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SAFe for Government: Applying Agile Principles in Public Sector

Challenges for implementing SAFe in Public Sector

Using SAFe Agile in any sector can be tough but while implementing it in Government Sector organizations there are serious challenges to it. In-depth knowledge of the methodology is needed to efficiently implement SAFe for Government. The list of the challenges faced by the Government organizations is as follows-

  • Understanding the Agile approach- Agile SAFe has its own language, terminology and techniques to manage projects that can be difficult to grasp at the beginning.

  • Stringent rules and regulations- Government Sector employees have to work on strict norms as compared to the private employees. The methodology needs flexibility even in the rules and regulations and hence, it becomes difficult to make a balance.

  • Change in culture- This methodology is nothing like the traditional methods. This shift in working culture from traditional to modern approach is the biggest challenge for the employees to sustain in the organization.

  • Financial restraints- Professionals with certification of SAFe are highly paid around the globe but when it comes to public sector, their salaries are comparatively low. This is because of the budget restraints in the sector. Scaling the organization is also hard due to financial struggles.

  • Old tools and techniques- Implementing SAFe methodology needs updating tools and techniques to align with the process.

Steps to imply SAFe in Government Sector

There are a few steps that have to be taken cautiously for implementation of SAFe in public sector-

  • Set a goal and Long-term vision- Using and implementing Agile in Government sector can be tricky but if there is a clear vision and a long-term goal it makes everything easier.

  • Understanding Agile- A shift from traditional work culture to modern approach needs guidance. The employees have to be trained and coached about SAFe for working to their best capabilities.

  • Prioritize parts of project- In SAFe work is delivered in small packages, so the work should be divided and prioritized accordingly. This increases the focus and quality of work.

  • Customer involvement- Customer is actively involved during the process in Agile methodology. In Government sector the matter of transparency can be a barrier for customer involvement.

  • Resolving Problems- Any blockage or issue in the project should be resolved through team work.

  • Open to make changes- In Public sector usually the organization makes assumptions of what a customer requires. This makes the whole process rigid and unavailable to make changes. While adapting Agile principles the organization has to take customer reviews after completion of every part in order to make required changes.

Sectors using SAFe Agile

Initially Agile Methodology was launched for Software Development but it soon gained attention from other sectors as well for its approach. The types of industries that use SAFe to manage projects are-

  • Banking

  • Finance

  • Advertising

  • Marketing

  • Healthcare

  • Non-profits organization

  • Government Agencies

  • Engineering

  • Product Development

  • Aerospace Industry

  • Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Construction Industry


For adopting Agile Methodology the best option is SAFe for Government as it is well structured. SAFe gives the required agility to the projects keeping the limitations of the public sector in consideration.

What is Agile Methodology?

Agile Methodology is an iterative approach towards complex software development and project management. This method delivers value to the customers faster with simplified techniques. Its main focus is to deliver good quality of product and satisfy the customers. Just as the name suggests the methodology is flexible in nature and makes changes as and when required. There are many frameworks that help implement the Agile principles-

  • Scrum

  • SAFe

  • Extreme Programming

  • DSDM

  • Feature Driven Development

  • Kanban

  • Crystal

Principles of Agile

There is a set of 12 principles that make the base of Agile Methodology-

  • Early and continuous delivery of valuable software

  • Embracing change

  • Frequent delivery

  • Cooperation among teams

  • Autonomy and motivation in the teams

  • Better communication within the team

  • Working software

  • Stable working environment

  • Quality assurance

  • Simplicity

  • Self-organizing teams

  • Reflection and adjustment

What is SAFe?

SAFe or Scaled Agile Framework is one of the best scaling framework for Lean and Agile principles. The organizations who want to implement Agile principles across teams can use SAFe for efficient results. It is a set of organizational and workflow patterns that help to implement Agile principles at large scale.


1. What are the four levels of SAFe?

The four levels of SAFe are-

  • Team

  • Program

  • Large solution

  • Portfolio

2. Why do organizations use SAFe?

There are many benefits of using SAFe-

  • Increase in productivity

  • Resolves issues

  • Helps in scaling Agile

  • Continuous improvement

3. What are the phases of Agile Methodology?

There are 6 phases of Agile-

  • Concept

  • Inception

  • Iteration

  • Release

  • Maintenance

  • Retirement

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