Leading SAFe Agilist 6.0 (Scaled Agile) Exam Notes Leading SAFe Agilist 6.0 (Scaled Agile) Exam Notes

Page content

If you are planning or preparing for Leading SAFe Agilist 6.0 (Scaled Agile Framework) certification then this article is for you to get started.


  1. Prepare well for the exam. Understand all SAFe concepts and you can crack it like me!
  2. Requires 1 to 3 weeks of preparation depending upon your commitment per day.
  3. You need to solve 45 questions (multiple choice = 1 answer and multiple select = 2-3 answers) in 90 mins from your laptop without any supervision. It is an open book online exam where you can search for the answers.
  4. Passing score is 36/45 (80%) means you should answer at least 36 (out of 45) questions correctly. No negative scoring so answer all the questions!
  5. You get the result (Pass or Fail) once you submit the exam.
  6. First attempt included in the course registration fee if taken within 30 days of course completion. Each retake or attempt past the 30-day window is $50
  7. You can download the Leading SAFe 6.0 Workbook after the course registration from https://community.scaledagile.com/
  8. Refer to the official Exam Details for more information.
  9. Refer to the official SAFe Website for exam material.

Exam Questions

Read Leading SAFe Agilist 6.0 (Scaled Agile) Exam Questions for free

Buy Leading SAFe Agilist 6.0 Questions with Answers and Explaination Leading SAFe Agilist 6.0 Questions with Answers and Explaination at a very reasonable price.

Practice Leading SAFe Agilist 6.0 Practice Exams with Answers and Explaination at Leading SAFe Agilist 6.0 Questions with Answers and Explaination

Exam Topics

  1. Lesson 1 - Digital Age and Business Agility (12-14%)
  2. Lesson 2 - Lean-Agile Leaders (29-33%)
  3. Lesson 3 - Team and Technical Agility (6-8%)
  4. Lesson 4 - Agile Product Delivery (29-33%)
  5. Lesson 5 - Lean Portfolio Management (12-14%)
  6. Lesson 6 - Leading the Change (6-8%)

Other Links to Refer:-

Exam Notes

Lesson 1: Digital Age and Business Agility

What are the different stages of the technological revolution?
Technological Revolution Installation Period Turning Point Deployment Period
Industrial Revolution 1771 1793-1801
Age of Steam and Railways 1829 1948-1850
Age of Steal and Heavy Engineering 1875 1890-1895
Age of Oil and Mass Production 1908 1929-1943
Age of Software and Digital 1971 2000-2010 We are here
  1. Installation Period – New technology and financial capital combine to create a ‘Cambrian explosion’ of new market entrants, disrupting entire industries from the previous age
  2. Turning Point – Existing businesses either master the new technology or decline and become relics of the last age
  3. Deployment Period – The Production capital of the new technological giants starts to take over

We are in the midst of one of those ages now, the deployment period of the age of software and digital.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/business-agility/

What is the Dual Operating System for Business Agility?

The primary goal of SAFe is to achieve Business Agility to succeed in the age of software and digital.

Achieving business agility using SAFe requires a dual operating system. This means embracing two seemingly contradictory approaches:-

  1. Functional Hierarchy: This represents the traditional organizational structure with established roles, departments, and processes. It provides stability, governance, and compliance.
  2. Value Stream Network: This refers to a more flexible and customer-centric network of teams and individuals who collaborate to rapidly deliver value. They focus on innovation, experimentation, and adaptation to market changes.

SAFe is a second operating system around the value of streams, without disrupting the existing functional hierarchy.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/business-agility/
Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/advanced-topic-balancing-the-dual-operating-system/

What are the four SAFe configurations that provide the right configuration for each Enterprise?
SAFe Configuration Provide Flows Provide Competencies
Essential SAFe Team Flow + ART Flow four competencies: Lean-Agile Leadership, Team and Technical Agility, Agile Product Delivery, and Continuous Learning Culture competencies
Large Solution SAFe Team Flow + ART Flow + Solution Train Flow Enterprise Solution Delivery and four essential competencies
Portfolio SAFe Team Flow + ART Flow + Portfolio Flow Organizational Agility, Lean Portfolio Management and four essential competencies
Full SAFe Team Flow + ART Flow + Solution Train Flow + Portfolio Flow All seven core competencies

