What’s New in SAFe 4.6?

We are delighted to announce the introduction of SAFe 4.6, highlighting the introduction of the five core competencies of the Lean Enterprise. They are now the primary lens for understanding and implementing SAFe. Mastery of these five competencies enables enterprises to successfully navigate digital disruption and to effectively respond to volatile market conditions, changing customer needs, and emerging technologies. Click here to read our FAQ on training, certification and more.

Each competency is summarized in a new overview article and is also reflected in related guidance throughout the SAFe website. Each competency is described in the sections below.

Figure 1. New SAFe 4.6 Big Picture, highlighting the introduction of the five competencies of the Lean Enterprise

Lean-Agile Leadership

The Lean-Agile Leadership competency describes how Lean-Agile Leaders drive and sustain organizational change by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential. They do this by learning, exhibiting, teaching, and coaching SAFe’s Lean-Agile mindset, core values, principles, and practices.

Figure 2. Lean-Agile Leadership competency, highlighting related article change

Lean-Agile Leadership Related Article Changes

  • The prior Lean-Agile Leaders article was combined with the Lean-Agile Leadership competency article
  • The SAFe principles have been updated with a redraft of Principle #3 — Assume variability and preserve options
  • A new advanced topic article, Evolving Role of Managers describes the changes and ongoing responsibilities of line management in the new way of working

Team and Technical Agility

The Team and Technical Agility competency describe the critical skills and Lean-Agile principles and practices needed to create high-performing teams who can create high-quality, well-designed technical solutions in support of current and future business needs.

  • Team agility – enables high-performing Agile teams that are organized and operate with basic and effective Agile principles and practices
  • Technical agility – provides Lean-Agile technical practices to create high-quality, well-designed technical solutions that support current and future business needs
Figure 3. Team and Technical Agility competency, highlighting related article changes

Team and Technical Agility Related Article Changes

DevOps and Release on Demand

The DevOps and Release on Demand competency describe how the principles and practices of DevOps provide the enterprise with the capability to release value (in whole or in part), at any time necessary to meet market and customer demand. Along with the associated articles, this new competency revises and enhances the depth of guidance on implementing a full continuous delivery pipeline.

Figure 4. DevOps and Release on Demand competency, highlighting related article changes

DevOps and Release on Demand Related Article Changes

Business Solutions and Lean Systems

The Business Solutions and Lean Systems Engineering competency describe how enterprises can develop large and complex software and cyber-physical systems using a Lean, Agile, and flow-based, value delivery-model. This model optimizes the activities necessary to specify, design, construct, test, deploy, operate, evolve and ultimately decommission solutions.

Figure 5. Business Solutions and Lean Systems competency, highlighting related article changes

Business Solutions and Lean Systems Related Article Changes

  • New specific guidance — eight practices for building large and complex solutions — in the new Business Solutions and Lean Systems Engineering competency article
  • New Economic Framework with four primary elements:
    1. Operating within Lean budgets and guardrails
    2. Understanding solution economic trade-offs
    3. Leveraging Suppliers
    4. Sequencing jobs for the maximum benefit (using WSJF)
  • All new Roadmap article introduces multiple planning horizons and the Solution Roadmap, which provides a longer-term—often multiyear—view, showing the key milestones and deliverables needed to achieve the solution Vision over time. The roadmap also contains new guidance on understanding and applying market rhythms and events.

Lean Portfolio Management

The Lean Portfolio Management competency describes how an enterprise can implement Lean approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and Lean governance for a SAFe portfolio.

Figure 6. Lean Portfolio Management competency, highlighting related article changes

Lean Portfolio Management Related Article Changes

  • Updated strategy formulation in the Enterprise article and a definition of the portfolio.
  • Updated Strategic Themes resulting from the new Lean Portfolio Management competency.
  • New Portfolio Canvas describes how a portfolio of solutions creates, delivers and captures value for an organization. The portfolio canvas also helps define and align the portfolio’s value streams and solutions to the goals of the enterprise and provides a basis for how it can be evolved to meet the vision of a future state.
  • New Lean Budget Guardrails article provides guidance on how to ensure that the right investments are being made within the portfolio’s budget. For example, these guardrails help balance near-term opportunities and long-term strategy, and continuous business owner engagement helps assure that investments in technology, infrastructure, and maintenance aren’t routinely ignored.
  • Updated Lean Budgets article provides new guidance for moving from traditional budgets to Lean budgets, guiding investments by horizon and applying participatory budgeting.
  • Updated Value Streams article, which includes a section on defining value streams and a revised Development Value Stream Canvas that aligns better with the new Portfolio Canvas.

SAFe for Government

The new SAFe for Government article describes a set of success patterns that help public sector organizations implement Lean-Agile practices.

Figure 7. SAFe for Government

The SAFe for Government article will also serve as a landing page for a more comprehensive treatment in applying SAFe in a national, regional or local government context. This work-in-process provides specific guidance to address the following concerns:

It’s important to note that these recommendations for Lean-Agile adoption in government do not require a different version of SAFe or suggest modifying SAFe terms and practices to fit government protocols. In fact, experienced practitioners in government services have reported that they achieve the best results when the SAFe model and terminology are used without modification.

New SAFe Implementation Roadmap

The SAFe Implementation Roadmap has been updated to include three new courses:

  • SAFe DevOps
  • Agile Software Engineering
  • SAFe System and Solution Architect

Additionally, a ‘Waterfall/Ad hoc agile’ starting point was added to the front of the roadmap to acknowledge where most organizations begin their transformation journey. Also, all 12 SAFe Implementation Roadmap articles have been updated to reflect the new competency guidance.

Figure 8. New Implementation Roadmap

Other Important Stuff

In addition, we’ve made a number of enhancements and changes to the site itself:

  • Improvements to the performance of the SAFe website, especially for countries outside of North America
  • Revised glossary translated in 10 languages
  • Improved top menu navigation
  • New tabs to select the configurations of SAFe. Each configuration can be referenced by a separate URL
  • New download posters page where you can now also order fabric posters for all configurations of SAFe and the Implementation Roadmap


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Last update: 4 October 2018