Many leaders pride themselves on setting the high-level direction and staying out of the details. But big picture, hands off leadership isn’t likely to work in a change situation, because the hardest part of change—the paralyzing part—is in the details.

Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors. To make a switch, you need to script the critical moves.

—Dan and Chip Heath, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

SAFe Implementation Roadmap

This is the home page for the SAFe® Implementation Roadmap series, which consists of 12 articles.

Getting Started with Implementing SAFe:

The SAFe Implementation Roadmap consists of an overview graphic and a 12-article series that describes a strategy and an ordered set of activities that have proven to be effective in successfully implementing SAFe.

Achieving business agility and the benefits of Lean-Agile development at scale is not a trivial effort, so SAFe is not a trivial framework. Before realizing SAFe’s rewards, organizations must embrace a Lean-Agile Mindset as well as understand and apply Lean-Agile principles. They must identify Value Streams and Agile Release Trains (ARTs), implement a Lean-Agile portfolio, build quality in, and establish the mechanisms for continuous value delivery and DevOps. And, of course, the culture must evolve as well.

Based on proven organizational change management strategies, the SAFe Implementation Roadmap graphic and article series describes the steps or “critical moves” an enterprise can take to implement SAFe in an orderly, reliable, and successful fashion.


In order to achieve the desired organizational change, leadership must “script the critical moves,” as described by Dan and Chip Heath [1]. When it comes to identifying those critical moves for adopting SAFe, hundreds of the world’s largest enterprises have already gone down this path (see Customer Stories), and successful adoption patterns have emerged. A fairly standard pattern is shown in Figure 1.

Measure and GrowInspect and AdaptImplementing SAFe with SPC CertificationTrain Executives, Managers and LeadersIdentify Value Streams and ARTsPrepare for ART LaunchCreate a Lean-Agile center of excellence (LACE)Leading SAFe for ART StakeholdersSAFe PO/PMSAFe Scrum MasterSAFe for TeamsReach the Tipping PointTrain teams and launch ARTPI PlanningTrain Lean-Agile Change AgentsCoach ART executionFind a PartnerSAFe Advanced Scrum MasterAccelerateSAFe Release Train EngineerLaunch More ARTs and Value StreamsLeading SAFe with SA CertificationImplementing SAFe with SPC CertificationExtend to the PortfolioSAFe DevOpsSAFe Agile Software EngineeringSAFe System and Solution ArchitectBusiness ResultsBusiness ResultsLeading SAFe with SA CertificationCreate the Implementation PlanSAFe for GovLean Portfolio Management with LPM certificationLean Portfolio Management with LPM certificationAgile Product Management

Figure 1. SAFe Implementation Roadmap

While no two adoptions are identical and there is rarely a perfectly sequential step-by-step implementation in any enterprise, we know that businesses getting the best results typically follow a path similar to that shown in the Implementation Roadmap. It includes the following 12 steps:

  1. Reaching the Tipping Point
  2. Train Lean-Agile Change Agents
  3. Train Executives, Managers, and Leaders
  4. Create a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence
  5. Identify Value Streams and ARTs
  6. Create the Implementation Plan
  7. Prepare for ART Launch
  8. Train Teams and Launch the ART
  9. Coach ART Execution
  10. Launch More ARTs and Value Streams
  11. Extend to the Portfolio
  12. Accelerate

This article serves as a launching pad to explore these steps in detail and understand how to apply them to specific implementations.

Start with the first article: Reaching the Tipping Point.



Learn More

[1] Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Crown Publishing Group.

[2] Knaster, Richard, and Dean Leffingwell. SAFe 5.0 Distilled, Achieving Business Agility with the Scaled Agile Framework. Addison-Wesley, 2020.

Additional Resources

Download Implementation Roadmap posters


Last update: 10 February 2021