Flight level

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flight levels is a model which defines possible scopes of change. You can use the model to:

  1. show the potential of the transformation; and
  2. clarify where to start the incremental evolutionary change initiative.

The flight levels are:

  1. Flight level 1 focuses on improving an organizational unit like teams or departments. Main characteristic on this flight level is, there is no coordinated input—no queue replenishment meeting. There's the danger that people are processing the wrong things more efficiently which does not significantly increase the overall efficiency.
  2. Flight level 2 also focuses on improving individual organizational units. However, at this flight level the input to the organizational units is coordinated. This leads to a great performance increase because the work being processed is “more right”.
  3. Flight level 3 focuses on improving the value stream by optimizing the interactions of organizational units which leads to a tremendous performance increase, mostly because
    1. queue size is reduced significantly; and
    2. people are working on the right things.
  4. Flight level 4 focuses on improving multiple value streams which leads to a much better understanding of balancing demand vs. capability and managing risk.

Each flight level requires a different change approach to successfully start incremental evolutionary change.


  • Level 1 corresponds roughly with the SAFe Team Level
  • Level 2 corresponds roughly with the SAFe Program Level
  • Level 3 corresponds roughly with the SAFe Program and Portfolio Level
  • Level 4 corresponds roughly with the SAFe Postfolio Level and can even reach beyond that into external relationships (with clients and vendors).