Which Agile Scaling Framework is Right For You? SAFe® vs. LeSS

Agile transformation can do wonders for organizations of all levels. Agile helps teams to continuously improve while focusing on goals that can be achieved and delivered quickly. However, implementing Agile in a large organization comes with its own set of challenges. Companies looking to scale Agile across multiple departments have a variety of Agile frameworks to consider to help them meet these challenges, and some may work better for their organization than others. 

We’ve highlighted two of the most popular Agile extensibility frameworks (SAFe vs LeSS) to help executives determine which framework best meets their needs.

SAFe vs LeSS: Which is right for you?

SAFe® is the most popular framework for enterprise-wide Agile implementation. Its popularity is rooted in proven lean systems thinking and core Agile development principles. 

SAFe® works best in organizations with five to several hundred teams. Therefore, it is a great framework for large companies. SAFe® provides these companies with a highly reliable method for planning, execution, and delivery through its Rapid Release Training Program (ART`s).

ART brings all the teams together at a steady rate over the eight to 12-week program. Each program increment begins with a multi-team planning session to determine what they will deliver, which helps teams identify and address intergroup dependencies and potential roadblocks.

Pros of SAFe

  • Mention business aspects that other Agile frameworks don’t address.
  • Based on Lean Economics – teams deliver the most value in the shortest amount of time. 
  • Cross-team synchronization reduces scaling issues. 
  • Support through excellent training and role-based certifications. 
  • SAFe® breaks down business strategies into initiatives, then features, then team-level work stories – no other scaling framework charts this path clearly. so clear.

Cons of SAFe

  • Implementation strategy may need to be adjusted to meet your organization’s needs  
  • Alignment with economically oriented lean development can be culturally challenging

SAFe is a complete and complete solution that addresses not only team agility, but portfolio and corporate agility as well. Therefore, SAFe is an excellent choice for companies that want to do business quickly overall with a highly disciplined approach to products.

LeSS: Large Scale Scrum

LeSS is a large-scale implementation of the principles and key elements of Scrum across multiple teams. An important aspect of LeSS is redirecting the team’s attention to the entire organization rather than to the individual silos of each team. However, taking this holistic approach can also be a major barrier to scaling.

There are two frameworks within LeSS:

  • LeSS: Up to eight teams
  • LeSS Huge: Scaled for more than eight teams

While both frameworks rely on a single product owner, LeSS Huge includes additional Regional Product Owners working in their smaller regions. For executives who are fans of the lean economy, LeSS can benefit due to its focus on systems thinking, doing more with less, and queuing theory.

Pros of LeSS:

  • Comfortable and familiar thanks to its Scrum roots 
  • Emphasize system-wide thinking 
  • Focus on a product rather than a project 
  • The single product owner and backlog

Cons of LeSS:

  • Scaling only works for companies with a solid Scrum foundation 
  • Since it is built around Scrum, it is not a natural extension of other methodologies 
  • It can be difficult for a single product owner to manage multiple teams

LeSS works best with companies that are successful with Scrum and want to scale it across multiple departments, as they will find the concepts of LeSS quite familiar.

Choosing the Right Agile framework to Fit Your Needs

There are different Scaled Agile framework to consider for companies with multiple teams working on the same product. But often the best solution is one that combines the best practices of multiple scaling frameworks. The truth is, business leaders need to approach Agile as a method they adapt to their needs, rather than a stagnant solution. Hope this SAFe vs LeSS comparison helps your decision-making process a little easier.

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