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/safe/

What are the 7 SAFe core competencies to achieve business agility?
  1. Team and Technical Agility has 3 Dimensions:-
    -Agile Teams
    -Teams of Agile Teams (ART)
    -Built-In Quality
  2. Agile Product Delivery has 3 Dimensions:-
    -Customer Centricity and Design Thinking
    -Develop on cadence and release on demand
    -DevOps and the Continuous Delivery Pipeline
  3. Enterprise Solution Delivery has 3 Dimensions:-
    -Lean System Engineering
    -Coordinating Trains and Suppliers
    -Continually Evolve Live Systems
  4. Lean Portfolio Management has 3 Dimensions:-
    -Strategy & Investment Funding
    -Agile Portfolio Operations
    -Lean Governance
  5. Organizational Agility has 3 Dimensions:-
    -Lean-thinking People and Agile Teams
    -Lean Business Operations
    -Strategy Agility
  6. Continuous Learning Culture has 3 Dimensions:-
    -Learning Organization
    -Innovation Culture
    -Relentless Improvement - Inspect & Adapt (I&A) - Plan Do Check Adjust
  7. Lean-Agile Leadership has 3 Dimensions:-
    -Lean-Agile Mindset, Core Values, and SAFe Principles
    -Leading by Example
    -Leading Change

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/safe/

How to evaluate the progress toward business agility?

Measure and Grow is an approach SAFe enterprises use to evaluate progress towards Business Agility and determine improvement actions.

The three measurement to evaluate the progress of Business Agility are defined as follows:-

  1. Outcomes: Do our solutions meet the needs of our customers and the business?
  2. Flow: How efficient is the organization at delivering value to the customer?
  3. Competency: How proficient is the organization in the practices that enable business agility?

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/measure-and-grow/

Lesson 2: Lean-Agile Leaders

What is the Agile Manifesto?

Agile Manifesto uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan
    That is, while there is a value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/lean-agile-mindset/
Reference: https://agilemanifesto.org/

What are the 12 Agile Manifesto Principles?
  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/lean-agile-mindset/
Reference: https://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

What is Lean Thinking?

Lean Thinking is to deliver the maximum value (a solution) to the customer in the shortest sustainable lead time from the trigger (the identification of the need or opportunity) to the point at which the customer receives the value. The five principles of Lean thinking are:-

  1. Precisely specify value by product
  2. Identify the Value Stream for each product
  3. Make value flow without interruptions
  4. Let the Customer pull value from the producer
  5. Pursue perfection

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/lean-agile-mindset/

What are the four SAFe core values?

SAFe has the following four core values:-

  1. Alignment
  2. Transparency
  3. Respect for people
  4. Relentless improvement

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/safe-core-values/

What are the 10 SAFe Lean-Agile Principles?
  1. Take an economic view
    1. Deliver Early and Often
    2. Apply a Comprehensive Economic Framework:-
      -Operate Within Lean Budgets and Guardrails
      -Understand Solution Economic Trade-Offs: Development expense, Lead time, Product cost, Value, and Risk
      -Leverage Suppliers
      -Sequencing Jobs for Maximum Benefit: Weighted Shortest Job First (MSJF)
  2. Apply systems thinking
    1. The Solution Is a System
      -Optimizing a component does not optimize the whole system
      -For the system to behave well, teams must understand the intended behavior and architecture
      -The value of a system passes through its interconnections
      -A system can evolve no faster than its slowest integration point
    2. The Enterprise Building the System Is a System, Too
    3. Understand and Optimize the Full Development Value Stream
    4. Only Management Can Change the System
  3. Assume variability; preserve options
    -Flexible requirements and design, the Cone of uncertainty, set-based over point-based approach
  4. Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles
    -PDCA = Plan – Do – Check – Adjust, The shorted the cycles, the faster the learning
    -Integration points control product development and reduce risk
  5. Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems
    -Phase-gate milestones force design decisions too early, false-positive feasibility, they assume a point Solution exists, huge batches and long queues, centralized requirements and design.
    -Use Objective milestones instead, PI System Demos, continuous, cost-effective adjustments towards an optimum Solution)
  6. Make value flow without interruptions
    -Reduce batch size for higher predictability. Total cost = Holding cost + Transaction cost. Reducing transaction costs increases predictability, accelerates feedback, reduces rework, and lowers cost.
    -Little’s Law: Wq = Lq / Lambda, Average wait time = Average queue length / Average processing rate
  7. Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning
    Cadence – converts unpredictable events into predictable occurrences and lowers cost, makes waiting times for new work predictable, supports regular planning and cross-functional coordination, limits batch sizes to a single interval, controls injection of new work, provides scheduled integration points;
    Synchronization – causes multiple events to happen simultaneously, facilitates cross-functional trade-offs, provides routine dependency management, supports full system integration and assessment, provides multiple feedback perspectives
  8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers
    -Workers are most qualified to make decisions about how to perform their work
    -The workers must be heard and respected for management to lead effectively
    -Knowledge workers must manage themselves. They need autonomy
    -Continuing innovation must be part of the work, the tasks, and the responsibilities of knowledge workers.
    -Unlocking intrinsic motivation with autonomy, mastery, and purpose
  9. Decentralize decision-making
    Centralize – Infrequent, Long-lasting, Significant economies of scale
    Decentralize – Frequent, Time critical, Requires local information
  10. Organize around value
    -Value doesn’t follow silos
    -Organize around Development Value Streams.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/safe-lean-agile-principles/

