What is the difference between Agile and SAFe framework?

What is the difference between Agile and SAFe framework

Difference between Agile and SAFe framework

Even a few years ago, the traditional waterfall project management was the method that was opted for by most enterprises. Although it worked for some time, it didn’t give any fruitful results for many. As time progressed, with the help of Agile and SAFe frameworks the deliverables have developed over multiple iterations.

Agile, Scrum, and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) have all become popular project development methods that enhance the process’s efficiency and deliver desired results. Although they are similar in their characteristics at some points, they differ from each other massively.

While ‘Agile’ refers to the disciplined and flexible project management methodology, which is mainly used for software development of new and innovative products, SAFe or Scaled Agile Framework explains the process for scaling agile for working in larger enterprises and bigger teams, working on the same or multiple products.

Also Read: What is the career path of a Scrum Master?

Now as we know what these two frameworks actually focus on, let us dive into how they differ from each other based on different characteristics.

  • Principles- Agile is a framework that follows an iterative method for developing a product and focuses on the constant delivery of tasks that are assigned. SAFe, on the other hand, is an agile framework for an enterprise that is not limited to smaller teams and guides enterprises in improving agility and efficiency in the company.
  • Planning– In the case of Agile, planning is done prior to the first sprint and at the beginning of each sprint. On the other hand, in the case of the SAFe framework planning is done at a timebox called a Program Increment.
  • Scalability– While the SAFe framework scales to the big enterprises, the Agile framework scales between teams.
  • Average Salary– The average UK median annual salary for a SAFe agile certificate holder is 65k-70k pounds and the annual salary of an agile coach on average in India is INR 20-22 lakhs.
  • Benefits Received- With the help of SAFe, the time-to-market has increased significantly by approx 50%, the practitioners can now directly write processes without waiting for process development training sessions and productivity has increased significantly. Whereas, with the help of the Agile framework there has been an increased frequency of collaboration and feedback and focus on specific customer needs. Also, there has been reduced waste through the minimization of resources, faster turnaround time, and optimized development processes.
  • Framework– SAFe framework has key roles at four different levels namely Release Train Engineer, Program Manager, Solution Architect, and Business Owner while agile has no such defined levels.
  • Core Values– Agile has core values called Agile Manifesto which include 4 main points:
  • Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools
  • Working software over Comprehensive Documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan, and 12 other principles.

On the other hand, SAFe has core values like Built-in quality, transparency, program execution, and alignment.

  • Value Stream- While SAFe Value stream is a key element, Agile does not describe value stream.
  • Delivery Strategy– In the Agile framework, the team mainly focuses on providing a working solution to the customer, one iteration at a time. This iterative process moves quickly from inception to idea validation and delivery. On the other hand, SAFe is a more project-oriented framework that focuses on delivering working software incrementally over an extended period with clear milestones for success at each stage of the release plan.

Thus, we can say that Agile was designed for small teams and SAFe was crafted to scale the companies to various levels, from essential to full SAFE. 

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