Scaled Agile Framework: Using TFS to support epics, release trains, and multiple backlogs whitepaper

Gregg Boer

EDITED: 6/20/2018. See below.

We are pleased to publish the following whitepaper: Scaled Agile Framework: Using TFS to support epics, release trains, and multiple backlogs.

The Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe, is gaining popularity among organizations looking to scale Agile practices to the enterprise level. SAFe is a comprehensive framework, covering practices from portfolio level planning to release planning to coding practices.

While TFS does not provide full support for all SAFe practices, TFS can be used to implement many of the planning practices. This whitepaper provides practical guidance on how to implement SAFe practices using TFS. It covers the following topics:


The first two sections are conceptual and provide a quick overview of how TFS supports SAFe.

The last two sections are guidance and provide detailed steps for the TFS Administrator to configure and customize TFS to support SAFe.

The last section, “Customize TFS process to support SAFe”, details the changes to our Scrum, Agile, and CMMI process templates which enable SAFe support. Our goal is not to create a SAFe Process Template, but modify existing process templates to enable SAFe practices. The changes are minimal and don’t encumber teams who choose not to use SAFe.

Eventually, we will update our templates to include these changes “out of the box”. For now, you have the following options:

  1. You can download the standard Scrum, Agile, CMMI process templates with changes for SAFe here. EDITED 6/20/2018: As of TFS 2015, the out-of-box templates have been updated to include the changes for SAFe. The downloadable templates are no longer available.
  2. If you have customized process templates, you can follow the instructions in the guidance. Additionally, Gordon Beeming has a blog post showing how to automate the process with PowerShell.

This whitepaper assumes a familiarity with the Scaled Agile Framework. If you’re familiar with Scrum but not familiar with SAFe, Inbar Oren has published these great videos which explain the basic SAFe concepts quickly.

Enjoy! Please add your comments/questions to this blog post.

1 comment

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  • Jeppe Agerbo (JEPA) 0

    Hi @Gregg Boer,
    First of all, thank you for providing this detailed breakdown, of how Azure boards can be configured, to support a SAFe implementation.However, I am struggling a bit, to figure out how I can efficiently track dependencies, across value streams and trains.Hope you are able to provide some advice :)Sincerely,


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