Why Your SAFe® Transformation Should Adopt a Capability-Based Model

The SAFe Big Picture lays out all the things needed to go through a SAFe transformation. The level of depth behind the SAFe Big Picture makes you feel like if you implement all the processes, events, and roles you’ll be Agile. However, what SAFe actually does is provide a menu of options that you need to understand how to apply in order to get to your desired outcome. A capability-based model can help you make sense of the options and identify which items will impact your business goals.

A graphic showing how implementing Agile practices during a SAFe transformation will not automatically impact the business goals you are trying to achieve.

Here are three benefits of using a capability model in your SAFe transformation.

1. Visualize Progress In One Place

Assessing your transformation at a capability level allows you to visualize progress across various frameworks, change approaches, and org, system, and team levels. These visualizations of your entire transformation will help tell the transformation story to stakeholders.

2. Measurable Business Impacts

Tie your transformation to why you set out on this journey in the first place. By keeping what business outcomes you are trying to achieve at the forefront, you can assess progress and focus on building the capabilities that will lead to results. Instead of measuring the number of release trains, story points completed, or other vanity metrics, assess how the capabilities you are building are impacting your larger business outcomes.

3. Prioritize What to Work On

A capability-based model tied to business outcomes makes it easier to prioritize what to work on. With guidance from an outcomes-focused, capability-based model, you can make sense of the items in the SAFe Big Picture and focus on what will impact your bottom line.


Instead of focusing on implementation and hoping your organization will get faster, better, and more cost-efficient, consider using a capability model to focus your transformation on the capabilities you are building. Path to Agility is a capability model that will tie your SAFe transformation to the business outcomes you are striving to achieve.

An image showing How Path to Agility business outcomes connect to Path to Agility Capabilities and to various implementation approaches.

As shown in the graphic above, various implementation approaches all feed into the capabilities that will lead to your desired outcomes. Path to Agility is a level above your scaling framework, it helps manage your transformation by enabling you to visualize and track progress holistically across your organization.

If you’d like to assess the capabilities your organization is building and visualize how they are impacting your overall business goals, our team would love to talk to you.

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