Putting it Together: FLEX and SAFe®

There are two ways to use FLEX to both enhance and simplify SAFe. One entails focusing on replacing SAFe’s levels above the program level with FLEX’s Strategic Planning and Lean Portfolio Management and with FLEX’s Lean Product Management. Using MBIs (and when appropriate MVPs and MVRs) greatly simplifies the entire process of identifying, sizing and sequencing the work to be achieved. And it creates greater visibility on why its important which helps create greater alignment.

The second approach is introduce the concepts of flow into the program level.  The method for doing that will be on put on the Net Objectives portal at a later time.

Before showing a solution to this, contrast SAFe and FLEX as shown in figure 1.

Figure 1: FLEX and SAFe

Most people who are having success with SAFe are mostly using SAFe at the program level. This part of SAFe can work reasonably well although it still has longer range planning than needed. But, if you are having success with it, there is no reason to change it out. Simply overlay FLEX’s portfolio and product management methods on top of SAFe’s program level as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Using FLEX’s Portfolio and Product Management methods on top of SAFe’s Program level

FLEX’s use of a combination of MBIs, MVPs and MVRs provides the concepts that SAFe attempts to achieve with its blend of Epics, MVPs, MMFs and Solutions. However, since FLEX is based on the value stream its concepts apply equally well regardless of scale. SAFe’s portfolio and product management model requires additional roles and concepts as scale increasing.