This section may seem like its coming out of order; shouldn't we cover the specifics of each work item before we talk about their organizational structure? Maybe, but I'm coming at the topic in this sequence because I believe that where these work items sit in the Big Picture is such a huge part of understanding what they are. With that said, let's dive into the meta-structure.
Understand these two points about SAFe:
Each configuration is a collection of levels and work items designed to implement SAFe for specific situations. These items kind of line up, but not exactly. Here's a handy table for comparison.
A quick review of this table reveals a few critical bits of learning.
Hopefully this chart makes some of the relationships between configurations and levels a bit more apparent. When I'm coaching teams I always make sure to emphasize the specific verbiage being used so that everyone is clear about which levels and work items we're talking about, and how those all play together. Configurations don't change that often, so there's less concern for confusion there. If you are helping your org implement SAFe, then do yourself a favor and hold a lunch-and-learn or some other training offering so that they can reach that same level of common understanding.