The SAFe glossary is a set of definitions for all SAFe Big Picture elements. The extended glossary provides definitions for additional terms used in the Framework. Some are unique to SAFe (e.g., PO Sync), while others are common in Lean-Agile development (e.g., MVP). They are provided here for clarity in their meaning in the context of SAFe. All extended glossary terms appear in the English configuration and will appear in other language configurations once translated.
The Agile Release Train (ART) is a long-lived team of Agile teams that incrementally develops, delivers, and often operates one or more solutions in a development value stream.
Agile Software Engineering
Agile Software Engineering (ASE) is the set of modern practices that reliably and predictably create quality software-centric systems. These practices originated with eXtreme Programming (XP) but have significantly evolved over the past two decades.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term used to describe a wide range of smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically required human intelligence. AI can be applied at all levels of SAFe to build intelligent customer solutions, automate value stream activities, and improve customer insights.
The Architect Sync is a Solution Train event to ensure consistency in how emerging designs and tradeoffs are managed across the Solution Train, allowing frequent opportunities to steer implementation approaches without becoming a source of delays.
ART Flow describes a state where an ART delivers a continuous flow of valuable features to the customer.
The ART Kanban system is a method to visualize and manage the flow of features from ideation to analysis, implementation, and release through the Continuous Delivery Pipeline.
ART PI Risks
ART PI Risks are identified items that could impact the ability to meet the ART’s PI objectives.
ART Planning Board
The ART Planning Board is a visualization of the PI's feature delivery dates, feature dependencies among teams, and relevant milestones.
ART Predictability Measure
The ART Predictability Measure is a summary of planned vs. actual business values for all the teams on the ART for a PI.
The ART Sync is an ART event that combines the Product Owner (PO) Sync and Coach Sync.
Backlog Refinement is a periodic activity teams use to define, discuss, estimate, and establish acceptance criteria for upcoming backlog items.
Baseline Solution Investments (BSIs)
Baseline Solution Investments (BSIs) are those costs incurred by each value stream as it develops, supports, and operates the solutions that deliver current business capabilities.
Batch size is a measure of how much work is pulled into the system during any given timebox.
Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)
Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is a test-first, Agile testing practice that provides built-in quality by defining (and potentially automating) tests before, or as part of, specifying system behavior.
The Benefit Hypothesis is the proposed measurable business or customer benefit of an epic, capability, feature, or story.
Built-In Quality is a set of practices to help ensure that the outputs of Agile teams in business and technology domains meet appropriate quality standards throughout the process of creating customer value.
Burn-Down (Burn-Up) Chart
Burn-Down and Burn-Up Charts are graphical displays that illustrate work progress versus time.
Business and Technology describes the patterns that may be applied to realize Business Agility by applying SAFe principles and practices across the enterprise.
Business Context is a PI Planning agenda item presented by a business owner that describes the current state of the business, shares the portfolio vision, and presents a perspective on how effectively existing solutions are addressing current customer needs.
Business Owners (BOs) are key ART stakeholders who have the primary business and technical responsibility for return on investment (ROI), governance, and compliance.
A Business-Enabled ART is an Agile Release Train that includes the technical and business people needed to ensure the solution is aware of the business in which it operates and that it addresses the relevant concerns for the technology, business, and customer.
The Cloud represents virtual, on-demand processing and storage services used for cost-effective and scalable infrastructure and operations, implementation of the DevOps toolchain, and development and hosting of AI applications.
The Coach Sync is an ART event that helps coordinate ART dependencies and provides visibility into progress and impediments.
Collective Ownership is a quality practice where individual team members have the requisite skills and authority to update any relevant asset to improve value flow.
A Combined Portfolio is a type of SAFe portfolio that includes both development and operational value streams.
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are organized groups of people with a common interest in a specific technical or business domain. They regularly collaborate to share information, improve their skills, and actively work on advancing their knowledge of the domain.
Compliance refers to the strategy, activities, and artifacts that allow teams to apply Lean-Agile development methods to build systems that have the highest possible quality, while simultaneously ensuring they meet regulatory, industry, and other relevant standards.
The Confidence Vote measures the teams’ and ARTs’ belief in their ability to deliver the established PI Objectives.
