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Oct 15

SAFe Summit: Washington, San Diego. What to Expect?

Newbie or someone really advanced in SAFe? Who should go? From BigPicture, one of only two1 SAFe-compliant project management tools who have attended all the SAFe Summits so far.

Different people will find different audiences, and will be able to be part of different discussions, so I would say all of the above – Alex Yakyma of SAFe.

1 The other is VersionOne.

Upcoming & recent Summits

Date SAFe Summit edition City
Sep 20-25, 2020 Global Denver, Colorado Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, 6700 N Gaylord Rockies Blvd, Aurora, CO 80019, U.S.A.
June 8-12, 2020 Regional The Hague, Netherlands World Forum, Churchillplein 10, 2517 JW Den Haag, Netherlands
Sep 29-Oct 4, 2019 Global San Diego, CA Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, 333 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, U.S.A.
May 7-10, 2019 Regional The Hague, Netherlands World Forum, Churchillplein 10, 2517 JW Den Haag, Netherlands
Oct 1-5, 2018 Global Washington, D.C. Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on the Potomac, Fort Washington, Maryland 20745, Stany Zjednoczone
June 25-28, 2018 Regional Frankfurt, Germany Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel, Frankfurt Airport, Airport/Terminal 1, Hugo-Eckener-Ring 15, 60549 Frankfurt am Main, Niemcy
Oct 2-6, 2017 Annual San Antonio, TX JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, 23808 Resort Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78261, U.S.A.
Oct 25-28, 2016 Annual Denver, CO


Scaled Agile Summit 2019, San Diego, Dean Leffingwell

Dean Leffingwell is quoting the author of Leading Change and Accelerate at 2019 Global Summit San Diego.

SAFe Summit U.S. 2019, San Diego

Big Picture stand at SAFe Summit

Next year we’ll bring more than four team members to the Summit. We hardly managed to attend a single keynote or lecture.

Sept 29 – Oct 4, 2019, San Diego, CA, Marriott Marquis

The largest-ever number of tool vendors was present at the 2019 SAFe Summit. This indicates how SAFe calls for tools, no matter how tool-agnostic Scaled Agile Inc. claims the framework is.

+ more than 2000 visitors, more than at any past Summit. BigPicture party of four hardly managed to talk to all current and potential clients

+ food was delicious (as always)

+ a downtown avenue has been cleared of traffic for SAFe street party. You could eat and drink free of charge at all the bars, pubs, and joints.

+ the layout of the venue was great in terms of how booths were exposed to the visitors

– a few booths were robbed of the computer equipment on the first night of the Summit

– security was an issue; badges were not enforced


What do SAFe Summits consist of?

  • 2- or 3-day Pre-Con training courses
  • 2-day Workshops and Main Conference
  • 1-day Post-Con Workshops
  • keynotes, customer stories
  • key topics:
    • latest advancements in the framework (large, complex value streams)
    • SAFe personas
  • breakfast and lunch, throughout all six days; and networking dinners during the 2-day main conference


SAFe persona

Dean Leffingwell is demonstrating, how SAFe translates a persona’s needs into features.


Who should go?

  • practitioners who are building large systems
  • practitioners who are supporting large operational workflows
  • DevOps (at scale)
  • system engineers (who are building mission-critical systems)
  • exhibitors – consultancies and software houses



In 2019 SAFe charged the Global Summit visitors as follows:

Regular Visitor SAFe Partner
Main Conference $1575 – Super Early Bird, register by Apr 17, 2019

$1675 – Early Bird, register by Jul 31, 2019

$1875 – Regular, register by Sep 25, 2019

Pre-Con 2-day training course $1295
SAFe DevOps, SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager, SAFe Advance Scrum Master
Pre-Con 3-day advanced training course $2495
SAFe Release Train Engineer, SAFe for Architects, Lean Portfolio Management, Agile Product and Solution Management
Post-Con workshop $695
Prioritizing Portfolio Investments
Accelerate your Business Agility
Lean-Agile Leadership
Experience DevOps
Building Really Big Systems with SAFe
Troubleshooting SAFe implementations

2019 European SAFe Summit: Main Conference – €1375 + VAT, Workshop Day – €525 + VAT. A discounted rate of €1250 + VAT for the Main Conference was available for SAFe Partners.