What are the common properties of a flow-based system in SAFe?

As per #6 SAFe principle, Flow occurs when there is a smooth, linear, and fast movement of work product from step to step in a relevant value. All flow systems have 8 common properties:-

1. Work in process: There is always some work in process in the system; if there weren’t, there could be no flow of value.
2. Bottlenecks: In every flow system, one or more bottlenecks effectively limit the flow through the entire system.
3. Handoffs: Handoffs wouldn’t be necessary if one person could do all the work. But in any material flow system, different individuals and teams will have different skills and responsibilities. Each plays its part in moving a work item through the system.
4. Feedback: Customer and stakeholder feedback is integral to efficient and effective outcomes. Ideally, feedback happens throughout the entire process.
5. Batch: As any system has a finite capacity, all the work can’t be done at once. Therefore, work through the system occurs in batches designed to be as efficient as possible.
6. Queue: It all starts with a set of work items to be done. In addition, each value stream needs a prioritizing mechanism to sequence the work for the best value.
7. Worker: People do the critical work of moving work items from one state to another.
8. Policies: Policies are integral to flow. They may be local policies — like team-based policies that determine how a work item moves from step to step— or global policies like those that govern how work is performed within the company.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/make-value-flow-without-interruptions/

What are the eight flow accelerators for making value flow without interruptions?

As per #6 SAFe principle, Making value flow without interruptions can best be achieved by adopting the eight ‘flow accelerators’ described:-

#1 Visualize and Limit WIP: Kanban boards make excessive work-in-process (WIP) visible
#2 Address Bottlenecks: Bottlenecks reduce the flow of value through the value stream
#3 Minimize Handoffs and Dependencies: Excessive handoffs and dependencies made visible on the ART planning board
#4 Get Faster Feedback: Fast feedback is generally achieved by applying the basic Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) learning cycle
#5 Work in Smaller Batches: smaller batches reduce WIP by limiting the number of requirements, designs, code, tests, and other work items moving through the system at any point. Smaller batches go through the system faster and with less variability, fostering faster learning. Reducing batch size typically involves investment in automating the Continuous Delivery Pipeline
#6 Reduce Queue Length: Longer queue creates longer wait times, increased risk, more variability, lower quality, and less motivation. Reducing queue length decreases delays, reduces waste, increases flow, and improves predictability. It’s a requisite for faster service and a more consistent flow of value.
#7 Optimize Time ‘In the Zone’: Being ‘in the zone’ (also described as being in a ‘flow state’) is an engaged mental state of extreme focus on an activity where the work feels effortless and time passes quickly.
#8 Remediate Legacy Policies and Practices: such as Extraneous meetings, extra reporting, timesheet reporting, waterfall mindset, legacy compensation, obsolete standard, and mindset “we’ve always done it this way,” even when they are no longer fit for purpose.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/make-value-flow-without-interruptions/

What is centralized and decentralized decision-making?

As per #9 SAFe principle, It is important to balance centralized (take) and decentralized (delegate) decision-making. Simply put, the decision-maker can take a ‘centralized decision’ on behalf of those below them in the chain or ‘decentralize the decision’ by delegating to a level below.

