Are you a SAFe product manager (PM)?

As organizations adopt the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to manage their software development processes, the role of the product manager becomes increasingly important. In this article, we’ll explore the role of a product manager in the SAFe framework, including their responsibilities, accountabilities, and how they fit into the overall development process.

The Role of the Product Manager in SAFe

A product manager in SAFe is responsible for defining and driving the product vision, strategy, and roadmap. They work closely with the product development team to ensure that the product meets customer needs and business objectives. The product manager is the voice of the customer, providing insights into customer needs and preferences, and working to incorporate that feedback into the product development process.

The product manager plays a critical role in the SAFe framework, helping to ensure that the product development process is aligned with business goals and objectives. They work with stakeholders to prioritize features and capabilities, and ensure that the product is meeting the needs of both customers and the organization.

Responsibilities and Accountabilities

The responsibilities of a product manager in SAFe can be broken down into four main areas:

  1. Product Strategy: The product manager is responsible for defining the product vision, strategy, and roadmap. This involves working with stakeholders to understand customer needs and market trends, and developing a product plan that aligns with business objectives.
  2. Product Backlog: The product manager is responsible for creating and maintaining the product backlog. This involves defining user stories, prioritizing features, and ensuring that the backlog is aligned with the product vision and strategy.
  3. Team Collaboration: The product manager works closely with the development team, ensuring that they have a clear understanding of the product vision and priorities. They work to resolve any issues that may arise during development, and ensure that the team is working efficiently and effectively.
  4. Product Launch: The product manager is responsible for ensuring a successful product launch. This involves working with stakeholders to define launch goals, developing launch plans, and ensuring that the product is ready for launch.

While those areas are key for a product manager, there are more tasks to perform the role well. The tasks and accountabilities listed in below RACI matrix for a SAFe PM are not an exhaustive list. They are rather a starting point to illustrate the kinds of tasks and responsibilities that a PM in a SAFe context might be involved in. Depending on the specific organization, team, and product being managed, there may be additional tasks and responsibilities that are not included in the matrix.

Task / ResponsibilityResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
Develop and maintain the Product Vision and RoadmapPMRTE / PO / Senior LeadersTeam, StakeholdersTeam, Stakeholders
Define and prioritize features and user stories for each PIPMPOTeam, RTETeam, RTE
Define and maintain acceptance criteria for each featurePMPOTeamTeam
Define and prioritize non-functional requirementsPMPOTeamTeam
Collaborate with POs to define and maintain the Program BacklogPMPOTeam, RTETeam, RTE
Participate in PI PlanningPMPOTeam, RTETeam, RTE
Provide guidance on Epic decomposition and Feature mappingPMPOTeamTeam
Work with POs to validate features and stories against the Product Vision and RoadmapPMPOTeamTeam
Work with the Agile teams to understand dependencies and resolve issuesPMPOTeam, RTETeam, RTE
Provide feedback to senior leadership on product and market trendsPMSenior LeadersTeam, StakeholdersTeam, Stakeholders
Monitor the market and competition to identify new opportunities and risksPMSenior LeadersTeam, StakeholdersTeam, Stakeholders
Work with stakeholders to identify and manage risks and dependenciesPMRTE / POTeamTeam
Coordinate with other Product Managers on cross-portfolio initiativesPMOther PMsTeam, RTETeam, RTE
RACI Matrix of PM and other SAFe Roles for key activities in SAFe

In the SAFe framework, the product manager plays a critical role in ensuring that the product development process is aligned with business goals and objectives. By defining the product vision, strategy, and roadmap, and working closely with the development team and stakeholders, the product manager helps to ensure that the product meets customer needs and drives business value.

If you’re looking to implement SAFe in your enterprise and want to ensure that your roles are tailored to your specific context and needs, a consultant from can help. Our network of experienced consultants has expertise in a range of areas, including SAFe implementation, and can work with you to develop customized solutions that fit your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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