Discounts were available for teams of 5 and more both for the US and European editions.

Is SAFe certification worth it? By BigPicture CEO


Scaled Agile Framework Summit snacks

M&M’s, sliced almonds, cranberries to begin with. If not for anything else, go to the Summit for the food ;)


Who to expect?

Below are the 2019 Summit sponsors, notice how the sponsors were bundled into Large Solution, Big Picture, Value Stream, and Essential collections; and the order in which the groups are showcased.

SAFe summit sponsors


Global vs. Regional SAFe Summit

If you’re based in the U.S.A., the Global SAFe Summit is certainly your first choice. If you are based in Europe, Middle East, or Africa the European Summit has features, content, and case studies most relevant to SAFe professionals in EMEA. U.S. exhibitors are present at the European Summit, too. BigPicture Project Portfolio Management app is present at both :)


What to bring to the Summit?

If you’re an exhibitor, don’t bring a touchscreen as these could be rented locally.

PI planning touchscreen SAFe Summit

Touchscreens can be rented locally. Displayed is the Board module of BigPicture, for Program Increment/iteration planning.


But you could bring a deployable joystick, to be used during agile retros, such as the one by CGI, pictured below. As a rule of thumb, bring a roll-up or two.

Step-on joystick for agile retrospections

A step-on ‘RETRO’ joystick to be used during PI and iteration planning to schedule and prioritize objectives.


Most of the space-consuming equipment for your booth can be acquired locally. BigPicture team rented an SUV to deliver the furniture to the venue.

IKEA San Diego


BigPicture, a wildcard term at the summits

The ‘big picture’ phrase has always played a special role in the ‘at scale’ organizations. However with the advent of Scaled Agile Framework, and the summits, the term has become a proper noun, too:

  • ‘Big Picture’ stands for the main SAFe poster
  • ‘Big Picture’ was used at the 2019 Summit to call a group of sponsors
  • a PPM app – BigPicture – was a member of that group


Gallery of swags

based on 2019 SAFe Summit

HyperVelocity Consulting Lip Balm

When you’re back in the North, you’ll appreciate this practical lip balm by HyperVelocity Consulting.


ALM Works rucksack

ALM Works gave away these neat rucksacks at the Summit.


PI planning first aid kit by Agile Rising.

PI planning first aid kit by Agile Rising.


Appddiction studio gifts SAFe Summit

Appddicition Studio swags at SAFe Summit; a SAFe humanoid and a Snap-in cord organizer. The third gift is a tray.


SAFe coffee mugs

Classic coffee mugs are still around.


Rally Software Broadcom booth SAFe summit

Stickers will do the job, too.


Networking Celebration

A street in San Diego downtown has been cleared of traffic for SAFe networking celebration. You could eat and drink free of charge at all the bars, pubs, and joints.


2018 SAFe Summit

Oct 1-5, 2018, Washington, D.C.

2017 SAFe Summit, San Antonio

Oct 2-6, 2017, San Antonio, TX


  • 1200 attendees from 27 countries
  • keynotes:
    • Dean Leffingwell, author and entrepreneur: Fostering Innovation in the Large Enterprise with SAFe 4.5
    • Mel Robbins of CNN: The Five Second rule
    • Don Reinertsen, author: The Leadership Challenge of Decentralized Control
  • quotes:
    • 160 k people from 110 countries are now SAFe trained
    • I’m learning


2016 SAFe Summit

Oct 25-28, 2016, Denver, CO

With over 70% of U.S. Fortune 100 enterprises adopting SAFe practices, and nearly 60,000 individuals trained and certified, the demand for an event dedicated to SAFe has been enormous – Dean Leffingwell


Events we participated in

About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.