SAFe says you don't need to recalibrate estimation, but requires estimates and other metrics to be normalized across one or more Agile Release Trains. Context, question rationale, and the question itself (stated in a more answerable form) are below.
Context of the Question
One of the core practices of SAFe appears to be the use of normalized story points on which to base planning and costing decisions within the framework. Version 4.5 of the framework says:
SAFe uses a starting baseline where one story point is defined roughly the same across all teams. This means that work can be prioritized based on converting story points to cost...In this way, story points are somewhat comparable to an ideal developer day, and all teams estimate using a common method.
Functionally, this results in estimations being done in ideal working days rather than strictly relative level-of-effort scaling. No aspect of the framework appears to offer any alternative to ideal-days estimation, or define a point at which estimation is ever unmoored from man-hours. Furthermore, in the comments section of a now-deleted post, Dean Leffingwell has directly stated that normalized estimates are not a one-time thing. Specifically, he said:
Velocities are NOT normalized across teams. Estimating is. If you don’t normalize estimating, then there is no meaningful economics; you can’t figure ROI if you don’t know that the “I” is. If you want to scale agile, and there is no meaningful way to bid work across teams, and within a program, you will be blocked before you even try.
Why Ask This Question?
The point of the question isn't to debate whether or not this is an anti-pattern, but rather to understand this rather vague note on the page which says:
Note: There is no need to recalibrate team estimation or velocity after that point. It is just a starting baseline.
Authorial intent here seems unclear. Does it mean no recalibration within a PI Planning increment, or at any point within the process? Given the preceding context, it seems like normalizing of the estimation process (and therefore SAFe-specific application of measures like story points, load, velocity, and cumulative flow) is foundational to the framework.
Is there any mechanism within SAFe to estimate in level-of-effort rather than ideal days? In either case, how does the admonition that recalibration is unnecessary fit in with the framework's ongoing requirement to normalize metrics across teams?