Centralized decisions:- Infrequent, long-lasting, and provide significant economies of scale
Decentralized decisions:- Frequent, time-critical, and require local knowledge

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/decentralize-decision-making/

Lesson 3: Team and Technical Agility

What is an Agile team?
  • An Agile Team is a cross-functional group of typically ten or fewer individuals with all the skills necessary to define, build, test, and deploy increments of value to their customers.
  • Agile teams are optimized for communication and the continuous delivery of value to the customer.
  • Agile Teams visualize flow with SAFe Scrum or SAFe Kanban
  • Agile Team Events are:- Team Sync, Backlog Refinement, Iteration Review, Iteration Retro, Iteration Planning

The Agile Team’s responsibilities are:-

  1. Connecting with the Customer (led by PO)
  2. Planning the Work: ART Planning (PI Planning), Team planning using SAFe Scrum or SAFe Team Kanban, and refining the Team Backlog.
  3. Delivering Value: Frequently integrate and test, Sync with other teams in ART through ART Sync (includes Coach Sync and PO Sync), build continuous delivery pipeline, release frequently.
  4. Getting Feedback: with the help of PO and through System Demos
  5. Improving relentlessly: participate in ART’s joint Inspect & Adapt, address the problems as they occur

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/agile-teams/

What are the two specialty roles in Agile Teams?

The Agile Team contains two specialty roles:- Product Owner (PO) and Scrum Master/Team Coach (SM/TC).

  1. Product Owner (PO) responsibilities are:-
    • Connect with the customer
    • Contribute to the Vision and Roadmap
    • Manage and prioritize the Team Backlog
    • Support the team in delivering value
    • Get and apply fast feedback
  2. Scrum Master/Team Coach (SM/TC) responsibilities are:-
    • Facilitate SAFe Scrum (or SAFe Kanban) and PI planning
    • Supports Iteration Execution
    • Improves Flow
    • Build a high-performing team
    • Optimizes and improves the team and ART performance

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/agile-teams/

What are the four Team Topologies to Organize Agile Teams?

The four team topologies to organize Agile teams are as follows:-

  • Stream-aligned team is aligned to a single, valuable stream of work, empowered to build and deliver customer or user value as quickly, safely, and independently as possible without requiring handoffs to other teams to perform parts of the work.
  • Complicated subsystem team – is responsible for building and maintaining a part of the system that depends heavily on specialist knowledge. Most team members must be specialists in that area of expertise to understand and make changes to the subsystem.
  • Platform team – provide the underlying internal services required by stream-aligned teams to deliver higher-level services or functionalities, thus reducing their cognitive load.
  • Enabling team – helps stream-aligned teams acquire missing capabilities, usually around a specific technical or product management area.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/organizing-agile-teams-and-arts-team-topologies-at-scale/

What is Agile Release Train (ART)?
  • ART is a team of cross-functional Agile Teams and has the capabilities to define, build, validate, and release to deliver a continuous flow of value.
  • ART is a virtual organization of 5-12 teams (50-125+ individuals)
  • All the teams in ART are synchronized on a common cadence - a Program Increment (PI), aligned to a common mission via a single Program Backlog (ART Backlog).

Critical Roles in the ART are:-

  • Release Train Engineer (RTE) is a servant leader (chief scrum master) who facilitates ART execution, impediment removal, risk and dependency management, and continuous improvement.
  • Product Management is largely responsible for ‘what gets built,’ as defined by the Vision, Roadmap, and new Features in the ART Backlog. They work with customers, teams, and Product Owners to understand and communicate their needs and participate in solution validation.
  • System Architect is an individual or team that defines the system’s overall architecture. They work at a level of abstraction above the teams and components and typically define Non-functional Requirements (NFRs), major system elements, subsystems, and interfaces.
  • Business Owners are key stakeholders of the ART, with final responsibility for the business outcomes of the train.
  • Customers are the ultimate economic buyers or value users of the solution.

Other essential roles in the ART are:-

  • System Teams typically assist in building and maintaining development, continuous integration, and test environments.
  • Shared Services are specialists necessary for the success of an ART but cannot be dedicated to a specific train. They often include data security, information architects, site reliability engineering (SRE), database administrators (DBAs), and many more.

Three Sync events to keep ART on track:-

  • Coach Sync: focuses on executing the current PI, including risk, dependencies, progress, and impediments
  • PO Sync: manages the PI’s scope, reviews progress, adjusts priorities, and prepares for the following PI
  • ART Sync: usually replaces the Coach Sync and PO Sync for a particular iteration to reduce overhead. The ROAM board created during PI planning can be reviewed during the ART Sync. ART Planning board is used during ART sync to track and manage dependencies, ensuring they do not block other teams.

