Portfolio artifacts

The SAFe Portfolio artifacts are manifested across the CLM applications, enabling multiple roles to own and develop the artifacts that make sense for their job.

In Rational DOORS Next Generation (RDNG), an application that might typically be the tool of choice for a Solution Architect or Business Analyst role, we support the SAFe Strategic Theme, Value Stream, and Lightweight Business Case artifacts, shown in Figure 4.

SAFe RDNG Artifact Types

Figure 4: SAFe Portfolio RDNG artifacts

During the Portfolio Kanban process, Portfolio Epics are pulled for analysis and these business-level artifacts are typically developed as requirements artifacts. Other requirements artifacts not prescribed by SAFe might also be developed as part of this high-level analysis.

Rational Team Concert (RTC) contains the artifacts that drive change as these require a workflow and track the status of delivery at the Program and Team levels. The SAFe Portfolio Epic and Task are in RTC, shown in Figure 5.

SAFe Portfolio RTC Work Item Types

Figure 5: SAFe Portfolio RTC work item types

Portfolio Epics are easily associated with a Strategic Theme, Value Streams, and a Lightweight Business case in RDNG.

Finally, the Portfolio has a need to ensure capabilities deliver expected value as described in the acceptance criteria for a Portfolio Epic, Program Epic, Feature, or Story. The Rational Quality Manager (RQM) artifacts are aligned with the SAFe Program and Team artifacts to enable quality management across the Portfolio.

SAFe RQM Artifact Types

Figure 6: SAFe Portfolio RQM artifact types

In addition to the Test Plans shown in Figure 6, Test Suite and Test Case artifacts are also provided.

Key SAFe concepts

The concepts of Kanban planning and economic thinking based on lean principles are fully embraced at the SAFe Portfolio level in RTC through the use of the Kanban Plan View and the WSJF (Weighted Shortest Job First) attribute on Portfolio Epics. These concepts are  consistent with our SAFe Program support, with some minor differences that enable traceability between the Portfolio Epic and the business artifacts in RDNG, as shown in Figure 7.

SAFe Portfolio Kanban

Figure 7: SAFe Kanban planning

The Kanban Plan View enforces the workflow prescribed by SAFe and alerts you when you have exceeded Work-In-Progress limits (or prevents you from violating them if you choose). The ability to triage and plan by setting the WSJF components and aligning the Epics with the necessary business artifacts (Strategic Themes, Value Streams, Lightweight Business Cases) is enforced all within a single view. The Roadmap view is also provided.


In developing the SAFe Program-level reports for v6.0, we focused on making sure the information was actionable for the specific purpose and role that would be consuming the data. Building on this notion, we have developed an initial set of SAFe Portfolio reports that consider the business strategy and provide insight into work across the associated Programs related to that strategy. We also consider the need to understand balance of investments. A few examples are shown in Figure 8.


Figure 8: Really great reports!

The set of Portfolio reports will consider both functional and quality metrics.

SAFe with the Power of IBM DevOps

CLM 6.0.1 provides complete end-to-end SAFe support in fully integrated tooling that enables your organization to lead a DevOps transformation grounded in lean and agile principles. And by embedding the SAFe methodology across all application domains, it ensures all roles in your organization—business and engineering alike—can collaborate to deliver the right things right!

Please visit the Enterprise Scaled Agile page for the latest news on our support for SAFe.