SAFe Core Values – definition

safe core values
safe core values

IndeSAFe is the more popular scaled agile framework ; this framework SAFe  consider 4 Core Values in its foundations :

  • alignment
  • built-in quality
  • transparency
  • program execution

Besides, here is the picture purposed by SAFe that represent these core values :

SAFe canvas - with the core values
SAFe canvas – safe core values

SAFe Core Values – explanation

Let’s see why SAFe use these 4 words to explain the foundation of its framework. They really guide the author to purpose the different evolutions of the framework.


Indeed, alignment is a necessity to have a real capacity to change fast, to work well with possible distributed team and to be competitive on the market. So SAFe purpose differents things to have a good alignment:

  • strategic and investment alignment with portfolio vision, portfolio backlog and the overall roadmap.
  • clears line with a real communication between them. From portfolio to the product and solution manager, from the product and solution manager to the product owners.
  • the use of the PI objectives and interaction goals in order to communicate expectations and commitments
  • the cadences with PI planning for example to be sure all the teams are aligned
  • governance around user experience and architecture to have a real alignment about theses topics and have a real capacity to scale the system if necessary
  • stay aligned with the stakeholders thanks  to a strong economic prioritization

Build-in quality

This build-in quality have the objective that the teams deliver a quality product; each increment have to respect a quality norme in order to always deliver what the stakeholders and the customers expect. So 5 elements represents the build-in quality: flow, architecture and design quality, code quality, system quality and release quality.

SAFe remember the importance of 3 practices to build a real quality product : BDD (behavior-driven development), TDD (test driven development) [french] and agile testing.

build-in quality - safe core values
build-in quality – safe core values


Like Scrum, SAFe think that the transparency is really important to work well. Transparency will also help to have a better alignment (first value). Here are some SAFe practices to have a real transparency:

  • the portfolio kanban and backlog, program backlogs, the use of PI objectives
  • inspect & adapt
  • PI planning
  • teams and ARTs can see the portfolio
  • transparency measures of progress

The agile-lean leaders like RTE for example have to help the organization to improve constantly the transparency of the system.

Program execution

SAFe places an important focus about working systems and business outcomes. SAFe recommend to start a transformation directly with an essential SAFe and not just one pilot team; indeed, if the agility is apply in just one team, this kind of doing will create a lot of frustration for others. With the launch of one ART, the company will really create an agile system et have the capacity to be focused on business outcomes.

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About Judicaël Paquet 190 Articles
Judicaël Paquet (agile coach and senior devops) My activities in France and Switzerland: - agile transformation architect - customized agile training - sensitization and manager coaching - agile maturity audits and situations - agile coaching (teams, orga, product owner, scrum master, agile coach) Specialties: scrum, kanban, management 3.0, scalability, lean startup, agile method.

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