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Insights by Agilicist


Following its ethos for continuous improvement, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has recently announced SAFe 6.0 - an updated and evolved version of the Framework. Here are a couple of the major changes we spotted.

Language changes:

You can view the full updated vocabulary list here, but what rubbed us the most was the deprecation of the word Program in favour of ART (Program Backlog is now ART Backlog and Program Execution is now ART Execution) and the switch from Scrum Master to Team Coach.

The reason – they say – that they’ve divorced from the word Program is that too many people associated it with traditional Project Management.

Regarding transitioning from Scrum Master, I quite like their comment “we’re certainly not moving away from Scrum”. When I was at school we used the term “chinny beard”, but that might be lost in translation.

A deeper focus on people and individuals:

We see evidence of this throughout the latest SAFe update.

'Respect for People' has jumped from middle management to the board of directors. It’s now one of the four Core Values of SAFe. How do you feel about them removing “built in quality” from the core values?

SAFe 6 4 core values

Responsibilities wheels have been created to add further clarity to the many and varied roles. This is no surprise as SAFe have long professed the value of intrinsic motivation and we can see how well structured, defined, and rigid job roles can be a contributing factor to each of the ingredients (autonomy, mastery, purpose) for that sweet Intrinsic motivation cake.

agile release trains

The SAFe Executive workshop has moved to the start of the Implementation roadmap and a new leader development series has been added. This highlights the importance of leader behaviours when creating an environment of trust. Remember, nothing builds trust like an extra certification course.

The concept of a 'Worker' also features for people who move work items from one state to another. With the idea that optimising our time ‘in the zone’ will demonstrate higher creativity, productivity, happiness, and fulfilment.

Accelerating Value Flow

Agile teams strive to achieve continuous flow, enabling new features to move quickly from concept to value. Previously, SAFe’s guidance to flow was reflected in Principle #6 – Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengths; quite the mouthful. The updated framework includes eight flow properties each with its very own flow accelerator. Although there is nothing new in here, the increased focus on flow enables organisations to realise that flow is genuinely important. And that SAFe isn’t waterfall. And they have at last given special attention to reducing dependencies and legacy practices.

SAFe 6 value flow

This concludes our three highlights, what’s your verdict?

Magdalena Valkova Agilicist Consultant



Any Questions?



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