Other events in ART:-

  • PI Planning Each ART begins with the PI Planning using the PI planning board, the outcome is PI Objectives to be completed in the PI iteration.
  • System Demos Occur at the end of Iteration to receive feedback from stakeholders, business owners, and customers.
  • Inspect & Adapt Each PI concludes with I&A event for restrospection.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/agile-release-train/
Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/planning-interval/

What is Solution Train?
  • The Solution Train is the organizational construct used to build large solutions that require the coordination of multiple ARTs and Suppliers.

Critical Roles in the ART are:-

  • Solution Management defines and supports building desirable, feasible, viable, and sustainable large-scale business solutions that meet customer needs over the solution’s significant lifespan. They represent the customer and business needs of the ARTs.
  • Solution Architects define and communicate a shared technical and architectural vision across the Solution Train to help ensure the solution under development is fit for its intended purpose. They work with the ART’s System Architects to help guide their portion of the solution’s design.
  • Solution Train Engineer (STE) is the coach for the Solution Train, facilitating and guiding the work of all ARTs and suppliers. The STE works with Release Train Engineers (RTEs) to facilitate ART execution and coordinate delivery.
  • Suppliers are internal or external organizations that develop and deliver components, subsystems, or services, which help Solution Trains deliver solutions to customers e.g. contracting individuals and vendors or fixed contracts on development efforts.
  • Business Owners are key stakeholders of the Solution Train, with final responsibility for the business outcomes. They, along with Solution Train leaders, may also serve as business owners for the Solution Train’s ARTs.
  • Customers are the buyers of the solution and ultimately determine value. When delivering in a supply chain, customers work closely with Solution Management and other key stakeholders to define and adjust the solution’s vision, intent, and delivery roadmap.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/solution-train/
Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/supplier/

Lesson 4: Agile Product Delivery

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a customer-centric development process that creates desirable products that are profitable and sustainable over their lifecycle.

  • Understand the problem (activities: Discover, Define) - Use Personas to understand customers and Empathy Maps to identify with customers
  • Design the right solution (activities: Develop, Deliver) - Use Customer Journey Maps to design end-to-end customer experience, Story Maps to capture user workflows, build Prototypes for faster feedback.
  • Measure the success from these new ways: Desirable, Viable, Feasible, Sustainable

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/design-thinking/

What is ART, Solution Train, and Portfolio Backlog?
  • ART Backlog is a Kanban system to capture and manage Features by Product Management
  • ART Backlog also known as Program Backlog is holiding are of upcoming Features for a single ART
  • Solution Train Backlog is a Kanban system to capture and manage Capabilities by Solution Management
  • Portfolio Backlog is a Kanban system to capture and manage Portfolio Epics by Epic Owner and Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)
  • Portfolio Epics splits into Features or Capabilities
  • Capabilities split into Features
  • ART, Solution Train and Portfolio Backlogs are prioritized using Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)
  • ART and Solution Train Kanban Flow: Funnel, Analyzing, Ready, Implementing, Validating on Staging, Deploying to Production, Releasing, Done
  • Portfolio Kanban Flow: Funnel, Reviewing, Analyzing, Ready, Implementing, Done

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/art-and-solution-train-backlogs/
Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/epic/

What is a Feature?
  • Features are maintained in the ART Backlog
  • Feature are sized to fit in a Program Increment (PI) and delivered by a single Agile Release Train (ART)
  • Features are split into Stories and fit in one Iteration for one team
  • Features include a definition of Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF), a benefit hypothesis (to justify development cost) and Acceptance criteria (defined during program backlog refinement).
  • Features are prioritized using WSJF and the top 10 features are presented to the team during PI planning
  • Typically Product Management creates business features and System Architect creates enabler features

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/features-and-capabilities/

What is a Story?
  • Features are implemented by Stories
  • Stories are small increments of value that can be developed in days and are relatively easy to estimate
  • Features fits in one PI for one ART; Stories fits in one iteration for one team.
  • A Story Point is a relative number that represents: Volume, Complexity, Knowledge, and Uncertaity.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/story/

What is Capability?
  • Capabilities are maintained in the Solution Train Backlog
  • Capabilities are sized to fit in a Program Increment (PI) and delivered by multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs)
  • Capabilities include a Phrase, a benefit hypothesis and Acceptance criteria

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/features-and-capabilities/

How to prioritize Program Backlog for optimal ROI?

Using Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF). Give preference to jobs with a shorter duration and higher CoD.

