Instantiation in Applied SAFe

Did you know that you can apply different instances to refine and better structure your process models within Applied SAFe?

With instantiation each individual portfolio, program, and all the teams have the capability to have their own tailored version which really reflects what they are doing. As you can imagine working with different teams, each team has its own different practices, configurations, work products, etc. in place. 

With Applied SAFe you can tailor your organization’s processes to your specific needs and become more efficient. You are able to:

  • Control and steer process adherence
  • Decide on instance-basis which version you will work in
  • Maintain compliance with regulatory requirements of each process instance

This video will give you a walkthrough of the instantiation option in Applied SAFe and how it works:

Applied SAFe is structured into five separated levels as described below. As mentioned, the contents of each workspace are visible to the contained workspace; this means, for example, that programs and teams of a given portfolio will all see the same business epics of the given portfolio. Other programs from other portfolios will see other business epics.

  1. Enterprise
    This level holds all common information about training, organizational deployment and implementation of Applied SAFe within a company. Normally, you will only find one instance of this level. You will also find information about what strategic enterprise process areas are expected or how they could be organized. It also contains all practices used within all four levels as an overview.
  2. Portfolio
    Portfolio is the highest level of the SAFe, where programs are aligned to the enterprise business strategy along Value Streams.  In larger enterprises, there may be multiple program portfolios, one for each instance of SAFe, each having its own strategy, funding and PPM fiduciaries.
  3. Large Solution
    The Large Solution Level contains the roles, artifacts and processes needed to build large and complex solutions. This includes a stronger focus on capturing requirements in Solution Intent, the coordination of multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and Suppliers, and the need to ensure compliance with regulations and standards. The Large Solution Level is meant for enterprises that face the biggest challenges—building large-scale solutions that are beyond the scope of a single ART to develop. Building these solutions requires additional roles, artifacts, events, and coordination.
  4. Program
    The Program level is where funding for personnel and other resources are applied to some important, long-lived, enterprise mission.  In the SAFe enterprise, most programs are a one for one relationship with an Agile Release Train, each following the funding, governance and incremental development patterns of the ART to deliver their portion of a Value Stream. In this case, ARTs are generally very long-lived, and therefore have a more persistent structure and mission than a traditional “program”, which more classically has a start and end date.
  5. Team
    The SAFe TeamProgram and Portfolio levels provide organizational abstractions with roles and practices intended to guide agility in large software enterprises. However, the Team Level – which provides an organization, artifact, role, and process model for the activities of Agile teams – is really a transparent partition of the Program Level, as there are no ARTs that don’t have teams, and all SAFe teams are on one ART. Each Agile Team is responsible for Defining/Building/Testing user stories from their team backlog in a series of fixed-length iterations (sprints), using common sprint cadence and synchronization to align with other teams and providing regular and forced integration points for the system (the system, not just the teams, must be sprinting). Teams use Scrum and Scrumban project management practices, and extended, XP-inspired, technical practices to routinely deliver high-quality code. In SAFe, it contains a derivative of SCRUM, this is also the case for Applied SAFe. This level is built that way, that also other life cycles could be used within a program. E.g. Iterative, Kanban, V-Model, DAD, or Waterfall.

If you look at the model with the various configurations you will see they are a simplification of SAFe. In reality, we have a model where we have enterprise, and each enterprise can have zero or several portfolios and as soon as you have a Portfolio it will consist of at least several Programs. If you have a Large Solution configuration it will be existing out of one or several Programs. It is always true that we have several Teams in one Program.

This all leads to a hierarchical tree (as pictured below).

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