Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Agile and SAFe Agile are both methodologies used in software development. They share some similarities but have some distinct differences. In this blog post, we’ll explore these methodologies, how they differ, and which one might be best for your project.


Firstly, let us understand the basics of both SAF® and Agile Methodologies, then familiarize ourselves with what we are here for – the differences between the two.


Agile Methodology


Agile is a software development methodology that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and a focus on delivering working software in small, iterative increments. Agile teams work in short sprints, usually lasting two to four weeks, and prioritize communication and collaboration with stakeholders. The goal of Agile is to continuously deliver value to the customer while adapting to changing requirements.

The Agile Methodology Has Four Core Values


  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan


That’s all about Agile methodology, let us understand SAFe Agile methodology now — so that when we discuss the similarities and differences between the two, you have no doubts!

SAFe Agile Methodology


SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) is a methodology that builds on Agile principles and adapts them to larger organizations and projects. It is designed to provide a more structured framework for managing complex software development efforts that involve multiple teams, departments, and stakeholders.

SAFe Agile Has Three Levels


  • Team Level: The team level focuses on the Agile methodology at the individual team level. Teams work in sprints, deliver working software, and collaborate with stakeholders.


  • Program Level: The program level is where SAFe Agile starts to differ from Agile. At this level, multiple teams come together to deliver a larger product. A Program Increment (PI) is a timebox for planning, executing, and reviewing a set of features.


  • Portfolio Level: At the portfolio level, SAFe Agile introduces a layer of strategic planning. The focus is on prioritizing investments, creating a roadmap, and aligning business objectives with product development.


How are Agile and SAFe Agile Similar?

Agile and SAFe Agile share a lot of similarities. 


  • Agile and SAFe Agile is an iterative and incremental development methodology focusing on delivering working software frequently and early. 
  • They both emphasize collaboration, continuous improvement, and customer satisfaction. 
  • They both encourage adaptive planning, self-organizing teams, and regular feedback loops. 
  • Both Agile and SAFe Agile follow the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto, such as responding to change, valuing individuals and interactions, and delivering working software. 


However, SAFe Agile extends the Agile methodology to a larger scale, incorporating multiple teams, programs, and portfolios. It provides a more structured and scalable approach for organizations to implement Agile practices across the enterprise.

Key Differences Between Agile and SAFe Agile


While both are based on the Agile Manifesto, they differ in their approach to scaling Agile for large organizations. Here are some of the key differences between Agile and SAFe Agile:


  1. Scale: Agile is designed for small to medium-sized teams and projects, while SAFe Agile is designed for larger, enterprise-level projects.


  1. Structure: Agile is more flexible and focuses on individual team collaboration, while SAFe Agile has a more defined structure with multiple layers of planning, execution, and review.


  1. Roles: Agile has fewer roles than SAFe Agile, with just a product owner, scrum master, and development team, while SAFe Agile has additional roles like release train engineer, product manager, and solution architect.


  1. Timeframes: Agile sprints usually last two to four weeks, while SAFe Agile has a longer time frame with Program Increments that can last eight to twelve weeks.

Which Methodology is Right for Your Project?


The methodology that is right for your project will depend on several factors, including the size of your team, the complexity of your project, and the level of planning and structure required. Agile is best for small to medium-sized projects that require flexibility and frequent communication. SAFe Agile is better suited for larger, enterprise-level projects that require a more structured approach to planning and execution.


In conclusion, Agile and SAFe Agile have their place in software development. Agile is a flexible and collaborative approach, while SAFe Agile provides a more structured framework for managing complex enterprise-level projects. The methodology you choose should depend on the specific needs of your project and your team.


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Meta Title: What is the Difference Between Agile and SAFe Agile?


Meta Discription: What is the Difference Between Agile and SAFe Agile? Get a quick overview of each and learn which approach is best for your organization.

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