The influence of Agile methodology has increased significantly over the last few years. As the global enterprise agile transformation services market is expected to reach USD 63.8 Billion by 2026, it is safe to say that organizations all across the world are adopting Agile methodologies massively. Scrum and SAFe are frameworks that function under Agile principles and values.
According to Scrum.org, “Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.”
On the other hand, SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) is the framework for scaling Agile across enterprises and empowering complex organizations to achieve the advantages of Lean-Agile methodology and systems development at scale.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of both frameworks to understand them in a better way.
The Scrum framework offers a wide range of advantages to its users:
The scrum framework can easily adapt to any situation. Based on the belief that feedback and other factors lead the way for the product development process, it is most suitable for uncertain environments or situations where accurate requirements cannot be defined at the beginning of a process.
- Short Time-to-Market
Scrum ensures that developers create and implement the product incrementally and iteratively with the help of Sprints, which are short periods (for example, one to four weeks) when the scrum teams work to complete a set amount of tasks. This practice results in a shorter time-to-market.
- Enhanced Product Quality
Solutions that are developed by using the Scrum framework are high-quality and high-value products. Scrum facilitates a self-organizing and free environment for developers to take full accountability of their work and come up with innovative ideas to improve the solution. Moreover, client feedback at the end of every sprint helps developers to improve the solution in the upcoming sprints. Hence, product quality is enhanced.
- Increased Client Satisfaction
Scrum facilitates clients’ involvement throughout the development process. As the clients get to give regular feedback and are able to see that their inputs are being sincerely used to shape the product, their satisfaction with the development process increases. It also increases their trust towards the development team, along with the chances that the final product will meet their expectations.
However, it also offers a few drawbacks which users must consider:
- Training Requirements
It is important for the development team to understand the principles behind the Scrum framework entirely. Hence, it requires a fair amount of training so that it doesn’t become ineffective in the long term.
- Organizational Transformation
Successful implementation of the scrum framework requires the elimination of organizational barriers and transformation throughout the organization. It requires enhanced collaboration which can sometimes be a significant challenge to achieve.
Scrum is mostly suitable for small-scale and medium businesses. Its scalability can be a significant challenge for enterprises adopting it at a larger level.
SAFe: The SAFe framework offers several advantages to its users:
The SAFe framework offers enterprise-level scaling and caters to all levels where the organization is trying to scale Agile. It takes the agility mindset beyond the development teams and extends it to the executives and the C-suite.
- Enhanced Time to Value
SAFe facilitates enterprise-level collaboration, ranging from the scrum teams tothe Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and C-suite executives, to achieve a unified set of goals. Hence, value is delivered more speedily as it enables incorporation of timely feedback at all levels along with repeated and unified planning and execution.
- Breaks Silos
The SAFe framework breaks silos by facilitating collaboration between the business and technology teams. It ensures the total alignment of the organization’s business strategy and objectives with IT delivery by encouraging interaction between business stakeholders and IT teams.
However, it also offers a few challenges which users must consider:
- Limited Freedom
Due to the specific roles of multiple layers of coordination and administration, the developers’ freedom and flexibility to experiment and be self-organized is reduced, especially in terms of decision making.
- Misuse of the IP Sprint
The Innovation and Planning (IP) sprint is misused significantly in the SAFe framework as it is often used as a hardening phase to meet deadlines, which completely bypasses the purpose of this sprint.
- Not for SMEs
SAFe mainly acts as an agility scaling framework for large enterprises, hence it is not suitable for small or medium-sized enterprises.
The most significant difference between Scrum and SAFe frameworks lies in their practice. While SAFe focuses on filling the gaps that Scrum practices may leave unattended, Scrum sticks to the true principles and values ofAgile, which SAFe may leave behind. At the end of the day, each framework works towards helping organizations to thrive in today’s digital era and organizations must choose the apt framework for their organization by evaluating all factors.