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What is Scaled Agile Framework?

  • For the larger businesses, SAFe offers a framework for becoming more agile, so that their deliverables can reach the customers faster

What Is Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)?

The Scaled Agile Framework, also known as SAFe, is an agile framework developed for development teams.  SAFE’s foundation involves three metaphorical pillars: Team, Program, and Portfolio. SAFe not only gives your product team more flexibility but also helps you manage the challenges bigger companies face while adopting Agile methodology. Additionally, SAFe also consists of a comprehensive knowledge base of best practices that are already proven to work. Similarly, product teams utilize SAFe to successfully deliver software products. 

For the larger businesses, SAFe offers a framework for becoming more agile, so that their deliverables can reach the customers faster. This is because larger businesses tend to move slower, and be more resistant to change than comparatively smaller, more agile competitors. The majority of it can be drawn up to deep-rooted cultural issues of being a larger binding,  and to process-based restrictions, as administration tends to flourish in larger corporate environments. Still, many larger companies try to gain the benefits of agile development, for which they may not be suited. 

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) consists of a set of principles, processes, and best practices that assist larger businesses to utilize agile methods,  that are  Lean, Kanban, and Scrum, to produce and deliver high-quality products and services quicker. SAfe is best fitted for complex projects that may require a large team working together on a project, program, and portfolio level.

SAFe provides larger businesses with a way to leverage the advantages of Scrum and Kanban properly. It helps them handle projects with a higher level of agility. Allowing for stakeholders across different groups to get feedback on time. This stimulated feedback loop results in higher engagement levels, improved productivity, quality of work, and job satisfaction. 

What does adopting Agile at Scale mean?

The purpose of scaling agile is to let you adapt and stay competitive by returning to customers and addressing their needs. Along with that, adding pleasing touches to keep customers coming back. Eventually and in practical terms, it means growing the reach of agile working to every team at every level and department. The main means for this are autonomous teams, adjustment on values, goals, and transparency at every level — both up and down what is left of an original hierarchical structure. 

You will be dealing with different concerns spreading agile to one or more teams under the same department than when going from one to different departments beyond software engineering or IT (where agile started). The diversity in a scaled agile framework, the structure and practices they advise, and what particular concerns they address vary. Which will be suitable for you depends on what point you’re at on your journey and how well a framework is designed to succeed, suits your goals for scaling agile, and ultimately becoming an agile business. 

Principles of Scaled Agile Framework 

SAFe is created on nine important principles mentioned below that are obtained from lean and agile principles:

  • Take an economic route to allow for an optimal lead time while producing the best quality and providing value
  • Understand the market and technical variability by preserving opportunities and fostering innovations 
  • Implement systems taking all facets of development into account
  • Set milestones on objective estimation and evaluation of working systems to guarantee there is an economic advantage
  • Grow incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles that let in customer feedbacks and diminish risks
  • Unlock the natural motivation of expert workers to reach their undiscovered potential 
  • Restrict the amount of work in progress, reduce batch sizes and control the queue length to enable a continuous flow.
  • Maintain a tempo, synchronize with cross-domain formation to identify business opportunities, and allow for restorative action as needed.
  • Decentralize decision making 

SAFe Project Management

Project management in an organization with the implementation of  SAFe occurs in three levels. At the individual team level,  it’s Scrum business as usual. Small size teams have specific goals and responsibilities. Therefore, they deliver iterations after each Sprint. Besides, a Scrum Master usually leads the team.  The only vital change is that these small teams now operate into programs.

The benefits of SAFe begin to become more prominent at the program level. This is where each team's output comes together with everyone else’s and turns into something integral, cohesive, and compatible. Supervision of a Release Train Engineer, make them a part of an Agile Release Train. The simultaneity provides the work of a group of individual Scrum teams. 

After a few Sprints or so, a Potentially Shippable Increment goes through a complete round of testing. The process represents a deviation from more traditional Scrum and continuous delivery.  In this case, code ships more commonly. At the highest level, the portfolios consist of multiple programs that are defined at longer-term visions ranging from multiple quarters to even a year.  Budgeting starts from this point and epic level milestones are set and defined, this is also the point where project planning and strategic planning converge. 

Scaled Agile Framework versus Scrum 

SAFe and Scrum aren't very different from each other. They are so similar that someone rarely picks one over the other. The final decision comes down to the environment and objective for executing agile principles. As you might know, Scrum is a highly effective way of delivering a project using a small team.

It is flexible, clear, and light on overhead. It takes a lot of communication between those small team members to work at a high level. Scrum is not a great way to run a large organization with a larger number of projects and simultaneously run projects. It is disorganized and a special operation approach to reaching discrete goals quickly with iterative development. Handling the complexities, interdependencies, and multiple teams needed to operate at a scale that requires a more robust structure to avoid everything going down in confusion. 

SAFe’s agile Release Train doesn’t function in a timely manner without a middle management level of supervision carried out at the program level with multiple other products or projects under that. While SAFe doesn’t limit the highest level of potency by demanding more preparation and rigidity, and for the right purpose. The pieces of the whole puzzle will eventually fit together and make sense as bigger companies need a more prominent level of standardization to facilitate resource flexibility and component adaptability. 

Should You Use the Scaled Agile Framework?

SAFe is more popular among enterprise businesses as many of its aspects focus on resolving the common challenges teams might face while scaling agile methodologies.  So if your company is just starting to transition to agile. SAFe might be a feasible option to connect that gap due to its more prospective approach that allows flexibility and customization but also needs an experienced company that thoroughly understands the agile philosophy. 

Evon Technologies has gained hands-on experience in using the SAFe to implement Agile methodology while working on several software development projects over the years. If you are looking for web and app developers or a software development company in India that has previously worked in the Scaled-Agile environment, Evon is a go-to place for you.  Get in touch with us or drop an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for software development and consulting services, and we will get back to you.

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