KPIs and OKRs in SAFe – A new and more complete story

KPIs and OKRs in SAFe – A new and more complete story

SAFe Updates

Hello Folks,

While it was a bit behind the scenes in SAFe 5.0, (you had to click to see it!) we added the Objective and Key Result (OKR) technique to Strategic Themes as a way to add some more specificity to the connection between enterprise strategy and portfolio vision. I’m a fan of OKRs because “the more alignment you have the more autonomy you can grant” (Stephen Bungay).

But up to now, our treatment of the related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) big picture object, which anchors the Value Stream to its business mission, was pretty light. While they’ve always been there as a way to close the loop from Lean budgeting through Lean portfolio governance, we’ve never opined on where they come from or how to define them. (To steal and hack a phrase I heard from Luke “Mommy, where do KPIs come from?’). Better addressing KPIs was on the backlog for SAFe Version 5, but we scope-managed it out to make sure we hit the committed 5.0 release date.


No worries, while we don’t change the Big Picture very often, we do practice continuous delivery of new value behind the BP. To that end we’ve developed a new KPI  article and vetted it internally; it is now live here: Key Performance Indicators.

As always, comments are welcome.

Stay SAFe (never been truer than now!),

—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. Ammon

    23 Mar 2020 - 11:13 am

    Hi to Dean, my old friend and partner. I hope all is going very well. My fond regards to Becky.

    • Harry Koehnemann

      24 Mar 2020 - 12:03 pm

      Thanks Ammon, ping me!

  2. Miriam Cohen

    15 Mar 2020 - 1:01 pm

    Hello SAFe Team,

    Please note that the link to “Key Performance Indicators” article is missing. Although I did a search, I could not find an article by this name.


    • Harry Koehnemann

      16 Mar 2020 - 9:38 am

      Hi Miriam. Thanks for catching that missing link to the KPI article. FYI, instead of searching, you can directly access that article from the KPI’s icon in the Big Picture’s Portfolio level.

      All the best,

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