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What’s New in Leading SAFe® 5.0

19th Feb, 2024
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    What’s New in Leading SAFe® 5.0

    The global SAFe® summit, organized by Scaled Agile Inc. has declared a new variant of the Scaled Agile Framework. The newsimplified version of the model features business activity, focusing on providing a positive customer experience and expanding the critical aspect of portfolio management. SAFe® has added more clarity, structure, and direction. This post attempts to provide an overview of some major changes in SAFe® 5.0.  

    This new release is intended to extend SAFe® to encompass the complete enterprise and enable improved business activity. This post attempts to provide an overview of some major changes in SAFe® 5.0.  

    1. Important Highlights of SAFe® update  
    2. Gives the big picture for better features, flow, and continuous delivery   
    3. Developing value streams patterns supports model around the request from customers  
    4. Applying SAFe® to hardware improvement accelerates the delivery of cyber-physical systems  
    5. New direction and guidance around DevOps technical skills and tools for continuous delivery pipeline  
    6. More comprehensive direction for implementing Lean-Agile methods to business domains supports business agility  
    7. Integrated participatory budgeting promotes a dynamic and collaborative method of allocating funding to value streams  
    8. New designs, patterns, and behaviors for teams and ARTs simplifies their values  
    9. Incremental updates to SAFe® 5 will guarantee it stays current with new and evolving business and technology trends.

    WHAT’S NEW? 

    Below are the highlights of what’s new in SAFe® 5.0. 

    Customer focus in SAFe® 5.0 

    One of the primary changes is to focus on a customer-centric approach. Version SAFe® 5.0’s motto is to give a satisfactory experience to the customer. SAFe® recommends focusing more on what the customer is getting from the business and helps them focus on decision-making. 

    The most important ingredient is revamped core competency, which focuses on understanding the needs of customers, setting customer lifetime value, and then building products that are customer-centric. 

    Customer focus in SAFe® 5.0

    New Big Picture 

    The below graphic incorporates the contents of SAFe®, comprising a sketch of-- Essential SAFe®, Large Solution SAFe®, Portfolio SAFe®, and Full SAFe® and the consolidated updates

    Source Link

    Concentrate/ Focus on Business Agility.  

    Business Agility is the ability to face and grow by immediately responding to buoyant market conditions, varying customer needs, and emerging technologies. It requires that everyone is committed to delivering solutions—business and technology leaders, development, IT operations, legal, marketing, finance, support, compliance, security, and others—use Lean and Agile applications to continuously deliver innovative, high-quality products and services quicker. It is the differentiator that will determine the winners and failures in the digital economy. 

    SAFe® defines business agility as “The capacity to compete and succeed in the digital age by reacting quickly to market fluctuations and opportunities with innovative business resolutions. It expects all those concerned in furnishing solutions i.e. business and technology leaders, development, IT policies and procedures, law, marketing, finance, maintenance and support, compliance, security/ protection from hackers, and others – to apply lean and agile methods to continuously provide innovative, quality products and services quicker than the competition. 

    How will business agility solve the problem? 

    1. Enterprises start as a customer-centric network. As the organization progresses, the entrepreneurial network moves adjacent to the newly constituted “hierarchical arrangement” which is anticipated for the organization to mature. 
    2. As the hierarchy grows to accomplish the organization’s revenue and growth needs, it begins to clash with the entrepreneurial network, which leads to network failure and customer-centricity getting lost in between. 
    3. Nonetheless, this allows organizations to develop, but if a change in technology or customer requirement arises, companies fail to react and change. 
    4. Instead of discarding the current system, a secondary system “SAFe® 5.0 Business Agility” could be executed which allows concentrating more on formulating value streams, not just departments. 

    New SAFe® Overview 

    SAFe®'s seven center capabilities encourage business readiness. The visual underneath shows an unmistakable image of SAFe®'s Seven Core Competencies of the Lean Enterprise and furthermore shows their 21 measurements that assist business readiness.   

