SAFe 5.0 Distilled: Achieving Business Agility with the Scaled Agile Framework

Richard Knaster / Dean Leffingwell  
Total pages
July 2020

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SAFe 5.0 Distilled: Achieving Business Agility with the Scaled Agile Framework
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To succeed in today’s adapt-or-die marketplace, businesses must be able to rapidly change the way they create and deliver value to their customers. Hundreds of the world’s most successful companies–including Intel, Capital One, AstraZeneca, Cisco, and Philips–have turned to the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) to achieve agility at scale and maintain a competitive edge. 

SAFe® 5.0 Distilled: Achieving Business Agility with the Scaled Agile Framework® explains how adopting SAFe can quickly improve time to market and increase productivity, quality, and employee engagement. In this book, students will 

  • Understand the business case for SAFe: its benefits, the problems it solves, and how to apply it
  • Get an overview of SAFe across all parts of the business: team, program, value stream, and portfolio
  • Learn why SAFe works: the power of SAFe’s Lean-Agile mindset, values, and principles
  • Discover how systems thinking, Agile development, and Lean product development form the underlying basis for SAFe
  • Learn how to become a Lean-Agile leader and effectively drive an enterprise-wide transformation


  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the Scaled Agile Framework and understand how to successfully implement it in their organization
  • Be able to provide guidelines for implementing agile/lean principles at Scale
  • Learn how to overcome the most common potential barriers to organizational impediments that prevent business agility
  • Become lean thinking managers who are able to teach teams to continuously improve the program and performance

New to this Edition

Updated for SAFe 5.0. 

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xv
About the Authors xvii

Part I: Competing in the Age of Software 1
Chapter 1: Business Agility 3
Chapter 2: Introduction to SAFe 11
Chapter 3: Lean-Agile Mindset 25
Chapter 4: SAFe Principles 39

Part II: The Seven Core Competencies of the Lean Enterprise 63
Chapter 5: Lean-Agile Leadership 65
Chapter 6: Team and Technical Agility 75
Chapter 7: Agile Product Delivery 89
Chapter 8: Enterprise Solution Delivery 121
Chapter 9: Lean Portfolio Management 143
Chapter 10: Organizational Agility 167
Chapter 11: Continuous Learning Culture 187

Part III: Implementing SAFe, Measure and Grow 201
Chapter 12: The Guiding Coalition 205
Chapter 13: Designing the Implementation 215
Chapter 14: Implementing Agile Release Trains 229
Chapter 15: Launch More ARTs and Value Streams; Extending to the Portfolio 245
Chapter 16: Measure, Grow, and Accelerate 253

Glossary 267
Index 279


Richard Knaster, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant at Scaled Agile, Inc., has more than 25 years’ experience in software development in roles ranging from developer to executive and has been involved in Agile for more than a decade. Prior to joining Scaled Agile, Inc., Richard worked at IBM, where his career spanned from product line management (PPM domain) and professional services to chief methodologist, Agile and Lean. Richard is a certified IBM Thought Leader and an Open Group Distinguished IT Specialist. He is also a certified SPC, PSM, Agile Certified Practitioner, PMP, and a contributor to the Disciplined Agile Delivery framework and PMI Portfolio/Program Management standards. He is a contributor to  SAFe® 4.5 Reference Guide (Addison-Wesley, 2018).

Dean Leffingwell, creator of SAFe®, is widely recognized as the one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices. He is an author, serial entrepreneur, and software systems development methodologist. His two best-selling books,  Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (Addison-Wesley, 2011), and  Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises (Addison-Wesley, 2007), form much of the basis of modern thinking on Lean-Agile practices and principles.