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What’s New In SAFe 5.0 – Changes/Updates (Complete Guide)

  • SAFe
Created on :
February 5, 2020
Updated on :
October 27, 2022

What are the Changes?

  • 10th SAFe Principle Announced: Customer Centricity
  • Business Agility Introduced
  • SAFe big Picture Revealed
  • SAFe 5.0 Bring two new Core Competencies
    • Organizational Agility
    • Continuous Learning Culture

But before we learn what these changes in detail are, we need to understand why these changes are necessary.

Customer Centricity in SAFe 5.0

With this new version of SAFe, one of the primary shifts that have us excited is the customer-centric approach. The previous philosophy of just doing the agile as the primary objective has now been transformed for better to focus on everything about the customer. This version of SAFe 5.0 has this principle as the foundation: Satisfactory experience to the customer.

As seen in the Big Picture revealed by Scaled Agile (which we will see below), customers are now shown in the center of the framework which conveys that customers should always be put first and in the center of decision making. SAFe also recommended creating the ARTs around value streams, focusing more on what the customer is getting from the business.

The most important part of this newly revamped core competency is the design thinking process which now focuses first on understanding the needs of customers, thinking about their needs, customer lifetime value and then start building anything and not the opposite. Having a customer-centric approach “before building” anything will be the way to achieve customer-centricity.

                                 The chart below shows the design thinking model in practice:

Business Agility Introduced

One of the main things introduced in SAFe 5.0 is Business agility. This focuses more on creating value towards complete business/organizations rather than focusing on each department individually.

Business agility is defined as the capability to compete and grow in the digital era by rapidly changing and adapting to the market needs with constantly innovating solutions.

It requires everyone that is involved in delivering the solutions which include every department of the organization that is in some way contributing, to provide innovative and excellent quality services and solutions before the competition.

But what is the problem and How business agility solves it?

As said by Mik Kersten – The current way our organizations work is using the managerial framework and infrastructure from past revolutions. These frameworks are now being used to manage the organization in this digital era.

  • Enterprises start as customer-centric network a.k.a “the entrepreneurial network.”
  • As the organization succeeds, the entrepreneurial network runs alongside the newly formed “hierarchical structure” which is required as the organization wants to expand.
  • As the hierarchy grows to fulfill the organization’s revenue and growth needs, it starts to clash with the entrepreneurial network, which leads to network failure and customer-centricity getting lost in between.
  • However, this allows organizations to grow, but when a change in tech or customer requirement surface, companies cannot react and change.
  • Moving to the solution, instead of scrapping the current system, a second one “SAFe 5.0 Business Agility” can be implemented which allows focussing more on creating value streams, not just departments.

SAFe big Picture Revealed

  1. Organizational agility added as the new core competency
  2.  Continuous learning culture added as the new core competency.
  3. Business agility added as a new focus.
  4. Agile Product Delivery (Earlier DevOps and Release on Demand).
  5. Customer Centricity put to the center of the framework.
  6. Essential (Program & Team levels are now combined).

SAFe Online

SAFe 5.0 Bring two new Core Competencies

  • Organizational Agility
  • Continuous Learning Culture

Organizational Agility

One of the new core competencies introduced is the organization agility in SAFe 5.0 which explains how the business processes are to be optimized by agile teams and also quickly adapt and modify their strategies with the change in market trends and customer requirements.

This change is positive but also hard to implement keeping the current hierarchal structure placed in the organizations. It will require an essential change in the management staff of companies who can lead the vision & strategic plan based on data and modify the same plans when the data changes.

Continuous Learning Culture

The next new core competency, “the Continuous Learning Culture” is a set of values and practices that is one of the most important ones for organizations/companies to gain knowledge, performance and innovative solutions to stay ahead in the market. This will be achieved through becoming an organization that learns continuously, commit to improvement relentlessly and pushes innovation culture.


SAFe 5.0 brings the necessary changes that were needed for organizations to grow but also not lose their core focus, i.e. customers. With business agility, companies can now focus on creating value streams for their overall growth rather than each department individually.

The two new core competencies will allow the organizations to create a learning culture to promote constant improvement in innovative solutions, performance, and growth but also change or adapt strategies according to the change in market trends. Overall, SAFe 5.0 brings the main focus back into the picture without losing it in the hierarchical structure of organizations.