Introducing a preview of SAFe 5.0

Introducing a preview of SAFe 5.0

Community News SAFe Updates

Hello Folks,

On behalf of the entire Scaled Agile team and the SAFe Contributors, we are delighted to announce a preview of SAFe® 5.0 for Lean Enterprises.

Why is this update important?

Globalization, fast-moving markets, disruption, the unprecedented pace of technological innovation. Organizations know that they need to transform—now—to compete. But their existing business models, organizational hierarchy, and technology infrastructure simply can’t keep up with how quickly the company needs to adapt.

Agile product delivery isn’t enough. You need business agility.

What is business agility?

Business agility lets you capitalize on emerging opportunities by empowering you to make quick decisions, allocate money, and align the right people to do the work. SAFe® 5.0 has the guidance to help you get there.

What began in software development is expanding to encompass the entire enterprise, changing how people work and how every aspect of the business is run. We’re now in the age of software—an interconnected, real-time world where every industry is a tech-enabled industry and every company is, at least in part, a software company. Organizations that master business agility are the ones that will thrive—not just survive.

Business agility happens when the entire organization—business and tech leaders, compliance, development, finance, legal, marketing, operations, sales, security, support—uses Lean and Agile practices to continually and proactively deliver innovative business solutions faster than the competition.

With guidance from SAFe 5.0, you can become the Agile business you need to be and win in the digital age. But the Framework by itself can’t orchestrate your transformation; it’s your people—teams and leaders—who make it happen. When agility permeates your organization, you can quickly adapt to new, macro conditions in your industry. Respond to new, competitive threats. Efficiently identify and deliver incremental customer value. Maintain quality in an evolving product and solution portfolio. Reconfigure teams and redeploy talent in response to changing business needs. In short: thrive in fast-moving markets.

Introducing the Seven Core Competencies of the Lean Enterprise

SAFe 5.0 is built around the Seven Core Competencies of the Lean Enterprise. These competencies include major rewrites to the original five competencies introduced in SAFe 4.6, along with two entirely new competencies—Organizational Agility and Continuous Learning Culture. The competencies are the primary lens for understanding and implementing SAFe, as illustrated in the Overview tab on the Big Picture. Each competency is a set of related knowledge, skills, and behaviors that together, enable enterprises to achieve business agility by delivering the best quality and value in shortest sustainable lead time. Each competency is summarized below.

Lean-Agile Leadership describes how Lean-Agile leaders drive and sustain organizational change by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential. They do this through leading by example, adopting a Lean-Agile mindset, and leading the change to a new way of working. The result is more engaged employees, increased productivity and innovation, and successful organizational change.


Team and Technical Agility describes the critical skills and Lean-Agile principles and practices that high-performing Agile teams and teams of Agile teams use to create high-quality solutions for their customers. The result is increased productivity, better quality, faster time-to-market, and predictable delivery of value.


Agile Product Delivery is a customer-centric approach to defining, building, and releasing a continuous flow of valuable products and services to customers and users. This enables the organization to provide solutions that delight customers, lower development costs, reduce risk, and outmaneuver the competition.


Enterprise Solution Delivery describes how to apply Lean-Agile principles and practices to the specification, development, deployment, operation, and evolution of the world’s largest and most sophisticated software applications, networks, and cyber-physical systems.


Lean Portfolio Management aligns strategy and execution by applying Lean and systems thinking approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and governance. These collaborations give the enterprise the ability to align strategy to execution, to meet existing commitments reliably, and to better enable innovation.


Organizational Agility describes how Lean-thinking people and Agile teams optimize their business processes, evolve strategy with clear and decisive new commitments, and quickly adapt the organization as needed to capitalize on new opportunities.


Continuous Learning Culture  describes a set of values and practices that encourage individuals—and the enterprise as a whole—to continually increase knowledge, competence, performance, and innovation. This is achieved by becoming a learning organization, committing to relentless improvement, and promoting a culture of innovation.


Read more about the competencies in the What’s New in SAFe 5.0 article.

SAFe curriculum updating to SAFe 5.0

In early January, 2020, Scaled Agile’s entire, role-based curriculum will be updated to reflect the changes in SAFe 5.0 and the new release will be moved to The previous version will relocate to

Be sure to read the FAQs on training and certification as you prepare to upgrade to SAFe 5.0.

Thank you

We sincerely hope that this new version of SAFe helps you and your enterprise achieve the benefits you deserve for working so hard at building the world’s biggest and best software and systems.