         Cost of Delay (CoD)
WSJF = ----------------------- 
       Job Duration (Job Size)

CoD  = User-business  +      Time      +  Risk reduction and/or
          value          criticality      opportunity enablement

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/wsjf/

What is PI Planning and its events?
  • PI Planning stands for Program Increment Planning.
  • PI Planning sessions are regularly scheduled events held throughout the year where multiple teams within the same Agile Release Train (ART) meet to align to a shared vision, discuss features, plan the roadmap, and identify cross-team dependencies.
  • PI Planning is a 2 full day event that typically runs every 8-12 weeks (10 weeks typical). The two-day agenda is as follows:-
    Day 1
    08:00 - 09:00 Business Context
    09:00 - 10:30 Product/Solution Vision
    10:30 - 11:30 Architecture Vision and Development Practicies
    11:30 - 01:00 Planning Context and Lunch
    01:00 - 04:00 Team breakouts
    04:00 - 05:00 Draft Plan Review
    05:00 - 06:00 Management review and problem solving
    Day 2
    08:00 - 09:00 Planning Adjustment
    09:00 - 11:00 Team breakouts
    11:00 - 01:00 Final Plan Review and Lunch
    01:00 - 02:00 ART Risks
    02:00 - 02:15 Confidence Vote
    02:15 - ?? Plan Rework (if needed)
    When ready Planning Retrospective and moving forward
  • Primary Inputs to the PI Planning include: 1. Business context, 2. Roadmap & vision, and 3. Highest priority Features (typically top 10) of the ART backlog
  • Primary Outputs of the PI Planning include: 1. Committed PI objectives, and 2. ART planning board
  • Product Management provides the vision and backlog (typically represented by the top ten or so upcoming features) and owns the Feature priorities
  • Business Owner provides the business context and assigns business value (BV) to each PI Objective on a scale from 1 to 10
  • Development Teams own Story planning and high-level estimates
  • ART Planning Board is used for PI Planning showing: 1. Features, 2. Significant Dependency, and 3. Milestone or Event

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/pi-planning/

What are PI Uncommitted Objectives?

Uncommitted objectives are used to identify work that can be variable within the scope of a PI. The work is planned, but the outcome is simply not certain. Teams can apply uncommitted objectives whenever there is low confidence in meeting the objective. This can be due to many circumstances:

  • Dependencies with another team or supplier that cannot be guaranteed.
  • The team has little to no experience with functionality of this type. In this case the teams may plan ‘Spikes’ early in the PI to reduce uncertainty.
  • There are a large number of fairly critical objectives that the business is depending on and the team is already loaded close to full capacity.
What is Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration?
  • The Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration is a unique iteration that occurs every PI, which provides dedicated time for Innvoation and Planning where:-
    Innovation includes opportunity for innovation, hackathons, infrastructure improvements, continuing education, certifications, etc.
    Planning includes PI Planning Readiness, Inspect and Adapt (I&A), and PI Planning events, etc.
  • It provides an estimating buffer for meeting PI Objectives and sufficient capacity margin to enable cadence
  • Without the IP Iteration
    – Lack of delivery capacity buffer impacts predictability
    – Little innovation; the tyranny of the urgent
    – Technical debt grows uncontrollably
    – People burn out
    – No time for teams to plan, demo, or improve together

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/innovation-and-planning-iteration/

What is Inspect and Adapt (I&A) Event?
  • The Inspect and Adapt (I&A) is a significant event (Timebox: 3-4 hours) held at the end of each PI, where All ART stakeholders and Agile Team participate.
  • The I&A event consists of three parts:-
    PI System Demo (Timebox: 45-40 mins) - team demonstrate the current state of the solution
    Quantitative and qualitative measurement - Team PI performance report is created which includes team’s planned vs actual business value. Individual team totals are rolled up into the ART predictibility report.
    Retrospective and problem-solving workshop

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/inspect-and-adapt/

What is DevOps?
  • DevOps is a mindset, culture, and set of technical practices that supports the integration, automation, and collaboration needed to effectively develop and operate a solution.
  • It is a combination of Dev (Development) and Ops (Operations).
  • DevOps enable the Continuous Delivery Pipeline (CDP) to release on demand and deliver value whenever there is a business need

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/devops/

What is the CALMR approach to DevOps?

CALMR is a DevOps mindset that guides the ART toward achieving continuous value delivery by enhancing culture, automation, lean flow, measurement, and recovery.