Continuous Deployment (CD) is an aspect of the Continuous Delivery Pipeline that automates the migration of new functionality from a staging environment to production, where it is made available for release.
Continuous Exploration (CE) is an aspect of the Continuous Delivery Pipeline that drives innovation and fosters alignment on what should be built by continually exploring the market and customer needs, defining a vision, roadmap, and set of features for a solution.
The Continuous Learning Culture (CLC) competency describes a set of values and practices that encourage individuals—and the enterprise as a whole—to continually increase knowledge, competence, performance, and innovation.
The Enterprise Solution Delivery (ESD) competency describes the practices necessary to apply SAFe principles and practices to the specification, development, operation, and evolution of the world’s largest and most sophisticated software applications, networks, and cyber-physical systems.
Epic Hypothesis Statement
The Epic Hypothesis Statement is a structured format used to capture, organize, and communicate critical information and assumptions about an epic.
A Feature represents solution functionality that delivers business value, fulfills a stakeholder need, and is sized to be delivered by an Agile Release Train within a PI.
Flow is a state that occurs when there is a smooth, linear, and fast movement of work product from step to step in a value stream.
Flow Distribution is a measure of the proportion of work items by type in a system.
Flow Efficiency is the ratio of the total time spent in value-added work activities divided by the total flow time.
Flow Load is a measure of the number of work items currently in progress (active or waiting).
Flow Predictability is a measure of how consistently teams, ARTs, and portfolios are able to meet their commitments.
Flow Time is a measure of the time elapsed from start to completion for a given work item.
Flow Velocity measures the number of completed work items over a time period.
Anchored by the Lean-Agile leadership and continuous learning culture competencies, the SAFe foundation contains the mindset, values, principles, and implementation guidance needed to implement SAFe practices and achieve business agility.
Full SAFe is the most comprehensive version of the Framework and supports enterprises that build and maintain a portfolio of large and complex solutions.
Gemba, also known as Genba, is the Japanese word for ‘the real place’ where work is performed and value is created.
Hackathons are innovation events where team members can work on whatever they want, with whomever they want, so long as the work reflects the mission of the company and they demo their work at the end.
The Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration is a unique, dedicated iteration that occurs every PI. It provides an estimating buffer for meeting PI Objectives and dedicated time for innovation, continuing education, PI Planning, and Inspect and Adapt (I&A) events.
The Inspect and Adapt (I&A) is a significant event held at the end of each PI, where the current state of the Solution is demonstrated and evaluated. Teams then reflect and identify improvement backlog items via a structured problem-solving workshop.
An Integration Point is a learning event that pulls various solution elements into an integrated whole that can be objectively evaluated for performance and fitness for use.
Investment Horizons provides a structure for companies to analyze, understand, and allocate investments in current and future business opportunities.
Iteration planning is a SAFe Scrum event where all team members determine how much of the Team Backlog they can commit to delivering during an upcoming Iteration. The team summarizes this work as a set of committed iteration goals.
Lean Budgets is a financial governance approach that funds value streams instead of projects, accelerating value delivery and reducing the overhead and costs associated with traditional project cost accounting.
Lean Business Case (LBC)
A Lean Business Case (LBC) is a structured format for describing epics, their MVPs, and projected business value.
Lean Governance is the dimension of Lean Portfolio Management that supports oversight of spending, audit, compliance, expenditure, measurement, and reporting.
The Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) competency aligns strategy and execution by applying Lean and systems thinking approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and governance.
Lean Quality Management System (Lean QMS)
A Lean Quality Management System (Lean QMS) is a type of quality management system that applies Lean-Agile practices, policies, and procedures to confirm product quality, safety, and efficacy.
Lean User Experience (Lean UX) is a team-based approach to building better products by focusing less on theoretically ideal design and more on iterative learning, overall user experience, and customer outcomes.
Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE)
The Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE) is a small Agile team dedicated to implementing the SAFe Lean-Agile way of working.
The Lean-Agile Leadership (LAL) competency describes how leaders drive and sustain organizational change and operational excellence by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential.
The Organizational Agility (OA) competency describes how Lean-thinking people and Agile teams across the enterprise optimize their business processes, evolve strategy with clear and decisive new commitments, and quickly adapt the organization as needed to capitalize on new opportunities.
