Agile Architecture

A set of values and practices that support the active evolution of the design and architecture of a system while implementing new system capabilities.

Agile Release Train (ART)

The Agile Release Train (ART) is a long-lived team of Agile teams, and stakeholders that incrementally deliver (and where applicable operates) one or more solutions in a value stream.

Agile Team

The SAFe Agile Team is a cross-functional group people who have the responsibility to define, build, test, and where applicable deploy and release, some element of Solution value—all in a short Iteration timebox.

Architectural Runway

The Architectural Runway consists of the existing code, components, and technical infrastructure needed to implement near-term features without excessive redesign and delay.

Built-In Quality

Built-In Quality practices ensure that each Solution element, at every increment, meets appropriate quality standards throughout development.

Business Owners

Business Owners are a small group of stakeholders who have the primary business and technical responsibility for governance, compliance, and return on investment (ROI) for a Solution.

Business Solutions and Lean Systems Engineering

The Business Solutions and Lean Systems Engineering competency describe how to apply Lean-Agile principles and practices to the specification, development, deployment, and evolution of large, complex software and cyber-physical systems.


A Capability is a higher-level solution behavior that typically spans multiple ARTs. They are sized and split into multiple features to facilitate their implementation in a single PI.

Communities of Practice (CoPs)

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are people that share a common interest in a specific domain who collaborate regularly to share information, improve their skills, and actively work on advancing their knowledge.


Compliance refers to a Lean-Agile development strategy that allows teams to build systems that have the highest possible quality and meet the relevant regulatory or industry standards.

Continuous Delivery Pipeline

The Continuous Delivery Pipeline represents the workflows, activities, and automation needed to move a new piece of functionality all the way from ideation to release.

Continuous Deployment (CD)

Continuous Deployment (CD) is the process that takes validated Features from a staging environment and deploys them into the production environment, where they are readied for release.

Continuous Exploration (CE)

Continuous Exploration (CE) is the process of continually exploring Customer and market needs, which fosters innovation and builds alignment on the Vision, Roadmap, and Feature set for a Solution.

Continuous Integration (CI)

Continuous Integration (CI) is the process of developing, testing, integrating, and validating Features in a staging environment where they are readied for deployment and release.

Core Values

The four Core Values of alignment, built-in quality, transparency, and program execution represent the fundamental beliefs that are key to SAFe’s effectiveness.


Customers are the ultimate buyer of every Solution. They are an integral part of the Lean-Agile development process and the Value Stream and have specific responsibilities in SAFe.

Dev Team

The Dev Team is a subset of the Agile Team, which consists of dedicated professionals who can develop, test, and deploy a Story, Feature, or component.


DevOps is a mindset, a culture, and a set of technical practices, which provides communication, integration, automation, and close cooperation for planning, developing, testing, deploying, releasing, and operating a Solution.

DevOps and Release on Demand

The DevOps and Release on Demand competency describes how implementing DevOps and a continuous delivery pipeline provides the enterprise with the capability to release value, in whole or in part, at any time necessary to meet market and customer demand.

Develop on Cadence

Develop on Cadence is a method for managing the inherent variability of systems development by making sure important events and activities occur on a regular, predictable schedule.

Economic Framework

The Economic Framework is a set of decision guidelines that align everyone with the financial objectives of the Solution and informs the economic decision-making process.


Enablers support the activities needed to extend the Architectural Runway to provide future business functionality. These include exploration, infrastructure, compliance, and architecture development.


The Enterprise represents the business entity to which each SAFe portfolio belongs.

Enterprise Architect

The Enterprise Architect promotes adaptive design, and engineering practices and drives architectural initiatives for the portfolio.


An Epic is a container for a Solution development initiative large enough to require analysis, the definition of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and financial approval before implementation.

Epic Owners

Epic Owners are responsible for coordinating portfolio Epics through the Portfolio Kanban system.

Essential SAFe Configuration

The Essential SAFe configuration is the basic building block for all SAFe configurations and is the simplest starting point for implementation. It brings the core competencies of Lean-Agile Leadership, Team and Technical Agility, and DevOps and Release on Demand to the enterprise.


A Feature is a service that fulfills a stakeholder need and is sized to be delivered by a single Agile Release Train (ART) in a Program Increment (PI).


The Foundation contains the supporting principles, values, mindset, implementation guidance, and leadership roles needed to deliver value successfully at scale.

Full SAFe Configuration

The Full SAFe configuration is the most comprehensive version of the framework that applies all five core competencies to supports enterprises that build and maintain a portfolio of large, integrated solutions.

Innovation and Planning Iteration

The Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration provides dedicated time for innovation and learning, PI Planning, and Inspect and Adapt (I&A) events; it also serves as an estimating buffer for meeting PI Objectives.

Inspect & Adapt (I&A)

The Inspect and Adapt (I&A) is a significant event, held at the end of each Program Increment (PI), where the current state of the Solution is demonstrated and evaluated by the train.


Each iteration is a standard, fixed-length timebox, where Agile Teams deliver incremental value in the form of working, tested software and systems.

