HomeBlogAgileTransition From SAFe® 4.0 to SAFe® 4.5: The Changes In Sight

Transition From SAFe® 4.0 to SAFe® 4.5: The Changes In Sight

05th Sep, 2023
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Transition From SAFe® 4.0 to SAFe® 4.5: The Changes In Sight

Around 2 years ago, Scaled Agile Inc. launched SAFe® 4.0 as a methodology to broaden the existing Agile practices in the organizations. It soon gained a widespread popularity in the top organizations. But several barriers on a digital scale were preventing a full-fledged organization-level implementation of the new changes. So while organizations were engaged in acquiring new features in SAFe® by encouraging people to do SAFe® certification at different levels, the team at Scaled Agile Inc. were focussing on the framework that would completely align with the existing technology trends and the market needs. 

The Challenge

Dean Leffingwell, Director and Chief Methodologist at Scaled Agile Inc., mentioned in one of his articles about the most important tenets in SAFe®, that can foster the quickest delivery once the same principles are adopted in the existing Scaled Agile Framework.  Due to the resulting complexities of the SAFe® 4.0 framework, it was challenging to embark on the SAFe® Implementation Roadmap. Hence, organizations were seeking a path that can be specific and would require less efforts to achieve faster results.

To overcome this challenge, Scaled Agile Inc. has released SAFe® 4.5, the improved version of SAFe® 4.0. It is the reflection of field research completed in the span of 1.5 years. The field research includes feedback from the clients and tons of implementations. SAFe® 4.5 is leaner, more Agile and easily learnable as compared to its predecessors and better at yielding faster outcomes.

The Vision

What is new in SAFe® 4.5?

Let us discuss the major upgrades in the latest version of Scaled Agile- SAFe® 4.5. The key areas of improvements are as follows:

  • Flexibility and Configurability 
  • Innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UX ­
  • Scalable DevOps & Continuous Delivery 
  • Implementation Roadmap
  • Backward compatibility 

Before moving on to a detailed discussion on the new features in SAFe® 4.5, it is important that you first know some of the best ways to implement Leading SAFe® 4.5 in your organization. 

1. Flexibility and Configurability:

SAFe® 4.5 configuration supports a wide range of development environments, from the simplest to the most complex one. This version is able to scale to meet the challenges of the growing organizations. SAFe® 4.5 has come up with four new configurations, viz.- 

  • Essential SAFe®- Realizes the benefits for the organizations.
  • Portfolio SAFe®- Consists of preparing strategy and investment funding, Agile operations, and Lean governance. 
  • Large solution- Builds big systems that include multiple ARTs and Suppliers.
  • Full SAFe®- Gives all Lean-Agile benefits to the larger enterprises.

2. Innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UX:­

The coordination of Lean startup and Lean UX in SAFe® not only initiates investments in the form of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), but also the feedback is carried out from the customers in order to make valuable decisions more quickly. 

3. Scalable DevOps & Continuous Delivery: 

SAFe® 4.5 integrated with Lean ‘hypothesis-build-measure-learn’ cycle and Scalable DevOps & Continuous Delivery, delivers more innovative solutions more briskly. Being a big enterprise, you can innovate various solution elements with the help of SAFe® 4.5. 

4. Implementation Roadmap:

SAFe® Implementation Roadmap describes a strategy and field experience based on the organizational change management. It also describes the critical moves that an organization can make in order to achieve long-term gains with SAFe® and ensure early success in the project.  

4.5  Backward compatible:

A good news for all Agile teams is that SAFe® 4.5 is backward compatible. Those who were implementing SAFe® 4.0 principles can carry on with these without moving a rock in the current version as all the features of SAFe® 4.0 are still in place. You just need to be familiar with the updated practices in SAFe® 4.5. 

Why is SAFe® 4.5 Certification crucial?

SAFe® 4.5 certification renders the proficiency to effectively apply Scaled Agile Framework, Lean Thinking and Agile principles for product development flow in the enterprises. After the training, you can utilise your practical experience in implementing the SAFe® framework in the scaled organizations. Nowadays, enterprises have started implementing SAFe®, as they are getting more benefits like-

  • Employee engagement, 
  • Faster time to market, 
  • Improved productivity and 
  • Quality

Today, employees are seeking more meaningful and challenging jobs to keep abreast of the digitized world. Employees can shape their careers by taking part in training sessions and accessing various knowledgeable resources. Scaled Agile Inc. always believes in uplifting the status of the employees in this regard. The institute has an inventory of role-based courses and certifications.  Let us explore the myriad certification options available for SAFe® 4.5:

1. SAFe® Course: SAFe® 4.5 for teams-

SAFe® 4.5 for teams is a professional course. It is a course for the dedicated team members who are skilled in designing, building, and testing in a very short timeline. Team members who are looking to working in SAFe® environment as part of ART (Agile Release Train) should consider this training for understanding of Agile, Scrum & SAFe®.

Career prospect: Team member as part of ART in SAFe®

2. SAFe® Course: SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master (SSM) Certification Training-

SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master Certification (SSM) is a team-based course, in which the Scrum Master helps teams to manage and deliver quality products implementing effective Agile practices. The Scrum Master is a servant-leader and carries out fruitful coordination between teams on the Agile Release Trains (ARTs) by conveying a status to the management when needed.     

Career prospect: SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master, SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager, SAFe® Release Train Engineer, SAFe® Agilist

3. SAFe® Course: SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master course-

The SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master course (SASM) allows Scrum Masters to use their broader knowledge of Agile and Scrum anti-patterns to facilitate multiple cross-team interactions, thereby getting rapid continuous value delivery. 

Career prospect:  SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager, SAFe® Release Train Engineer, SAFe® Program Consultant, SAFe® Agilist

4. SAFe® Course: SAFe® 4.5 Product Owner/ Product Manager-

The SAFe® 4.5 Product Owner/ Product Manager course based on Lean-Agile principles, allows Product Owner/ Product Manager to improve certain areas like architecture, funding, integrations, governance, and roles to get Agile success at an enterprise level.   

Career prospect:  SAFe® Agilist, SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master, SAFe® Release Train Engineer, SAFe® Program Consultant

5. SAFe® Course: SAFe® 4.5 Release Train Engineer Certification course-

The SAFe® 4.5 Release Train Engineer Certification course (RTE) helps manage Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and value execution. These professionals become well equipped to remove obstacles, mitigate risks and yield continuous improvement. The RTE can be a part of the Lean-Agile transformation by training Managers, teams and Scrum Masters. Also, they help to adopt SAFe® principles in the team.

Career prospect: SAFe® Agilist, SAFe® Program Consultant

6. SAFe® Course: Leading SAFe® 4.5 training course-

Leading SAFe® 4.5 certification course is a complete solution for the scaled Agile teams in the organizations to carry out Agile transformation smoothly. Applying Lean-Agile principles is considered as the first step towards a change, which includes synchronizations, collaborations, and quality delivery.  

Career prospect:  SAFe® Release Train Engineer, SAFe® Program Consultant

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In the aggregate, all the SAFe® 4.0 features are updated in the new SAFe® 4.5 version. Since SAFe® 4.5 is fully backward compatible, you can learn a lot more things, and benefit from the additional features along with the principles present in the older version. With the different levels of SAFe® 4.5 certifications, you can upgrade to new features to keep pace with the technology revolution. 


Lindy Quick

Blog Author

Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

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