  • Culture - Establish a culture of shared responsibility for development, deployment, and operations.
  • Automation - Automate the Continuous Delivery Pipeline.
  • Lean flow - Keep batch sizes small, limit WIP, and provide extreme visibility.
  • Measurement - Measure the flow through the pipeline. Implement full-stack telemetry.
  • Recovery - Architect and enable low-risk releases. Establish fast recovery, fast reversion, and fast fix-forward.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/calmr/

How to build a Continuous Delivery Pipeline with DevOps?
  • Continuous Exploration - Understand Customer needs - Hypothesize, Collaborate & Research, Architect, Synthesize
  • Continuous Integration – A critical technical practice of the ART - Develop, Build, Test End-to-End, Stage
  • Continuous Deployment – Getting to production early - Deploy, Verify, Monitor, Respond - Deploy to Staging every Iteration, Automate deployment, Automate testing of features and NFRs, Decouple deployment from release
  • Release on Demand - Release, Stabilize, Measure, Learn
What is Architectural Runway?
  • Architectural Runway is the existing code, hardware components, marketing branding guidelines, and other variables that enable near-term business Features.
  • Enablers build up the runway to support Features e.g. A single sign-on mechanism will enable sign-on in multiple applications.
  • Use capacity allocation (a percentage of the train’s overall capacity in a PI) for Enablers that extend the runway

Lesson 5: Lean Portfolio Management

What is SAFe Portfolio?
  • SAFe Portfolio is a collection of Development Value Streams for a specific business domain in an Enterprise.
  • An Enterprise may have a single portfolio or multiple portfolios
  • Each value stream can have multiple Solution trains and Agile release trains.
  • The portfolio canvas is a template for identifying a specific SAFe portfolio. One of the primary uses of the canvas is to record the current state of the portfolio

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/portfolio/

What is Lean Portfolio Management?

LPM provides an alignment and governance model for a specific portfolio, which contains a set of Development Value Streams (DVS) for a business domain in an Enterprise.

The three dimensions of LPM:-

  1. Strategy & Investment Funding ensures the entire portfolio is aligned and funded to create and maintain the solutions needed to meet business targets.
    Participants: Enterprise Executives, Business Owners, and Enterprise Architects
  2. Agile Portfolio Operations coordinates and supports decentralized ART execution and fosters operational excellence.
    Participants: Value Management Office (VMO), Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE), Release Train Engineer (RTE), and Scrum Master/Team Coach CoP
  3. Lean Governance supports oversight of spending, audit, compliance, expenditure, measurement, and reporting. Participants: Enterprise Executives, Business Owners, Value Management Office (VMO), and Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE)

The effective operation of the LPM function relies on three significant events:-

  • Stategic Portfolio Review event provides ongoing strategy, implementation, and budget alignment. This event focuses on achieving and advancing the portfolio vision. It’s typically held on a quarterly cadence, at least one month before the next PI Planning event, to enable value streams to prepare and respond to any changes,
  • Portfolio Sync event to review portfolio operational progress such as epic implementation, status of KPIs, addressing dependencies, and removing impediments. The portfolio sync is generally held monthly and may be replaced with the strategic portfolio review on a given month.
  • Participatory Budgeting (PB) is an LPM event in which a group of stakeholders decides how to invest the portfolio budget across solutions and epics.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/lean-portfolio-management/

What is Portfolio Epic?
  • Epics are defined at portfolio level, they are typically cross-cutting and spanning multiple Value Streams and PIs. There are two types:
    1. Business Epics directly deliver business value
    2. Enabler Epics support the Architectural Runway and future business functionality
  • Epics need a Lean business case, the definition of a minimum viable product (MVP), an Epic Owner, and approval by LPM.
  • Epics are described with four major fields:-
    • Epic Hypothesis Statement
    • Business Outcomes
    • Leading Indicators
    • Nonfunctional requirements (NFRs)

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/epic/

What is Portfolio Backlog?
  • The Portfolio Backlog is a Kanban system that is used to capture and manage the business and enabler epics intended to create and evolve the portfolio’s products, services, and solutions.
  • Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) is responsible for developing, maintaining, and prioritizing the Portfolio backlog.
  • Portfolio Epics are large (and typically cross-cutting initiatives) managed through the Portfolio Kanban.
  • Epic Owners take responsibility for the essential collaborations needed for this task
  • Enterprise Architects typically guide the enabler epics that support the technical considerations for business epics
  • The Epic Owner works with various stakeholders to split epics into Features and Capabilities.
  • Epic flows through the Portfolio Kanban from funnel to done as follows: Funnel, Reviewing, Analyzing, Ready, Implementing, Done
  • LPM uses the Lean Business Case during the portfolio sync to make a ‘Go/No-go’ decision. ‘Go’ confirms the epic is approved for implementation and sequenced using WSJF. ‘No-go’ moves the epic to done.
  • Epics in the analyzing state with the highest WSJF are pulled into the next state, Ready, as soon as space is available.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/portfolio-backlog/

What are Strategic Themes?
  • Strategic themes provide a mechanism to align the business objectives of an enterprise to SAFe portfolio.
  • Strategic themes influence portfolio strategy and provide business context for portfolio decision-making.
  • Strategic themes are direct inputs to the portfolio vision.
  • Strategic themes can be defined by a phrase or by using the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) template.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/strategic-themes/

What is Lean Budget?

