Complete Guide to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Principles

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) offers many benefits to growing organisations, more specifically to improving operational efficiency. Discover more about SAFe and how we can help you implement the principles here.

21 November 2022

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As a business owner, you should always be looking for ways to improve your organisation and the way you work.

You can’t wing it and hope for the best or you risk not reaching your goals in the long run.

Instead, you need a plan and an approach that works.

One option is to turn to and implement the Scaled Agile Framework principles.

Having a robust strategy in place is vital to the success of your business and organisation.

In doing so you can work more efficiently and be more productive within your company walls.

This framework is based on proven organisational change management strategies and the truth is that it works and you will see positive results.

While the transformation won’t happen overnight or instantly, if you’re patient and do it right then you will benefit from the agile framework.

What is Scaled Agile Transformation?

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is a set of organisational and workflow patterns for implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale.

This framework is a body of knowledge that offers well-thought-out guidance on roles and responsibilities.

You can work smarter and get more done by planning and managing the work most effectively while also upholding your values.

The three primary bodies of knowledge are agile software development, lean product development, and systems thinking.

As your business grows, this will offer a structured approach for scaling agile.

Here we’ll dive deeper into the scaled agile framework principles so you get a better idea of what it all entails and the changes you should plan on making.

Taking an Economic View

There must be an all-encompassing understanding of the economic implications of delays.

Although it’s good to deliver early and often, sometimes this isn’t enough.

Everyone needs to share the responsibility of working within lean budgets and understanding economic trade-offs.

Apply Systems Thinking

Another principle within the scaled agile framework is to apply systems thinking.

It should be applied in three primary areas which include the solution itself, the enterprise building the system, and the value streams.

All team members need to understand how their part fits into and aligns with the bigger picture.

You must aim to ensure you’re optimising the way your teams work which means breaking down silos and becoming cross-functional.

Team Leader thinking about the scaled agile framework in front of a room of colleagues

Assuming Variability & Preserving Options

Designing software and systems is always an uncertain process.

Therefore, this principle works to improve design-making via set-based design that helps during times of uncertainty.

The main focus is to pinpoint and predict the intended outcome like that of a strategic bet.

You can produce the best possible outcome by learning over time what works and ultimately eliminating choice which creates a better path forward.

Build Incrementally with Fast, Integrated Learning Cycles

This principle is comparable to and aligned with the previous principle.

Through learning milestones, you and your teams can properly address risk and uncertainty.

The whole system must be taken into account to evaluate the practicability of the current design choices.

Here the plan-do-check-adjust cycle comes into play so that you can establish continuous quality improvement and have a mechanism for controlling the variability of the development.

Base Milestones on Objective Evaluation of Working Systems

You can build trust with stakeholders by demonstrating an actual working system.

This is better for decision-making than a surface evaluation of success.

Visualise and Limit Work in Progress (WIP), Reduce Batch Sizes, and Manage Queue Lengths

This principle is all about implementing flow to create giant possibilities.

With this approach, you can see exactly how the work is playing out.

There should be constant validation that the work or project is heading in the right direction and this principle is in place to eliminate overlap of work using small batch size evaluations.

Apply Cadence, Synchronize with Cross-Domain Planning

It’s all about creating cadence for all relevant matters.

In doing so, you can address uncertainty and reduce complexity.

When everyone is in sync and on the same page you get the results you desire.

It works in that learned information informs decisions and incremental planning.

Unlock the Intrinsic Motivation of Knowledge Workers

This is the eighth principle of the scaled agile framework and is a favourite among many.

You are aiming to produce a command-and-control mindset through leaders in which you are able to unleash the potential of your teams.

You must have collaboration among teams and departments.

Decentralised Decision Making

Essentially, teams require autonomy to get the job done right and well.

Decentralising decision-making is one way to do this.

However, leaders should preserve their decision-making authority on certain topics, while allowing teams to make their own kind of informed decisions on everything else.

How We Can Help

Here at 1ovmany, we specialize in agile transformation for companies like yours and can help your organisation and teams implement the scaled agile framework principles successfully.

We can either do so as a co-partner or as part of a fully managed service.

What sets us apart from the rest? We are a team of highly experienced coaches, who are all familiar with multiple sectors and organisational sizes.

This way you can be certain that we will design a transformation suited to you and your culture, and your goals.

With a clearly defined strategy in place, you will receive and experience excellent results.

Our team is always professional in every interaction and very responsive.


These are the scaled agile framework principles that will help you unlock intrinsic motivation and create more agile teams.

Through economic view, decentralized decision-making, and fast integrated learning cycles, among others, you and your organization will be able to achieve more and do so more quickly.

Through greater performance, productivity, and effectiveness, you and your teams will see better results.

It is a lot of information and knowledge to take in and implementing these agile transformation principles isn’t always easy.

That’s where we come in...

We make the process of applying these principles at your company painless and seamless.

Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help your business succeed in this area and ensure a positive outcome.

1ovmany Communications Team

About the author

1ovmany Communications Team

We help organisations reach their full potential through continuous and sustainable transformation in customer delivery and product excellence

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