Iteration Execution

Iteration Execution is how Agile Teams manage their work throughout the Iteration timebox, resulting in a high-quality, working, tested system increment.

Iteration Goals

Iteration Goals are a high-level summary of the business and technical goals that the Agile Team agrees to accomplish in an Iteration.

Iteration Planning

Iteration Planning is an event where all team members determine how much of the Team Backlog they can commit to delivering during an upcoming Iteration.

Iteration Retrospective

The Iteration Retrospective is a regular meeting where Agile Team members discuss the results of the Iteration, review their practices, and identify ways to improve.

Iteration Review

The Iteration Review is a cadence-based event, where each team inspects the increment at the end of every Iteration to assess progress, and then adjusts its backlog for the next iteration.

Large Solution Level

The Large Solution Level contains the roles, artifacts, and processes needed to build large and complex solutions.

Large Solution SAFe Configuration

The Large Solution SAFe configuration brings the Business Solutions and Lean Systems Engineering competency to those building the largest and most complex solutions. This configuration supports multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and suppliers.

Lean Budget Guardrails

Lean Budget Guardrails describe budgetary, governance and spending policies and practices for the Lean budgets allocated to a specific portfolio.

Lean Budgets

Lean Budgets is a set of funding and governance practices that increase development throughput by decreasing funding overhead and friction.

Lean Enterprise

The Lean Enterprise is a thriving digital age business that delivers competitive systems and solutions to its customers in the shortest sustainable lead time.

Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)

The Lean Portfolio Management competency describes how an enterprise implements Lean approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and Lean governance.

Lean User Experience (Lean UX)

Lean User Experience (Lean UX) design is a mindset, culture, and a process that embraces Lean- Agile methods.

Lean-Agile Leadership

The Lean-Agile Leadership competency describes how Lean-Agile Leaders drive and sustain organizational change and operational excellence by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential. They do this by learning, exhibiting, teaching, and coaching SAFe’s Lean-Agile mindset, values, principles, and practices.

Lean-Agile Mindset

The Lean-Agile Mindset is the combination of beliefs, assumptions, and actions of SAFe leaders and practitioners who embrace the concepts of the Agile Manifesto and Lean thinking.

Lean-Agile Principles

SAFe is based on nine immutable, underlying Lean and Agile Principles. These tenets and economic concepts inspire and inform the roles and practices of SAFe.


Metrics are agreed-upon measures used to evaluate how well the organization is progressing toward the portfolio, large solution, program, and team’s business and technical objectives.


Milestones are used to track progress toward a specific goal or event. There are three types of SAFe milestones: Program Increment (PI), fixed-date, and learning milestones.

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is the practice of developing a set of related system models that help define, design, and document a system under development.

Nonfunctional Requirements (NFRs)

Nonfunctional Requirements (NFRs) define system attributes (e.g., reliability, performance) that kserve as constraints or restrictions on the design of the system across the different backlogs.

PI Objectives

Program Increment (PI) Objectives are a summary of the business and technical goals that an Agile Team or train intends to achieve in the upcoming Program Increment (PI).

Portfolio Backlog

The Portfolio Backlog is the highest-level backlog in SAFe, providing a holding area for upcoming business and enabler Epics.

Portfolio Canvas

The Portfolio Canvas is a type of Business Model Canvas that has been adapted to charter and describe the structure and purpose of a SAFe portfolio.

Portfolio Kanban

The Portfolio Kanban is a mechanism used to visualize, manage, and analyze the prioritization and flow of portfolio Epics from ideation to implementation and completion.

Portfolio Level

The Portfolio Level contains the principles, practices, and roles needed to initiate and govern a set of development Value Streams.

Portfolio SAFe Configuration

The Portfolio SAFe configuration applies the Lean Portfolio Management competency to align portfolio execution to the enterprise strategy and organizes development around the flow of value through one or more value streams.

Pre-and Post-PI Planning

Pre– and Post–Program Increment (PI) Planning events are used to prepare for, and follow up after, PI Planning for Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and Suppliers in a Solution Train.

Product Management

Product Management is responsible for identifying Customer needs, prioritizing Features, guiding the work through the Program Kanban and developing the program Vision and Roadmap.

Product Owner (PO)

The Product Owner (PO) is a member of the Agile Team responsible for defining user Stories and prioritizing the Team Backlog to streamline program execution.

Program Backlog

The Program Backlog is the holding area for upcoming Features and Enablers, which are intended to address user needs and deliver business benefits and build its architectural runway.

Program Increment (PI)

A Program Increment (PI) is a timebox during which an Agile Release Train (ART) delivers incremental value in the form of working, tested software and systems. PIs are typically 8 – 12 weeks long. The most common pattern for a PI is four development Iterations, followed by one Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration.

Program Increment (PI) Planning

Program Increment (PI) Planning is a cadence-based, face-to-face event that serves as the heartbeat of the Agile Release Train (ART), aligning all the teams on the ART to a shared mission and Vision.

Program Kanban

The Program and Solution Kanban systems are a method to visualize and manage the flow of Features and Capabilities from ideation to analysis, implementation, and release through the Continuous Delivery Pipeline.

