The Fifth Level of SAFe

May 23, 2018 — Posted by Al Shalloway

I was surprised to hear some SPCs don’t consider “enterprise” to be a level. Looking at the big picture maybe it isn’t. This is a clue to overcome a challenge many folks adopting SAFe are having-portfolio management.

In '07 we created an operating model that had 3 levels (we now have 5) but our complexity hasn't increased because it's based on a flow model. SAFe's always felt like getting a collection of trains working together. As SAFe has grown it’s tried to manage the different complexities of organizations by having different configurations. Unfortunately, most every company needs some aspect of every level.

The enterprise level is where the company creates its strategies and initiatives. Doing this requires clarity on what the enterprise wants to invest in. For example, a financial company may decide to invest in retaining assets, improving UX, lowering cost, compliance and better employee morale. This is an enterprise wide decision and is needed to be able to align the different portfolios. It creates the context for all work in the organization.

SAFe, unfortunately, does not explain out how to do this, and I believe this is why many people using SAFe have challenges with their portfolios. A start is considering Enterprise to be a level.

For more on how Agile Product Management can guide portfolio management, see our APM course on our University. You should also check out our Achieve Alignment Across the Organization on our Portal.

Al Shalloway

 

 

Subscribe to our blog Net Objectives Thoughts Blog

Share this:

About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

Blog Authors

Al Shalloway
Business, Operations, Process, Sales, Agile Design and Patterns, Personal Development, Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Cory Foy
Change Management, Innovation Games, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Guy Beaver
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, Operations, DevOps, Planning/Estimation, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Transitioning to Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Scrum
Israel Gat
Business and Strategy Development, DevOps, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean, Kanban, Scrum
Jim Trott
Business and Strategy Development, Analysis and Design Methods, Change Management, Knowledge Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile, Workflow, Technical Writing, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, SAFe, Kanban
Ken Pugh
Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, C++, C#, Java, Technical Writing, TDD, ATDD, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Marc Danziger
Business and Strategy Development, Change Management, Team Agility, Online Communities, Promotional Initiatives, Sales and Marketing Collateral
Max Guernsey
Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Database Agility, Design Patterns, TDD, TDD Databases, ATDD, Lean-Agile, Scrum
Scott Bain
Analysis and Design Methods, Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, Technical Writing, TDD, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile
Steve Thomas
Business and Strategy Development, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Tom Grant
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, DevOps, Analyst, Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Innovation Games, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, Kanban