Scrum vs. SAFe

We often see, specifically the new on-boarders of Scrum, trying to figure out the difference between Scrum & SAFe. I will try to explain this difference here in a very simple, lucid & concise way, Reason – I want it easy for the new boarders to grasp & not many of us like reading very long articles

Let’s start with the definitions, in our own words

Scrum is an iterative method of product development that focuses on a regular cadence of delivery. It relies on cross-functional teams, a set of ceremonies & some specific supporting roles to help drive these deliveries.

SAFe tands for “Scalable Agile Framework.” It defines an approach for scaling Scrum to make it work for bigger enterprises that has much bigger teams working on the same product than what Scrum recommends

To summarise we can say Agile is a way of working, a mindset. Scrum is a framework, which claims that it is based on the Agile values and principles. SAFe is a scaling framework to implement scrum at the enterprise level.


A big challenge with Scrum is in scaling it to larger and more complex projects that require multiple teams and also integrating it with enterprise-level management functions such as program management and overall product/project portfolio management.

Two popular methods emerged to facilitate this: the scrum of scrums, and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Both are great starting points for scaling agile within an organization.

Scrum of Scrum:

When several scrum teams work together on a large project, scrum of scrums is the natural next step for scaling agile. The main component of scrum of scrums is a multi-team stand-up. This is not a status meeting. It’s a short meeting, usually 15 mins., with ideally a technical representative from each team. This meeting helps keep people informed across the Organisation.

It will open doors for knowledge-sharing and surface important integration issues.

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe):

Another way to scale agile in large organizations is SAFe. SAFe takes a more structured approach to scale agile than scrum of scrums. SAFe describes three levels in the organization: portfolio, program, and team. This structure goes well with larger organizations as it applies a tiered approach for the delivery of work.†