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Say Hello to SAFe 6.0!

Recently, Scaled Agile released SAFe® 6.0 which offers the newest and most effective Lean-Agile practices, enabling forward-thinking enterprises to navigate today’s rapidly changing challenges and opportunities. SAFe 6.0 is a comprehensive update from version 5.1 and includes many new and advanced practices alongside a new Big Picture and terminology updates.

I am very pleased to announce the availability of SAFe 6.0 templates for IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management (ELM) 7.0.2. This release adds two predefined process templates: Full SAFe 6.0 and Essential SAFe 6.0. They can be used to configure tooling environment for SAFe Portfolio, Large Solution, Portfolio or Essential SAFe 6.0 configuration in ELM.

Some of the new and noteworthy items in the SAFe 6.0 templates include the following:

1. Objective and Key Results (OKRs) for establishing clear goals and measurable outcomes

Support for OKRs, one of the key themes for SAFe 6.0, was added to Engineering Workflow Management (EWM) Full SAFe 6.0 templates as an effective tool to help drive better outcomes for the business and customers. The tooling now supports the three main use cases for OKRs:

  1. Enhance strategic alignment across a SAFe portfolio – Use OKRs for Strategic Themes to define and track their progress through concrete, specific, and measurable actions.
  2. Define business outcomes for epics and Lean business cases – Use OKRs to help to uncover potential Epics for entry into the Portfolio Kanban system to improve clarity for the desired business outputs and outcomes.
  3. Set improvement goals for the SAFe transformation – Apply OKRs to measure the success of a SAFe change program.

Each use case is supported by new JRS reports that can be used to build a dashboard.

2. Updates to Strategic Themes in the Engineering Workflow Management (EWM) template for improved business context and portfolio strategy

Associations to related Organizations (Value Stream, Solution Train, or ART) make it easier to track outcomes of Objectives as achieved value of its Key Results at various levels of the organization.

Updated JRS reports related to strategic themes show committed work by count and story points for the ART, Solution Train, and Value Stream. Relative Effort of tracked work across Solution Train and ARTs by Strategic Theme can also be  viewed using JRS reports.

The SAFe 6.0 data model includes lean budgeting for Organizations to adopt a financial governance approach that funds value streams instead of projects, accelerating value delivery and reducing overheads and other costs.

The Investment & Opportunity (By Organization) report shows the Total Market Opportunity as well as the budgeted and allocated investment (when specified) for each Organization in the Portfolio. Details include the budgeted and allocated capacity based on the investment and its alignment by Strategic Themes

3. New Flow Metrics reports for accelerating value flow

Delivering a continuous flow of value to customers in the ‘shortest sustainable lead time’ is the central theme of SAFe. Doing so requires moving new system features through the development value stream as quickly as possible. SAFe 6.0 guidance on ‘flow accelerators’ provides six specific flow metrics to measure how efficient an organization is at delivering value.  The new SAFe 6.0 Flow Metrics JRS reports help measure the flow of business value through all the activities involved in producing business value through a value stream.

4. Terminology updates

To improve simplicity and clarity,  SAFe 6.0 made the following changes:

  • Program Increment with Planning Interval
  • Solution with Solution Train
  • Program with ART
  • Solution Epic with Solution Train Epic
  • Program Epic with ART Epic

The following artifacts were updated in ELM SAFe 6.0 to reflect the terminology changes recommended by SAFe 6.0:

  • Values of Scope enumeration
  • Plan type and views names
  • Work item templates
  • Role names and permissions
  • Default Timelines
  • Artifact categories for test plans
  • Artifact templates for SAFe-related test plans
  • Names, descriptions, and conditions of all existing reports

5. Updated Roles and permissions to empower teams and clarify responsibilities

Roles and permissions in ELM templates were updated as per the new and improved guidance provided in SAFe 6.0 on roles, key collaborations, and responsibility wheel to help teams improve their performance and better support the organization’s goals. The name of the following roles were updated:

  • Business Analyst to Epic Owner
  • IT Director to Enterprise Executive
  • System Engineer to System Architect
  • Program Lead to Product Manager
  • Business Analyst to Epic Owner
  • Scrum Master to Scrum Master / Team Coach

6. Updated guidance for working with SAFe 6.0 templates

We updated our guidance to help you make your SAFe 6.0 adoption in ELM easier and more successful:

  • How-to-use-the-SAFe-6.0-templates-in-ELM.pdf – You can follow step-by-step guidance to configure tooling environment for SAFe Portfolio, Large Solution, Portfolio or Essential SAFe 6.0 configuration in IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management 7.0.2 using SAFe 6.0 templates.
  •  Configuring SAFe 6.0 in ELM– You can follow the step-by-step guidance in this document to configure a SAFe V6.0 tooling environment by customizing an existing project area.
  • Enterprise Scaled Agile Reporting Guidelines – 7.0.2 (SAFe 6.0) – You can view the set of reports available for your scaled agile tooling environment, how to import them into your environment, and the best practices for deploying those reports as widgets on your IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management (ELM) application dashboard(s).
  • Enterprise Scaled Agile Domain Models (SAFe 6.0) – You can use the set of domain models for our support of SAFe 6.0 to better understand how the reports access the data and links across a system and also define your own domain models that dictate how the reports may need to be altered for your specific environment.

You can find additional details on what’s new and noteworthy in the SAFe 6.0 templates in this presentation brief in the library.

As always, we are here to help you with your SAFe transformation, so don’t hesitate to reach out. And, of course, we welcome and appreciate your feedback!

Bhawana Gupta
Senior Product Manager, IBM Engineering