We owe a special thanks to all of you in the SAFe community for your feedback and support. Your passion for the best SAFe possible has driven us to deliver what we like to think of as the most adaptable—and ‘competent!’—framework in the world.

Stay SAFe!
—Dean, Richard, Inbar, Harry, Steve, Luke, and the entire Scaled Agile team

Dean Leffingwell, creator of SAFe, Chief Methodologist

Richard Knaster, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Inbar Oren, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Harry Koehnemann, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Dr. Steve Mayner, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant

Luke Hohmann, SPC, Principal Consultant

Author Info

Dean Leffingwell

Recognized as the one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices, Dean Leffingwell is an author, entrepreneur, and software development methodologist.

comment (10)

  1. Avatar

    Raghu Tammina

    19 Nov 2019 - 12:12 am

    Excited , interesting and good to see SAFe 5.0 with all the new features.
    Lot to learn and practice.Thank you scaledagile making it Customer centric and Design thinking way. These are more interesting topics to me personally.

    I think safe is in the right direction to help organizations to achieve outcomes.

    A new competency “Continuous learning culture” and introducing various levels of learning , mental models as part of the competency really add value and change the teams mindset.

    “Life long learning” and “Emotion Intelligence “ as part of leading by example and lead change are so interesting.

    Overall excited with new framework and lot to learn.

    • Avatar

      Harry Koehnemann

      22 Nov 2019 - 3:19 pm

      Thank you for the comments Raghu! We enjoy hearing feedback from the community and glad you like these SAFe 5.0 additions.

  2. Avatar

    Brooks Betz

    16 Oct 2019 - 8:44 am

    Fantastic. We’ve been preaching that can’t have IT agility without Business agility. Congrats. Looking forward to a big splash with SAFe 5.0

  3. Avatar

    Debora Countess

    15 Oct 2019 - 5:54 pm

    Dean and Team, when will SAFe 5.0 Reference Guide be available in book format?

    Looking forward to a great read!

    • Avatar

      Harry Koehnemann

      04 Nov 2019 - 3:26 pm

      Thanks Debra. We are not continuing the Reference Guide. The last version was 4.5. The content is available on the website and the mobile app. Publishing struggles to keep pace with the frequent content changes we make in the framework.

  4. Avatar

    Vino Kingston

    07 Oct 2019 - 10:25 pm

    Thank you Dean and team for the progress made in refining existing capabilities and advancing SAFe further by adding new capabilities. Looking forward to learn more. Will there be trainings targeted for people who have taken 4.6 courses before?

    • Avatar

      Luke Hohmann

      09 Oct 2019 - 12:19 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Vino! We’re very excited about SAFe 5.0. We’ve designed an easy process to upgrade your certifications to SAFe 5.0. Please login to the SAFe Community website for full details.

  5. Avatar

    Felix Rüssel

    03 Oct 2019 - 3:12 am

    I really like the approach SAFe 5.0 is taking with more emphasis on Core Competencies, customer centricity including Design Thinking.

    It was easy to explain SAFe using the levels but working with competencies reflects much better the needs from the field and helps to focus the learning/improvement activities needed to increase Business Agility.


  6. Avatar


    02 Oct 2019 - 3:44 pm

    Glad to see an evolution in your framework. Will you be including Design Thinking/Experience Strategy into the Portfolio and as members of the LPM? “Lean Portfolio Management aligns strategy and execution by applying Lean, design and systems thinking approaches to strategy” With Design-led companies outperforming all others on the S&P, that seems like a shortfall of SAFe.

    Also, you seem to be heavy on Software delivery when many companies that use SAFe deliver experiences, solutions, etc. Why stick with Software?

    • Avatar

      Harry Koehnemann

      04 Nov 2019 - 2:33 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Xavior. The customer-centric mindset and Design Thinking practices are certainly applicable to everyone who creates products for customers. We show those ideas behind a the surface in Essential. But, like all SAFe elements, they are not constrained to only that level. The Agile Product and Solution Management (APSM) course presents these practices and we expect every product person will be interested in that course – Product Managers, Solution Managers, and portfolio members

      Regarding software-centric, most the articles emphasize products. Some of the examples compare types of products (toys vs software products for market rhythms). But we have taken significant steps to remove software and development from the FW. Or at least call out the differences (see the Agile Teams article as an example).

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