Both of them know SAFe and the relevant courses run by the Scaled Agile Institute (SAI) from several perspectives. Initially, they took part in courses such as Leading SAFe or Implementing SAFe; they help companies to implement agile methods (at least some of which are oriented towards SAFe) and provide training on agility, including SAFe.
We, Romano and Johannes, remember it well: at the beginning we had big reservations about SAFe. The model at that time seemed to us unnecessarily complicated and difficult to communicate, and insufficient in terms of content. Some aspects fundamentally contradicted our understanding of the agile principles. In short, SAFe seemed to us like methods-dominated ballast. (An assessment that some loud voices in the community also express.)
Admittedly, we have both retained a critical attitude towards SAFe and the SAI. In the meantime, however, we no longer see SAFe as ballast, but primarily as a treasure chest of proven samples (in Agility, Lean Production and Lean Startup, but also in traditional approaches such as RUP) that are arranged in a logical context.
Is SAFe above criticism? Certainly not. There are a few points in particular that we would like to address and compare with our assessment: