New Advanced Topic Article – Using Human-Centered Design With SAFe

New Advanced Topic Article – Using Human-Centered Design With SAFe


I am excited to announce the arrival of our latest advanced topic article. This one comes to us from Joe Montalbano and Brad Lehman, two members of the SAFe community who have been integrating human-centered design (HCD) activities in creative ways into the Agile way of working.

The article begins by revealing growing interest in HCD as a mechanism for ensuring customer-centricity in product development. However, as yet another specialized function, HCD can be difficult to infuse seamlessly into established delivery cultures. Joe and Brad then explain that HCD and SAFe complement each other well and offer several tips to ease their integration.

SAFe’s Continuous Delivery Pipeline, for example, offers several such integration points. Applied in Continuous Exploration, HCD reinforces the design thinking process through discovery, ideation, and concept validation activities. This enhances IT-Business alignment and produces backlog items with high quality, testable acceptance criteria. HCD can also be applied in Release on Demand activities, where it spurs “continuous evaluation” of the quantitative and qualitative feedback that fuels the build-measure-learn cycle.

The article’s most interesting reveal is arguably the research roadmap (Figure 1). Inspired by SAFe’s Architectural Runway concept, the research roadmap enables HCD practitioners to anticipate future design needs of the ART and sequence the delivery of exploratory enablers. These enablers produce HCD insights and artifacts that then can be consumed on-demand by downstream teams.

Figure 1. The HCD Research Roadmap

Thanks to Joe and Brad for these, and many more, insights. Please enjoy the full article here. And if you have experience applying HCD in SAFe environments, please share what you have learned in the comments!



Author Info

Marc Rix

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