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.
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 . 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 Case Studies), and successful adoption patterns have become clear. A fairly standard pattern is shown in Figure 1.
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:
- Reaching the Tipping Point
- Train Lean-Agile Change Agents
- Train Executives, Managers, and Leaders
- Create a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence
- Identify Value Streams and ARTs
- Create the Implementation Plan
- Prepare for ART Launch
- Train Teams and Launch the ART
- Coach ART Execution
- Launch More ARTs and Value Streams
- Extend to the Portfolio
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.Next
Learn More Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Crown Publishing Group, Kindle Edition.  Knaster, Richard and Dean Leffingwell. SAFe Distilled, Applying the Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Software and Systems Engineering. Addison-Wesley, 2017.
Last update: 20 September 2019