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Scrum and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) are two different frameworks that work under Agile and Lean principles and values. Both are very popular among organizations, and the day-to-day awareness about them is increasing. On the surface, both Scrum and SAFe® look similar. However, there are slight differences between them, and it is essential to understand them clearly; otherwise, it may lead to confusion. All Stakeholders need to have an explicit understanding of these differences. But before we look at the differences, let us first see how Scrum and SAFe® frameworks are defined individually.
So, what then is the difference between Scrum and SAFe® frameworks? As we said earlier, there are no significant differences, but whatever differences exist, it is essential to make a clear distinction between these two frameworks. Let us compare Scrum and SAFe® frameworks and understand the differences.
The main difference between Scrum and SAFe® frameworks is their approach. While Scrum is used to organize small teams, the SAFe® framework is used for organizing a whole organization.
A Scrum framework puts more focus on iterative development. It helps the teams to self-organize themselves. It is also helpful in delivering high-quality software quickly.
On the other hand, the approach in SAFe® is more professional. It aids in setting up objectives and helps in meeting the customers' demands. While the Scrum framework is flexible and assists in implementing diverse software projects, the SAFe® framework is a little rigid in its approach and is implemented at the enterprise level.
Scaled Agile Framework vs. Scrum does not end here. Another significant difference between the two is that SAFe® is a detailed framework while Scrum ignores many essential aspects.
Since Scrum is used for small teams only, its scope gets limited to the functioning of that particular team, but SAFe® encompasses all the elements and features of an entire organization and can be used for all the work of the organization. It enfolds principles like transparency, alignment, in-built quality, and program execution.
The Scrum framework easily adapts to situations, so it can be suitably used for pending cases. Scrum's concept is simple but proves difficult to implement. But SAFe® is easy to implement, and at the same time, it preserves the attributes of the enterprise and its process structure. However, the Scaled Agile Framework is not as adaptable as the Scrum framework.
At a glance, let's present the comparison between the two frameworks in a tabular form below for a better understanding of Scrum vs. SAFe®.
|Implementation||Scrum is an excellent approach applicable to small teams to enable them to work cohesively and effectively.||The Agile framework is scaled and can be adopted by the whole organization.|
|Framework||Suitable for small organizations.||It is an enterprise-level framework suited to large organizations.|
Agile Release Trains (ARTs)
|Structure of the team and critical roles||It uses a small team of 7-11 members and comprises three different roles. These are the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Developers.||SAFe® involves multiple large teams and even team of teams or portfolio and have multiple levels like Release Train Engineers (RTE), Program Management, Value Stream Engineers (VSE), Solution Architect (SA), and Epic Owner (EO).|
|Context||Scrum is a small framework that guides how an inspection can be carried out quickly and adapted in a small space.||SAFe® provides clear-cut processes and roles so that various Agile teams can work together as one big team in an Agile Release Train (ART).|
|Principles and strategy||The Scrum framework is lightweight and uses iterative methods, which involve breaking the entire project into small portions to simplify more complex projects. It regularly measures delivery.||The team size does not limit the SAFe framework. It helps and guides the organizations to scale the Agile and Lean practices to the enterprise level.|
|Essentials||To start working with Scrum, you need a Scrum team like Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Developers.||For working in SAFe®, you first need to choose the required SAFe®, then have an Agile Release Train comprising 5-7 Agile teams. It needs a large team of at least 50 members.|
|Team dependencies||In Scrum, each team works independently of the other, and every team is self-organized.||In SAFe, teams depend on each other for their functioning and require close coordination. It also needs a high level of alignment between the top leadership and the teams.|
|Events||Scrum has regular events like Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.||SAFe® follows the same structure all through. It follows the process of planning, doing, checking, and adjusting.|
|Time frame||The usual time for the Scrum framework is 1-4 weeks||The SAFe® framework takes about two weeks|
|Benefits of each framework|
Since Scrum is applied to individual teams, it has project-related benefits, which are:
Since SAFe® is an enterprise-level framework, it has business-level benefits like
So, this is all about Scrum vs. SAFe®. We hope we have made a clear distinction between the two frameworks. The main difference between the two is in how they are implemented. Although both the frameworks use Agile and Lean principles, they are implemented at different levels. SAFe® puts its focus on release planning which Scrum does not. The middle management has virtually no role in the Scrum framework, while the SAFe® framework has program and portfolio management as its two essential levels.