SAFe Enterprise Backlog Structure and Management

SAFe Enterprise Backlog Structure and Management

SAFe Updates

Hi Folks,

Good news is that SAFe is an effective, freely-revealed, and (deep) knowledge repository for Lean-Agile development at enterprise scale.

Bad news is that, given the just-in-time and just-for-me random access nature of the knowledge base, it has a hard time ‘telling its own story.’ In other words, even with the Big Picture, it isn’t always obvious how the various pieces and parts work together to create the full system that makes SAFe actually work. One of those critical areas is how the system description artifacts—Stories, Features, Capabilities, and Epics—work together to align the portfolio to a common purpose. Not to mention who-does-what-and-when to make sure the various backlogs are always shipshape.

New SAFe SPCT and now SAFe Contributor, Charlene M. Cuenca of Icon Technology, (congratulations Charlene!) took the time to put this story together. She uses it in her trainings and we asked her to share it with us.  She has now done so in the form of the new Advanced Topic article SAFe Enterprise Backlog Structure and Management. (Note: you can also access it from the handy new ‘Advanced Topic’ widget on the home page. And yes, for those who notice such things, we changed the name ‘Guidance Articles’ to ‘Advanced Topics’.)

Here’s an intro in the author’s own words:

“To achieve successful program execution, organizations need an efficient system that defines the backlogs of the value to be delivered, the roles that manage them, and the proper timelines for refinement at every level of SAFe … this article illustrates how to connect the levels to enable ‘continuous Program Increment (PI) readiness.”

An here’s an image to give you a further idea of the value she provides in this article.

But in order to learn more, you’ll need to read the article.

Thanks Charlene and stay SAFe!

– Dean and the Framework Team

Author Info

Dean Leffingwell

Recognized as the one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices, Dean Leffingwell is an author, entrepreneur, and software development methodologist.

comment (4)

  1. Sharmila

    14 Nov 2017 - 7:55 am

    Charlene’s white-paper is a really nice summary of organizing work in different implementations. I think it’s still missing one piece – guidance on structuring work in an Essential implementation where Features could span multiple PIs. Would you create Feature-categories/Feature-EPICs? Example “Auto-diagnostic feature in a production (will include 100s of specific diagnostics)” could span multiple PIs. What’s your suggestion on structuring work around this?

    • Richard Knaster

      14 Nov 2017 - 9:13 am

      Hi Sharmila:

      If you are using the Essential SAFe configuration it means that you are not using the constructs of the portfolio level. Features should be sized to fit into a Program Increment (PI) so that each PI delivers new value. If you need to structure work that will span multiple PIs, then use a program epic when using the Essential SAFe configuration.

      I hope this answers your questions.

      Richard Knaster, SAFe Fellow and Methodologist

      Read more:
      Read more:

  2. Erik

    14 Nov 2017 - 2:33 am

    Thanx for a great article! It it correct to assume that by LOB you mean BO, Epic Owner, Customer and other stakeholders?

    • Richard Knaster

      14 Nov 2017 - 9:05 am

      HI Erik:

      Correct, LOB means ‘Line of Business.’ Typically Business Owners might be the head of a LOB, Product Managers, System Architects, Customers, Epic Owners, and other stakeholders depending on the context.

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