    Execution competencies are displayed on the left, while the support strategy competencies are on the right. The Agile-Lean Leadership competency which is the foundation is in the bottom middle. The customer is prominently emphasized in the middle as the focal feature for all the competencies. Measure and Grow at the top right is a suggestion of the importance of cyclic self-assessments to track the organization’s journey towards the principles and practices that facilitate business agility.  

    Business agility

    Source Link

    Measuring Business Agility 

    The SAFe® framework now includes Business Agility Assessment that empowers organizations to estimate their level of business agility and get support on expediting growth. The assessment incorporates the ratings of organizations according to various standards and levels within each core competency. Outcomes from this evaluation, represented by the radar below, can be represented as a baseline. As such, these can support organizations to determine the current status and know which fields to concentrate on for enhanced growth. It can help to prioritize for maximum accomplishment on the path to business agility. 


    SAFe® 5.0 acquaints us with two new abilities-- Continuous Learning Culture, and Organizational Agility. Both of the skills are depicted in detail below. 

    Continuous Learning Culture   

    The Learning Culture competency outlines a set of values and methods that inspire people and the complete organization to upgrade knowledge, skill, performance, and innovation. The aforementioned culture is achieved by encouraging the organization to upgrade knowledge, executing constant improvement, and promoting a culture of innovation.   

    The image below outlines the three dimensions of a continuous learning culture:


    1. Learning Organization – Employees would desire to upgrade themselves at each level and therefore the organization transforms and can endure an ever-changing world.  
    2. Innovation Culture – Employees are encouraged and empowered to explore and accomplish original concepts that expedite future value delivery.  
    3. Constant Improvement – Every part of the enterprise concentrates on continuously enhancing its solutions, products, and methods. 

    Organizational Agility  

    The Agility competency of an Organization defines how Lean-thinking and Agile teams optimize their business processes, amplify the approach with clear and definitive new consignments, and immediately benefit the organization as expected to capitalize on new possibilities and opportunities. 

    This new article explains the three dimensions of organizational agility:  

    Organizational Agility

    1. Lean and Agile Teams – Teams that are connected with solution delivery are trained in Lean and Agile systems and know how to adopt and exemplify the values, policies, and practices.   
    2. Lean operations business team – Teams follow Lean principles to concede, map and continuously improve the business systems that support the business products and services.   
    3. Strategy Flexibility – The enterprise is manageable and flexible enough to continuously sense the market, and immediately adjust tactics when required.


    Team and Technical Agility  

    The Technical Agility team outlines the Lean-Agile principles and methods that high-performing Agile teams use to provide high-quality resolutions for customers. The outcome is improved productivity, more stability, quality, faster time-to-market, and quick anticipated delivery of value. 

    This competency has been written and is classified into the following dimensions: 

    Team and Technical Agility

    • Agile Teams

    High Performance of the cross-functional teams ensures competency by employing efficient Agile principles and practices.

    • Agile Unit Teams

    Agile teams function within the context of a SAFe® Agile Release Train (ART), a long-lasting, team of Agile teams that bestows a shared insight and direction and is ultimately accountable for delivering solutions.  

    • Built-in Quality

    Agile teams execute Agile iterations to provide high-quality, well-designed recommendations that help current and prospective business requirements.

    • Agile Product Delivery  

    Agile Product Delivery is a customer-centric approach to determine, develop, and deliver a constant stream of products and services that are of value to customers and users. This supports the organization to provide solutions that delight customers, reduce development costs/ risk, and reduce competition.  

    DevOps and Release competency has been combined into a couple of dimensions of Agile Product Delivery as shown in the Figure below:

    Agile Product Delivery

    1. Customer-centric Thinking – Customer centricity puts the customer at a locus and uses design reasoning to ensure that the resolution implemented will be useful, possible, achievable, and can sustain in any circumstances.  
    2. Acquire on-demand and Declare on Request– Developing on flow enhances control in product development.  Releasing the value engagements to customers in segments would help customers to satisfy their requirements.  
    3. DevOps and the Continuous Delivery – DevOps and the Continuous Delivery Pipeline create the foundation that assists organizations to deliver excellence, in cumulative parts or in segments, at any point to satisfy consumer and market requirements. 

