Scrum vs SAFe

About 93% of companies say that they use project management practices in their work. Yet, the average IT project went over budget by 27%.

That’s a huge gap between understanding standard practices and implementing them. There are a number of challenges that project managers face. They aren’t well-trained, work on too many projects at once, and don’t have a proper budget to work from.

They also don’t apply the right project management framework to suit the needs of the project. They’ll look at Scrum vs SAFe, and overlook the key benefits of each one.

All of these things lead to delays and mismanagement. Employees wind up frustrated, and budgets start to balloon out of control.

How can you and your company reign in the costs and time spent on the most important projects? It starts by choosing the right project management framework.

Read on to learn about Scrum and SAFe, and when it’s best to choose each framework.

A Quick Look at Agile

At the top of the project management framework, you’ll discover Agile. This is a set of project management guidelines that were first implemented by Toyota’s car manufacturing plants in the 1980s.

The efficiency that came out of this method of project management transformed the car industry. Other car manufacturers toured the Toyota plants and applied Agile to their own companies.

Agile was such a useful framework that went to transform software development, IT, and other types of manufacturing.

There are a couple of ways that Agile was revolutionary at the time and it still used today. The first is that people working on a project or within an organization are treated as individuals.

These individuals have different motivations to perform at their best. The Agile framework allows project managers to apply different management styles to adapt to the individual.

The other thing that sets Agile apart is that the guidelines are just guidelines. Other project management frameworks tend to focus only on the exact processes to get to the end goal.

Agile is about the end result, not so much how you get to that result. That gives managers a lot of flexibility to adjust and adapt along the way.

What Is Scrum?

Within the Agile framework is Scrum. It’s used in projects that have a definite beginning and end.

Scrum is like reverse-engineering a project. You break down the project into specific benchmarks. These benchmarks will have a time period and deadline assigned.

Each benchmark is a sprint. The sprint is an intense time period where everyone on the team is working together.

Where does this framework get its name? There are regularly scheduled check-in meetings with team members and all other stakeholders. This is the opportunity to uncover challenges, collaborate, and overcome obstacles.

There is a hierarchy within Scrum. There’s the Scrum Master, who’s in charge of running the meeting. They are at the top of the hierarchy and bear the ultimate responsibility of the project.

Another important role within Scrum is the project owner. This person is responsible for seeing the end result from the customer’s perspective. They may reach out to the customer for feedback and adjustments during certain sprints.

A project can’t be complete without the programmers and developers. These are the people who are responsible for working hard during the sprints to create a viable product.

What Is SAFe?

Now, here’s where the pieces start to fall into place and these different frameworks make sense. SAFe stands for Scaled Agile Framework.

There are similarities with Scrum, but it’s applied to the entire organization. The SAFe framework is a set of guidelines that assigns specific roles and responsibilities to team members. It’s commonly used to manage a large number of teams working in Scrum.

SAFe also has key roles within the framework. There’s the Business Owner, who’s responsible for the entire business.

The Solution Architect is responsible for creating and implementing the vision across the entire organization. The Program Manager ensures the project is delivered with specific features and all aspects are communicated effectively.

The Release Train Engineer makes sure that all teams work well together.

Scrum vs SAFe: Which One Is Better?

What’s the difference between Scrum and SAFe?

There isn’t necessarily a way to compare scrum and SAFe. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. They’re both excellent frameworks to apply to projects.

It’s that one framework is much better than the other under certain circumstances. For instance, where you and a team are assigned to work on a specific project, you’ll benefit from using Scrum.

Now, if you want to apply Scrum and Agile to your entire organization that’s spread all over the world, you’ll turn to SAFe.

How can you begin to apply SAFe to the entire organization? You have to take a broad approach to the organization. It’s all about agility within the organization, whether you work in an enterprise or a government organization.

You’ll have to train the leaders in your organization on SAFe methodologies. You can do so with a Scaled Agile certification.

You’ll then need to identify opportunities to create a Lean-Agile organization.

From there, the leaders in the organization create a plan to implement the changes and start to execute. It’s a long process to become a lean organization.

It’s worth it when the organization is more productive and efficient.

Scrum or SAFe? It’s an Easy Decision

One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a project manager is which framework you use to complete the project and manage your team.

When you compare Scrum vs SAFe, you’ll find that the choice rather simple. They are both Agile frameworks, but they have different purposes.

Scrum is meant to manage small teams and foster collaboration. SAFe also encourages a collaborative environment, but it applies to the entire organization, not just a singular team.

Do you have more questions about running an efficient business? Head over to the Business section of this site.

By Sambit