Program Level

The Program Level contains the roles and activities needed to continuously deliver solutions via an Agile Release Train (ART).

Release Train Engineer (RTE)

The Release Train Engineer (RTE) is a servant leader and coach for the Agile Release Train (ART). The RTE’s major responsibilities are to facilitate the ART events and processes and assist the teams in delivering value.

Release on Demand

Release on Demand is the process by which new functionality is deployed into production and released immediately or incrementally to Customers based on demand.


The Roadmap is a schedule of events and Milestones that communicate planned Solution deliverables over a planning horizon.

SAFe Implementation Roadmap

The SAFe Implementation Roadmap describes a strategy and an ordered set of activities that have proven to be effective in successfully implementing SAFe.

SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs)

Certified SAFe® Program Consultants (SPCs) are change agents who play a critical role in successfully implementing SAFe.

SAFe for Government

SAFe for Government is a set of success patterns that help public sector organizations implement Lean-Agile practices in a government context.

SAFe for Lean Enterprises

SAFe® for Lean Enterprises is a knowledge base of proven, integrated principles, practices, and competencies for Lean, Agile, and DevOps.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is a servant leader and coach who helps an Agile Team follow the agile process, remove impediments, and fosters an environment for high-performing teams, continuous flow, and relentless improvement.


ScrumXP is a lightweight process to deliver value for cross-functional, self-organized teams within SAFe. It combines the power of Scrum project management practices with Extreme Programming (XP) practices.

Set-Based Design

Set-Based Design (SBD) is a practice that keeps requirements and design options flexible for as long as possible during the development process.

Shared Services

Shared Services represents the specialty roles, people, and services required for the success of an Agile Release Train (ART) or Solution Train, but that cannot be dedicated full-time.


Each Value Stream produces one or more Solutions, which are products, services, or systems delivered to the Customer, whether internal or external to the Enterprise.

Solution Architect/Engineer

The Solution Architect/Engineering role represents an individual or small team that defines a shared technical and architectural vision for the Solution under development.

Solution Backlog

The Solution Backlog is the holding area for upcoming Capabilities and Enablers, each of which can span multiple ARTs and is intended to advance the Solution and build its architectural runway.

Solution Context

Solution Context identifies the operational environment for a Solution, providing an understanding of requirements, usage, installation, operation, and support of the solution.

Solution Demo

The Solution Demo is where the results of development efforts from the Solution Train are integrated, evaluated, and made visible to Customers and other stakeholders.

Solution Intent

Solution Intent is the repository for storing, managing, and communicating the knowledge of current and intended Solution behavior.

Solution Management

Solution Management is responsible for identifying Customer needs, prioritizing Capabilities, guiding the work through the Solution Kanban and developing the solution Vision and Roadmap.

Solution Train

The Solution Train is the organizational construct used to build large and complex Solutions that require the coordination of multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs), as well as the contributions of Suppliers. It aligns ARTs with a shared business and technology mission using the solution Vision, Backlog, and Roadmap, and an aligned Program Increment (PI).

Spanning Palette

The Spanning Palette contains various roles and artifacts that may apply to a specific team, program, large solution, or portfolio context.


Stories are short descriptions of a small piece of desired functionality, written in the user’s language. They are sized to be implemented in small, vertical slices within a single Iteration.

Strategic Themes

Strategic Themes are differentiating business objectives that connect a portfolio to the strategy of the Enterprise, which influence the portfolio strategy and provides business context for decision-making.


A Supplier is an internal or external organization that develops and delivers components, subsystems or services that help Solution Trains and Agile Release Trains provide Solutions to its Customers.

System Demo

The System Demo is an event where the work from all teams on the Agile Release Train is integrated, evaluated, and made visible to Customers and other stakeholders.

System Team

The System Team is a specialized Agile Team that assists in building and supporting the Agile development environment, typically including development and maintenance of the toolchain that supports the Continuous Delivery Pipeline.

Team Backlog

The Team Backlog contains user and enabler Stories that originate from the Program Backlog, as well as stories that arise locally from the team’s local context.

Team Kanban

Team Kanban is a method that helps teams facilitate the flow of value by visualizing workflow, establishing Work In Process (WIP) limits, measuring throughput, and continuously improving their process.

Team Level

The Team Level contains the roles, activities, events, and processes which Agile Teams build and deliver value in the context of the Agile Release Train (ART).

Team and Technical Agility

The Team and Technical Agility competency describe the critical skills and Lean-Agile principles and practices that are needed to create high-performing Agile teams who create high-quality, well designed technical solutions.

Value Stream Coordination

Value Stream Coordination provides guidance to manage dependencies and exploit the opportunities in a portfolio.

Value Streams

Value Streams represent the series of steps that an organization uses to build Solutions that provide a continuous flow of value to a customer. Vision The Vision is a description of the future state of the Solution under development. It reflects Customer and stakeholder needs, as well as the Feature and Capabilities, proposed to meet those needs.

Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)

Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is a prioritization model used to sequence jobs (e.g., Features, Capabilities, and Epics) to help realize the maximum economic benefit.