    Lean Portfolio Management  

    The Lean Portfolio Management aligns strategies and achievements by implementing Lean methods approaches/ strategies, Agile portfolio methods, and governance. These collaborations deliver organizations the expertise to meet existing commitments and enable innovation.

    This competency has been revised and is classified into the following dimensions:

    Lean Portfolio Management

    1. Strategy & Investment Funding ensures the entire portfolio is aligned and financed to formulate and support the solutions expected to adhere to business targets.   
    2.  Agile Portfolio Operations encourage decentralized program performance and promote operational excellence.   
    3.  Lean Governance accommodates decision-making of spending, auditing, forecasting engagements, and measurement.

    Organization Solution Delivery  

    The Organization Solution Delivery competency shows how to apply Lean-Agile principles and methods to product specification, expansion, deployment, accomplishment, and progress of advanced software applications, networks, etc 

    Organization Solution Delivery

    The Business and Lean Engineering Systems competency has been renamed as Enterprise Solution Delivery and it incorporates the following dimensions: 

    • Lean Solution and Systems   

    Engineering applies Lean-Agile practices to manage and coordinate all the activities needed to execute, test, deploy, evolve, and sequentially decommission these systems.   

    • Coordinating Suppliers   

    Suppliers are coordinated and aligned to a set of value streams. This uses coordinated vision, backlogs, and roadmaps with common program Increment points.   

    • Continually Evolve

     Live Systems assure large systems, and their growing pipeline supports continuous delivery. 

    Lean-Agile Leadership  

    The Lean-Agile Leadership competency specifies how Lean-Agile Leaders manage and maintain organizational change by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential. Adopting a Lean-Agile mindset results in more engaged employees, increased productivity and innovation, and successful organizational change.  

    The Lean-Agile leadership was revised and is grouped into the following dimensions:

    Lean-Agile Leadership

    1. Set by example – Leaders achieve earned prestige by inspiring the team to incorporate the leader’s example into their own personal development journey.  
    2. Principles and Mindset – Embedding the Lean-Agile approach of working in their ideas, choices, acknowledgments, and activities, leaders model the required norm throughout the organization.  
    3. Managing Change – Leaders lead the transformation by designing the environment, preparing the people, and providing the necessary resources to realize the aspired outcomes. 



    The Customer Centricity mindset has extended its focus to the mechanisms and systems that are aimed at resolving issues that customers face. 

     Customer Centricity 

    The customer-centric organization conducts market research to create actionable items of the problems that customers face, the solution specifications, and the solutions required to resolve issues. 



    Team of teams in SAFe® acts as an agile release train and it presents value to the organization. They adopt the Lean and Agile values, principles, and practices that are relevant to their responsibilities and adjust their existing processes accordingly. The Agile Release Train (ART) is a long-lived team of Agile teams, which, accompanied by different stakeholders, incrementally develops, delivers, and where applicable operates one or more solutions in a value stream. 


    ARTs comprise cross-functional teams and possess all the abilities—software, hardware, firmware, and others—needed to define, implement, test, deploy, release, and where applicable, operate solutions.

    agile release train

    ARTs operate on a set of common principles:  

    1. If a Feature misses a timed departure and is not planned in the current PI, it can be taken in the next one.  
    2. Each train delivers a new increment every two weeks.  
    3. Teams on the train are synchronized on the related PI of 8 – 12 weeks and have common Iteration start/end dates and duration.  
    4. Each ART estimates how much can be delivered in a PI.  
    5. Agile Teams welcome the ‘Agile Manifesto’ and SAFe® Core Values and Principles. They apply Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Kanban, etc Built-In Quality practices.  
    6. Most people in ART are committed full-time to the train. 
    7. The ART plans work periodically mostly face-to-face PI Planning events.  
    8. An Inspect and Adapt event is held at the end of every PI.  
    9. Teams and management identify backlog items via a structured, problem-solving workshop.  
    10. ARTs apply flow and synchronization to better accomplish the internal variability of investigation and improvement.  


    The Scaled Agile Framework for enterprises contributes integrated, well established scaling patterns that have benefited many organizations around the world to solve their business obstacles associated with speed, multiple teams' alignment, flexibility & quality, and improvement with successful Agile delivery.   

