Instantiation and Tailoring in Applied SAFe®

As you can imagine, within organizations each team has its own practices, configurations, work products, etc. in place which are different than other teams. Whether we’re looking at a hardware team or a pure software team, there are different needs within the processes that have to be addressed. Applied SAFe allows teams to have the capability to have their own tailored version which really reflects what they are doing. Tailoring is done on all levels of Portfolio, Large Solution, Program, and Team by the Scrum Master, RTE’s, etc. and it’s for the end-users.

You have the possibility to:

  • Use prebuilt tailoring options in Applied SAFe to execute specifically tailored processes which reflect the exact needs on all levels. This allows you to reduce waste and save money
  • Exact tailored processes allow you to control and steer process adherence by using existing metrics
  • Decide on an instance-basis on which version you will continue to work in; this allows long-running programs to continue working in their well-established processes even though there is a newer version used by another program.

All of this is possible with instantiation and tailoring within Applied SAFe. The following sections explain this in detail.


The sections below contain screen shots of the actual implementation of Applied SAFe®, they serve as testimonials of what the product looks and feels like.

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Instantiation Introduction – Different uses of SAFe Levels

You can apply different instances to refine and better structure your processes models in 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.

With Applied SAFe you can tailor your organization’s processes to your specific needs and become more efficient. You will be 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
Program Tailoring Assistant

Instantiation Concept – Applied SAFe Instantiation Levels

Applied SAFe is structured into five separated levels:

  1. Enterprise
  2. Portfolio
  3. Large Solution
  4. Program
  5. Team

If you look at the model to the right 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 will have several Teams in one Program.

Instantiation Model_5.0

Instantiation Example – The Swiss Banking Institute

With Applied SAFe you can structure your organizational setup hierarchically, similar to a filing system. Nodes can be set up within this structure. Each node is referred to in our terminology as a workspace; the hierarchical tree that is created is known as the workspace tree.

Workspaces represent different kinds of nodes such as:

  • Development projects
  • Process models
  • Organizational units (for example company divisions, departments).

This example shows the instantiation of a Swiss Bank with several Portfolios, each Portfolio can include Large Solution (e.g. Reference Data) or only Programs (e.g. CIF) or a mix of both (e.g. Street Side, Market Data). Programs may include a number of teams.

Tailoring Concept – Assisted Process Tailoring

Applied SAFe comes with predefined and editable assisted tailoring which allows tailoring ‘out-of-the-box’ to specific needs of the company, portfolio, programs, and teams.

The assisted tailoring is built upon a hierarchical question tree as shown in the figure on the right. As you can see, a Process Model consists of an infinite number of nested Process Elements and some Tailoring Questions. Depending on your answer there will be follow-up questions asked or some of the Process Elements will be added or removed. It is common, that a tailoring question can influence Processes, Roles, Activities, Work Products, Pictures, parts of the text in a description or all together in one.

Applied SAFe also provides predefined compliance mappings to CMMI, IEC 62 304, Automotive SPICE 3.0, and more! If the tailoring violates a requirement as defined in a compliance mapping to an existing reference model; a warning will be displayed.

Of course, these tailoring options can be changed by the LACE Team.

In the video below we demonstrate and explain possibilities on how to tailor Applied SAFe. The underlying tailoring mechanisms are shown, as well as, the effects on running instances with its specific process variations of one organizational process.


Tailoring Example – Pre-built tailoring in Applied SAFe®

By using pre-built automating tailoring have the chance to scale up to the full power of Applied SAFe. Make use of different possibilities like:

  • Allow coordinating the Program Backlogs of several ART‘s for a Value Stream on Portfolio.
  • Allow ART‘s to run their own Program Epic KANBAN.
  • Set up a portfolio and its sub-instances either in a 3-Level or 4-Level SAFe configuration.

Need to prove compliance? No problem!

As an option, we offer compliance mapping(s) to existing reference models (ASPICE, ISO 26262, IEC 62304, CMMI, AS9100, ISO 9000, etc.). By going through the tailoring assistant and answering a few questions (such as the example on the right) you can ensure that your team will have lean processes in place with compliance in tact. Our goal is to have your team members not think about compliance, just by following their tailored processes they will automatically be compliant with your specific regulations.

Tailoring – Metrics on Tailoring Options

Predefined tailoring is extensively used within Applied SAFe® with over 450 options available. We have seen that team acceptance and effectivity is much higher if they get a process instance that fits their concrete problem space and eliminates all other unnecessary content.

You can also differentiate between different SAFe Configurations, where the Program level includes, for example, the solution and release management in a Portfolio SAFe setup whereas in Full SAFe this is managed on the Large Solution level.

Updated 5.0 Tailoring Metrics

Ready to unlock the key to your Digital Transformation?

Get more information on PEDCO Applied SAFe features, scaled agility, and compliance.