Foreword by Dean Leffingwell, Chief Methodologist and creator of SAFe

To understand why there is a need for the Scaled Agile Framework® (also known as SAFe®), I’m reminded of Jack Welch’s words: “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

Digital disruption is now causing the rate of change to accelerate in ways that are leaving some of the world’s largest brands eating the dust of their newer competitors. It’s no longer happening to just a few organizations in select industries. It’s a reality for every enterprise and government, regardless of size, geography, or industry. It’s easy to see that market leaders have turned that disruption into opportunity, finding ways to quickly adapt to the change, and leverage the disruption to their advantage.

This is the new norm. To succeed in this digital adapt-or-die environment, enterprises must be able to rapidly change the way they create and deliver value to their customers. Their ability to do that is highly dependent on their dexterity in developing software and systems—the underpinnings of nearly every function in every industry across the globe. As those software and cyber-physical systems become increasingly complex, the methods used to develop those systems must allow the work culture to embrace collaboration, innovation, and speed.

The assumptive, one pass, stage-gated, waterfall methods of the past have not scaled to the new challenge. A more responsive development method is needed to take on the demands of the modern technological and cultural landscape. Agile is a major step in that direction, but Agile was developed for small teams, and by itself, does not scale to the needs of the larger enterprises and the systems they create. That’s where SAFe comes into the picture. It applies the power of Agile, but takes it to the next level by leveraging the more extensive knowledge pools of systems thinking and Lean product

SAFe provides comprehensive guidance for achieving the benefits of Lean-Agile development at enterprise scale. It is designed to help enterprises deliver value continuously and more efficiently on a regular and predictable schedule, making them more Agile in the marketplace and more competitive in their industry. Many of the largest organizations in the world have adopted SAFe, and the adoption rate is accelerating.

As you introduce yourself to the Framework, it is important to understand the reasons why these approaches work, not just what they are. That’s why SAFe is based on Lean-Agile principles. If you understand why things work, you can more easily apply them to your unique context. Also, know that SAFe, like the marketplace it serves, is an evolving work of innovation and ideas by people committed to the same mission that you are. It may look a little different from version to version, but its core purpose remains steady, which is to help enterprises build better systems, achieve better business outcomes, and provide better daily lives for the people who build the world’s most important new systems.

—Dean Leffingwell
Creator of SAFe, and Chief Methodologist, Scaled Agile, Inc.

Suggested Case Studies