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The Four Configurations of SAFe

SAFe is a truly Agile system that can be scaled and configured to provide solutions to a wide range of problems. It offers four main setups out of the box that each have their own strengths. These are:

Essential SAFe

This is the foundation on which the other configurations are built and is the most accessible form of SAFe with the least amount of artifacts, events and roles needed to operate and Agile system.

It uses the Agile Release Train (ART) structure to organise and enhance business flow, which can even be used in remote or international business environments.

Large Solution SAFe

A more advanced configuration that offers a wider range of practices, roles and guidance for more complex solutions. It builds upon Essential SAFe with the enterprise solution delivery competency, allowing those who use several ARTs and suppliers to achieve more intricate results without requiring assistance on the portfolio front. It is often used by locomotive, government, aerospace and defence organisations.

The Solution Train used here synchronizes the efforts of multiple ARTs and suppliers, allowing larger-scale businesses to incorporate Agile practices.

Portfolio SAFe

A more minimal configuration compared to Large Solution SAFe, this adds the Lean portfolio management, organizational agility and continuous learning culture to Essential SAFe.

The advantage of this setup is the focus on portfolio execution; enterprise strategy and organization are developed around one or more value streams while assisting portfolio strategy and investment funding. Through Lean management and Agile portfolio operations, the value stream and ARTs are guided toward achieving the required results with the suitable level of investment.

Full SAFe

The largest and most encompassing configuration used by the largest companies, which includes all seven core competencies. It may incorporate several smaller configurations of SAFe running alongside it.

For more information on accessing SAFe and learning about which configuration is right for you, contact Arvind at The Agile Works at

(Sourced from SAFe Distilled: Achieving Business Agility With the Scaled Agile Framework by Knaster & Leffingwell)

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