Scaling Scrum: Playing it SAFe

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Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a framework for scaling Agile to large enterprises with multiple teams working on complex projects. SAFe is a set of principles, practices, and guidelines for implementing Agile across multiple teams and departments while aligning the organization’s goals with the overall business strategy.

Scaling Scrum: Playing it SAFe

Dean Leffingwell, regarded as one of the forefathers of Agile development, created SAFe. Leffingwell is an author and consultant who has assisted several large organizations in scaling Agile practices.

Key concepts

SAFe is built on several key concepts, including lean thinking, Agile development, and systems thinking. SAFe seeks to improve the overall system by identifying and eliminating waste, reducing complexity, and increasing transparency. SAFe also applies Agile development practices to large-scale projects, emphasizing collaboration, continuous delivery, and rapid feedback. Finally, SAFe encourages organizations to take a systems thinking approach to their processes and operations, focusing on the big picture.

Core values

The SAFe core values are a set of guiding principles that organizations can use to align their Agile development practices with overall business goals. SAFe is built around four core values:

  • Alignment
    • Aligning the organization around common goals and objectives to ensure that everyone is striving for the same results. This entails developing a shared understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, and values and using them to guide decision-making at all levels;
  • Built-in Quality
    • Including quality in the development process from the start, rather than treating it as a separate activity or afterthought. Creating a culture of continuous improvement, emphasizing the importance of testing and validation, and using metrics and data to measure and improve quality over time are all part of this;
  • Transparency
    • Making information visible and accessible to all members of the organization in order to facilitate communication, collaboration, and decision-making. This includes making information such as product roadmaps, project status updates, and performance metrics available to all levels of the organization and using this information to inform and guide decision-making.
  • Program Execution
    • Project and program execution that is efficient and effective, using a structured, predictable approach that ensures work is completed on time, within budget, and to the desired level of quality. This includes using Agile development practices like Scrum, Kanban, and XP to manage work, as well as Lean principles to optimize work flow and eliminate waste.

Organizations can create a culture of continuous improvement, alignment, and collaboration by adhering to these core values, which helps to ensure the success of Agile development practices at scale. SAFe’s core values aid in the alignment of the organization around common goals and objectives, the promotion of a culture of quality and transparency, and the optimization of work flow to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness.


What distinguishes SAFe from other frameworks is its comprehensive and prescriptive approach to Agile scaling. SAFe is a well-defined set of roles, ceremonies, and artifacts that assist organizations in standardizing Agile practices across multiple teams and departments. SAFe also provides a framework for managing the overall strategy of the organization, ensuring that all teams are aligned and working toward the same goals. Furthermore, SAFe offers a variety of training and certification programs that can assist organizations in developing a strong Agile culture and improving overall performance.

Scaling Agile with SAFe provides several benefits. For starters, it enables cross-functional teams to respond to customer needs more quickly and effectively by forming agile teams that prioritize value. This results in faster decision-making and more efficient operations, which leads to higher customer satisfaction. Second, rather than treating quality as a separate activity, SAFe emphasizes its importance throughout the development process. This ensures that everyone involved in the development process is responsible for quality, resulting in higher quality outcomes.

For what organizations?

SAFe can be used in a variety of contexts, but it is best suited to large enterprises with multiple teams working on complex projects. SAFe provides a framework for coordinating these teams’ efforts while also aligning their work with the overall strategy of the organization. SAFe can also help organizations that need a more prescriptive approach to Agile development, where a high level of standardization is required to ensure consistency and quality across all teams. SAFe, on the other hand, may not be as appropriate for smaller organizations or those with less complex projects, where a more lightweight Agile framework may be more appropriate.

SAFe’s success is dependent on an organization’s willingness to adopt its principles and practices, as well as continuously adapt and improve its processes over time.

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