What’s new in SAFe 5? How about Operational Value Streams as first-class citizens?


Hello Folks,

The team thought it would be helpful to bring attention to a couple of the newest elements in SAFe. I got the first slot, to talk about the substantial changes to operational (this post) and development (next post) value streams in SAFe 5.

Operational value streams (OVS) have been in SAFe for years, but they never been elevated to be an icon on the BP.

Now they are.

We tucked them up there in the Business Agility bar, because, well, that’s what they help deliver. By elevating them this way, we can start to exploit that clickable area and advance the science bit by bit. A first step in this process is illustrated in the figure below, where we are highlighting some standard types of OVS patterns that we have observed in the field.

This helps the dev community organize their Development Value Streams around value as the operational value streams they serve are more explicit. (more on that in a future post)  And the focus on Customer-Centricity is also more explicit, as so many of our customers live within— rather than at the end—of the OVS.


More to come on this channel.

Stay tuned and stay SAFe!


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 (3)

  1. Aleksander Wyka

    24 Feb 2021 - 5:55 am

    If you start to show OVS (operational value streams) then it would be a good idea to show also Business Capabilities (see video about the guide from TOG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epQ09u9hUCw) as capabilities are serving value stream stages. See also https://bizzdesign.com/blog/archimate-3-1-the-new-version-of-the-standard/ for an example of a model

  2. Rodney Tredoux

    22 Feb 2021 - 5:11 pm

    Context: In Australia there is a new and current trend to use Iteration Manager. I understand IM and SM are the same. IM originates from XP. Looking for SAFe definition please.

    • Marc Rix

      05 Mar 2021 - 10:57 am

      Hi, Rodney. The Scrum Master label, as one would suspect, is specific to Scrum, whereas the Iteration Manager label is meant to apply to any type of Agile team. Since SAFe is aligned to Scrum at the team level, we do not specifically define the IM role in the framework. But you’re right. The responsibilities of Scrum Masters and Iteration Managers are virtually equivalent.

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