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What is Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) | The Leading Framework For Business Agility | Everything You Need to Know

Last updated on 04th Nov 2022, Artciles, Blog

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Sangeetha Ramu (Agile Scrum Master )

Sangeetha Ramu has over four years of experience as a project estimator. She provides extensive expertise in story splitting, estimation, velocity, retrospection, and other Scrum techniques, Web apps development, scrum master, Agile, waterfall, Azure, and AWS.

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    • In this article you will get
    • 1.What is a Scaled Agile Framework?
    • 2.Why should we use a Scaled Agile Framework?
    • 3.Scaled Agile framework core principles
    • 4.Differences between SAFe and other Agile practices
    • 5.Levels of a Scaled Agile Framework
    • 6.Benefits of a Scaled Agile Framework
    • 7.Conclusion

What is Scaled Agile Framework?

The scaled agile framework alternately referred to as a SAFe, is a set of workflow and an organizational patterns designed to implement agile practices on enterprise scale. The structure consists of the body of knowledge that encompasses a structured guidance on responsibilities and roles, how to plan and manage a work, and be upholding appropriate values.Formed around a three bodies of knowledge of SAFe promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across the multiple agile teams.

Scaled Agile Framework

Why should use a Scaled Agile Framework?

Here are situations when should use scaled agile framework:

  • When teams require or want to work an independently.
  • When a team intends to be implement agile across the more extensive multi-team portfolios and programs consistently.
  • When multiple teams are the running their agile implementation brand, and they are regularly an encountering failures, delays, and obstacles.
  • When a project manager wants to scale agile across an organization but is uncertain what new roles need to be a created, what existing roles need to change, and how those changes are should look.
  • When have tried to implement an agile across an organization, but are experiencing difficulties in achieving a consistent, uniform strategy across the range of a business departments.
  • When an organization takes note of its be competitors’ success with a SAFe and needs to recreate that success in their DevOps department.

Here is the real-life case of how one popular company uses an agile framework for maximum results.

Scaled Agile framework core principles

The scaled agile framework is built on a nine core principles, taken from an existing agile and lean principles. They are:

  • Take economic view (e.g., understand a financial implications of delays, operating within a small budgets, understanding economic trade-offs) to give a team optimal lead time while providing a best product development flow.
  • Use a framework to implement systems thinking into the three key areas: the solution (e.g., a deliverable product), value streams, and the enterprise building a system.
  • An Assume market and technical variability, thereby a preserving options and encouraging innovation.
  • Build an incrementally using fast, integrated learning cycles and milestones, incorporates customer feedback and reduces a risks.
  • Base on project’s milestones on a objective estimation and an evaluation of actual working systems.
  • Visualize and limit a quantity of work in progress (WIP), reduce batch sizes, and manage the queue lengths to create a continuous flow. Limit the amount of an overlapping work and complexity of each item.
  • Apply cadence (timing) and synchronize with the cross-domain planning. This principle of fosters collaboration, reduces complexity, enforces quality, and helps to team react better to uncertainty.
  • Unlock an intrinsic motivation and unleash the potential of a knowledge workers by having leaders behave more like a coaches, rather than as command-and-control bosses.
  • Decentralize a decision-making process, giving a teams more autonomy. This freedom, in a turn, helps the teams become more agile and effective by making an informed choices.
Scaled Agile framework core principles

Differences between SAFe and other Agile practices

SAFe isn’t only an agile practice available to developers. There are the other Agile practices out there, and each one an offers a benefits. Let’s check out a few and see how they are stack up against SAFe.

SAFe versus DAD. Disciplined an agile delivery (DAD) emphasizes product’s end-to-end lifecycle, and is guided by a seven principles:

  • Delight customers
  • Be awesome
  • Pragmatism
  • Context counts
  • Choice is good
  • Optimize workflow
  • Enterprise awareness

DAD focuses on a people first and is a first level of disciplined agile, a practice that provides a lightweight, agile governance. It lets organizations explain the agile path that works are best for them.

SAFe versus a Large Scale Scrum. Large scale scrum (LeSS) is best suited for a teams that have already mastered scrum and are comfortable with doing away with management paradigm completely. LeSS provides the minimalist approach to roles, artifacts, and structure. SAFe offers a four configurations to handle larger teams, and LeSS offers only a two: LeSS for two to eight teams, and a LeSS Huge for an over eight teams.

SAFe versus Scrum@Scale. Scrum@Scale creates the network of scrum teams using a scale-free architecture, which means that essential scrum events and roles are be scaled linearly—without bringing in a new process dynamics. In short, everyone is part of interchangeable scrum team.

SAFe versus a Spotify. Spotify’s model is the people-driven set of autonomous practices used to coordinate an agile teams. It emphasizes people into “squads”—analogous to the scrum teams—that are cross-functional and a self-organizing, which are then grouped into the larger units called “tribes.” Spotify works best with an organizations that embrace culture that emphasizes are allowing for a mistakes, learning, and taking controlled risks.

Levels of Scaled Agile Framework

Before talk about the levels, there are two different methods of a SAFe implementation:

  • SAFe 3.0
  • SAFe 4.0
  • SAFe 5.0

SAFe 3.0 implementation has a three levels: Portfolio, Program, and Team, and generally used for a smaller deployments with 100 or fewer people, and programs that don’t need a significant collaboration.

SAFe 4.0 implementation has a four levels: Portfolio, Value Stream, Program, and Team. Level four covers the solutions that usually need hundreds of users to be develop, deploy, and maintain software.

SAFe 5.0 implementation introduces the new level—Essential SAFe, which is the combination of a Team and Program levels.

Benefits of a Scaled Agile Framework

SAFe provides a lot of advantages, including:

  • Helps to cross-functional teams collaborate more efficiently.
  • Enables an organizations to gain greater transparency, allowing the stakeholders in multiple groups to acquire a feedback faster.
  • Aligns a project’s aspects with an organization’s broader business goals.
  • Helps to larger businesses to leverage Scrum and Kanban benefits in more scalable way.
  • Drives a faster time to be market.


No doubt familiar with an agile—the iterative approach to a software development and project management. It employs the set of practices and methods that deliver a better value to customers by releasing a software in small, consumable increments.As is the case with the many other software development methods available today, agile has its share of a tools and resources designed to help developers get a most out of it. This article focuses on a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), its history, its core principles, why and when should use it, and also its benefits.

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