SAFe is a horseman of the empowered-product-team apocalypse, and Jira is the horse it rides in on. I’ve had recent experience of working on a large Enterprise ‘modernization’ effort. It’s a boil the ocean scope, with an unrealistic timeline, and of course, has a goal of throwing in that UX’y Innovation thing.

The stakeholders do not have a clear vision, shared understanding of the target market, a knowledge of what it takes to do such an effort, and no practical familiarity with this ‘Agile’ stuff. They engaged a SAFEe-certified consultant who sold them on the command and control appeal of the dubious framework.

To demonstrate early progress, despite not having those key upfront strategic pieces or the right people involved, they have forecast many months of work in overly-prescriptive stories littered across a bunch of siloed projects in Jira. This work was a collection of spreadsheet rows of many years of inconsistency captured ‘feedback’ on past products.

Of course, there are a lot of custom fields that got thrown in there for more monitoring of meaningless attributes that are then used to chastise the teams and lean on them about not making progress fast enough. As others have suggested, it’s not the tools it’s the culture. A company that uses SAFe and Jira together should be a giant red flag for anyone wanting to do truly modern product development vs. bureaucracy-laden feature-factory junk.

Don’t believe me, look up what Marty Cagan and others have to say.