Scrum Agile Project Management

Evaluating the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is one of the best know approach for scaling Agile practices. In a recent article, Al Shalloway proposes his own assessment of this framework, explaining which parts are good and which parts could be counter-productive or difficult to implement.

The article starts by listing the good parts of the Scaled Agile Framework. Al Shalloway thinks that they are absolutely essential for scaling Agile. They include a system thinking approach, the importance of having business strategy, well-defined roles, a A global view that covers the full value stream and a planning method that facilitates coordination of teams.

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
The SAFe framework. Image source:

On the negative side, Al Shalloway explains that “SAFe is presented as a complete solution and actually discourages modifications to it. This unfortunately creates a “one-size fits-all” solution approach and focuses organizations more on implementing SAFe than on solving their own challenges.” Not enough importance is given to the assessment of organizational issues and the challenging of the current approach. Al Shalloway also thinks that “While SAFe addresses many important issues, the solutions it provides are often not the best available, or not deep enough.”

The conclusion of the article is that SAFe provides some value but should not be used as a dogma that restrict software development organizations to look for other practices. The final wise words are that “Critical thinking and modifications are needed to expand from the initial SAFe implementation. Both are definitely needed if a SAFe implementation stalls. . One must remember that no single solution will work everywhere. Although it is tempting to go for a complete well-defined solution up front, one must keep the focus on learning how to learn – so as to achieve long term success.”

Read the complete article on—good-bad-and-ugly