Funding Value Streams, not projects. Expenses across a PI are fixed and easy to forecast

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/lean-budgets/

What is Participatory Budgeting?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is the process that Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) uses to allocate the total portfolio budget to its value streams.

The Enterprise provides a portion of its total budget to each portfolio. In turn, Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) allocates the portfolio Budget to individual Value Streams. The value streams fund the people and resources needed to achieve the current Portfolio Vision and Roadmap. Empowered Agile Release Trains (ART) advance Solutions and implement Epics approved by LPM.

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/participatory-budgeting/

Lesson 6: Leading the Change

How a leader lead by example?
  • Leader sets an example for others to follow
  • Insatiable learning: self-learning and self-motivated
  • Authenticity: models the desired professional and ethical behaviors
  • Emotional competence: idetify and manage their emotions and others
  • Courage: to guide and lead in rapidly changing dynamics of digital age
  • Growing others: by providing personal, professional, and technical guidance and resources
  • Decentralize decision-making: moves the authority for decisions to where the information is

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/lean-agile-leadership/

Keys to Leading successful change?
  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Build a guiding coalition
  3. Form a strategic vision
  4. Enlist a volunteer army
  5. Enable action by removing barrier
  6. Generate short-term wins
  7. Sustain acceleration
  8. Institute change

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/lean-agile-leadership/

What are the 13 steps of SAFe Implementation Roadmap?

Roadmap is a script of critical moves, which gives the best results when followed in same sequence to implement SAFe:-

  1. Reaching the Tipping Point
  2. Train Lean-Agile Change Agents
  3. Create a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence
  4. Train Executives, Managers, and Leaders
  5. Lead in the Digital Age
  6. Organize Around Value
  7. Create the Implementation Plan
  8. Prepare for ART Launch
  9. Train Teams and Launch ART
  10. Coach ART Execution
  11. Launch More ARTs and Value Streams
  12. Enhance the Portfolio
  13. Accelerate

Reference: https://scaledagileframework.com/implementation-roadmap/

Other SAFe Certification Exam Notes

Read SAFe Scrum Master SSM 6.0 Exam Notes

Read SAFe Product Owner/Producer Manager POPM 6.0 Exam Notes


Let’s do some comparisons within SAFe:-

Compare SAFe vs Scrum
SAFe Scrum
Iteration Sprint
Iteration Planning Sprint Planning
Iteration Review Sprint Review
Iteration Retrospective Sprint Retrospective
Program Increment (PI) Typically 5 Sprints
Program Increment Planning Planning for typically 5 Sprints
Cadence and Synchronization Velocity
Agile Team Scrum Team
Agile Release Train (ART) - Teams of Agile teams Teams of Scrum teams
Release Train Engineer Chief scrum Master
ART Sync Scrum of Scrum
Compare Agile Team vs Program vs Solution vs Portfolio
Comparison Agile Team Program Solution Portfolio
SAFe Configuration Essential Essential Large Solution Portfolio
Cycle Iteration Program Increment &
Agile Release Train
Solution Train
has multiple ARTs and suppliers
Value Stream
has multiple STs and ARTs
Time Box typically 2-weeks long typically 5 iteration long typically 5 iteration long -
Planning Iteration Planning PI Planning - -
Coordination Daily Standup ART Sync - -
Retro Iteration Retrospective Inspect & Adapt - -
Backlog Team Backlog Program Backlog Solution Backlog Portfolio Backlog
Backlog contains User Stories Features Capabilities Epics
Backlog provided by Product Owner Product Management Solution Management Epic Owners
Coordinator Scrum Master Release Train Engineer Solution Train Engineer
Architect - System Architect Solution Architect Enterprise Architect
Other Members Development &
Testing Team
Business Owners - -
Agile Methodology Kanban or Scrum/XP Kanban Kanban Kanban
Economic View Economic Framework Economic Framework Economic Framework Lean Budgets