Pareto Analysis is a technique used during an Inspect & Adapt event to narrow down the number of actions that produce the most significant overall effect.
SAFe is the world’s leading framework for Business Agility. SAFe integrates the power of Lean, Agile, and DevOps into a comprehensive operating system that helps enterprises thrive in the digital age by delivering innovative products and services faster, more predictably, and with higher quality.
SAFe Big Picture (BP)
The SAFe Big Picture (BP) is a visual representation of the framework's primary roles, activities, and artifacts.
SAFe for Government is a set of success patterns that help public sector organizations achieve better solution development outcomes by implementing SAFe Lean-Agile values, mindset, principles, and practices.
SAFe Practice Consultants (SPCs) are certified change agents who combine their technical knowledge of SAFe with an intrinsic motivation to improve the company’s software, systems, and Agile business processes.
SAFe Scrum is an Agile method used by teams within an ART to deliver customer value in a short time box. SAFe Scrum teams use iterations, Kanban systems, and Scrum events to plan, execute, demonstrate, and retrospect their work.
SAFe Team Kanban is an Agile method used by teams within an ART to continuously deliver value. SAFe Kanban teams apply a flow-based process to their daily work and operate within the ART iteration cadence.
The Solution Architect is responsible for defining and communicating a shared technical and architectural vision for a Solution Train to help ensure the solution under development will be fit for its intended purpose.
Solution Management is the function responsible for defining desirable, viable, feasible, and sustainable large solutions that meet customer needs and for supporting development across the solution life cycle.
The Solution Vision represents the future state of the solution under development. It serves as a reflection of customer and stakeholder needs and the proposed product or service to meet those needs.
The Spanning Palette contains various roles and artifacts that may apply to a specific team, ART, large solution, or portfolio context.
A Spike is a type of exploration Enabler Story that gains the knowledge necessary to reduce the risk of a technical approach, better understand a requirement, or increase the reliability of an estimate.
Sprint is a Scrum method term for what SAFe defines as an iteration.
Strategic themes are portfolio-level business objectives that provide competitive differentiation and strategic advantage. They provide business context for portfolio strategy and decision-making, representing aspects of the enterprise’s strategic intent.
A Sunk Cost is money that has already been spent and cannot be recovered.
The System Demo provides stakeholders an integrated view of new features for the most recent iteration delivered by all the teams on the ART. Each demo provides an objective measure of progress and the opportunity to give feedback.
The System Team is a specialized Agile team that assists in building and supporting the Agile development environment, including developing and maintaining the Continuous Delivery Pipeline. They may also support the integration of assets, end-to-end solution testing, DevOps mindset and practices, deployment, and release on demand.
Systems Thinking is a holistic approach that incorporates all aspects of a system and its environment into its design, development, deployment, and maintenance.
The Team and Technical Agility (TTA) competency describes the critical skills, principles, and practices that high-performing Agile teams on an Agile Release Train use to create high-quality solutions for their customers.
Team Flow describes a state in which Agile teams deliver a continuous flow of value to the customer.
The Team Sync is a short meeting (usually 15 minutes or less), typically held about daily, to inspect progress toward the team goals, communicate, and adjust upcoming planned work.
Team Topologies describes four organizational patterns that can be used for organizing Agile teams and ARTs.
Test-Driven Development (TDD)
Test-Driven Development (TDD) is a mindset and practice that builds and executes tests before implementing the code for a component or system.
TOWS Analysis is a thinking tool used in conjunction with a SWOT analysis to help identify strategic options for evolving a SAFe portfolio.
U-curve Optimization determines the optimal batch size by finding the point where the total of transaction costs and holding costs is the lowest.
Value Management Office (VMO)
The Value Management Office (VMO) is an organizational function responsible for facilitating the Lean Portfolio Management process and for fostering operational excellence and lean governance as part of a Lean-Agile transformation.
Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is a prioritization model used to sequence work for maximum economic benefit. In SAFe, WSJF is estimated as the relative cost of delay divided by the relative job duration.
Work in Process
Work in Process (WIP) represents the total active work items in a system.
The 5 Whys is a proven problem-solving technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem as part of Inspect and Adapt.