     The SAFe® Roadmap outlines the levels of the organization and implements SAFe® in an arranged, stable, and successful fashion. While adopting SAFe® would vary based on circumstances, the Implementation Roadmap offers insight into a fairly common implementation pattern. The roadmap has been developed by proven change management strategies and the experience of hundreds of global enterprises that have adopted SAFe® 

     The SAFe® Implementation Roadmap includes 12 critical moves for the successful embracing of Lean-Agile principles and mindset and their applicability throughout the organization.



    Below are the diverse levels in SAFe® 4.5 and SAFe® 5.0. 

    SAFe®  5.0 Level  

    SAFe® 5.0 is the most advanced level that comes with an important update to the last version 4.5. It comes with two extra competencies i.e. Lean Enterprise and Business Agility. SAFe® 5.0 with extra two competencies also focuses on core competencies of SAFe® 4.5 that includes Technical and Team Agility, Release on Demand and DevOps, Lean Systems Engineering and Business Solutions, Lean Portfolio and Lean-Agile Leadership.  

    SAFe®  4.5 Level 

    Four levels are incorporated in this SAFe® implementation-- they are Portfolio, Value Stream, Program, and Team. It is mainly used for resolutions that require several professionals to create, deploy, manage and maintain software


    Scaled Agile Framework inspires realization within organizations that there is a need to transform development teams. They require to transform organization-wide in order to compete in today’s landscape. The focus has now whirled towards full business agility. In reference to SAFe® 5.0, Business Agility empowers organizations to capitalize on rising opportunities by allowing people to make quick settlements, designate money, and adjust the right people to work.  

    SAFe® confirms that a framework alone is not sufficient to achieve a successful transformation; the true difference makers are the talent i.e., leaders and teams of the organization. Globalization, fast-moving markets and the unprecedented pace of technological innovation provokes organizations to transform to survive. But their current business models, organizational hierarchy, and technology infrastructure often hold back organizations from transforming fast.  

    Important Highlights of SAFe® 5.0:  

    1. Focus on customer centricity and design thinking empowers the organization to recognize the problem and design the right solution.  
    2. New Measures and guidance help the organization circumscribe its current state of business agility and recognize tactical steps to enhance economic outcomes and reach its desired state.  
    3. Continuous Learning Culture competency provides a collection of values and practices that inspires everyone in the enterprise to continuously learn and innovate with mutual cooperation 
    4. Organizational Agility helps teams optimize their enterprise processes, develop strategies with clear commitments and quickly accommodate to realize new opportunities.  
    5. SAFe® 5.0 allows teams to engage in delivering and supporting innovative business resolutions.  
    6. It organizes and helps enterprise regulate their development efforts around the full, end-to-end value flow. 


    SAFe® 5.0 brings the significant modifications that were required for organizations to improve but also not lose core focus on customers. With business agility, organizations can now concentrate on generating value streams for their overall maturity and growth rather than focus on each department individually. 

    The two new core competencies will empower the organizations to generate a learning culture to encourage continuous improvement in innovative solutions, performance, and growth and also modify or accommodate artifices according to the variation in market trends. Overall, it helps in bringing back the focus without losing it in the hierarchical structure of organizations.


    Rajesh Bhagia

    Blog Author

    Rajesh Bhagia is experienced campaigner in Lamp technologies and has 10 years of experience in Project Management. He has worked in Multinational companies and has handled small to very complex projects single-handedly. He started his career as Junior Programmer and has evolved in different positions including Project Manager of Projects in E-commerce Portals. Currently, he is handling one of the largest project in E-commerce Domain in MNC company which deals in nearly 9.5 million SKU's.

    In his role as Project Manager at MNC company, Rajesh fosters an environment of teamwork and ensures that strategy is clearly defined while overseeing performance and maintaining morale. His strong communication and client service skills enhance his process-driven management philosophy.

    Rajesh is a certified Zend Professional and has developed a flair for implementing PMP Knowledge Areas in daily work schedules. He has well understood the importance of these process and considers that using the knowledge Areas efficiently and correctly can turn projects to success. He also writes articles/blogs on Technology and Management

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