Agile, Scaled Agile Framework, and Scrum have acquired immense popularity in the past few years because of enhanced awareness about these in the management area. You might be the Project Manager who wants to pursue your career in the Agile method or be an organization looking to use the Agile methodology in product development.

This blog helps you to understand these frameworks, their differences, and their implementations thoroughly. Both SAFe and Scrum are based on Lean and Agile principles and values.

The Agile mindset, for beginners, is a thought procedure that includes understanding, learning, collaborating, and remaining flexible to attain high-performing results. Teams can adapt themselves to change and also provide incremental value to the consumers by incorporating an agile perspective with tools and processes. There are many forms of Agile. Scrum is the most popular among all the frameworks.

Let’s understand the definitions of SAFe and Scrum before getting on deeper into the variations between the two.


For Agile development, Scrum is considered a convenient process framework. Scrum has been implemented in organizations of product development widely because of its transparency. Hence, it has gained immense popularity.

The concept of Scrum can be explained in five major steps:
1. A Sizable complex product is broken down into smaller iterations.
2. The iterations’ output is frequently reviewed with the stakeholders.
3. Feedback is incorporated.
4. Getting adjusted to the customer requests.
5. Features are delivered to the market sooner.
These help to provide the highest quality to the customers.

In contrast with conventional project management, Scrum entangles more real development activities with very few plans by the development committee known as sprints or iterations.

The Scrum approach is used to build most websites and applications that we use today. The concept of Scrum originated with software products. It has now been enforced in the FBI, marketing agencies, military, construction companies, etc.

Scaling with complex and larger solutions which expect many teams to work on is the greatest challenge with Scrum. Incorporating Scrum practices with organization-level management functions like portfolio management and program management is another challenge.

This is where SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) arrives at the rescue.


It was designed to provide flexibility to the teams to withstand the challenges you face when Agile is implemented in a large setting.

Let’s take a simple example to understand these two approaches clearly,

Suppose you are willing to open a new textile store for the first time.

You need to conduct a quick inquiry and adapt the method. You need to talk to other textile store owners, understand how they have established, and then you also start your store. Here you adopt the Scrum approach.

After some time, if you are thinking of expanding your business by opening six more textile stores, then you require SAFe as the issues will be incompatible with this situation.

SAFe will provide you with a precise method to bring multiple teams of Agile together into one large Agile Release Train. Scaled Agile Framework will also direct you regarding how one should align their business strategy with implementation.

Similarities between Scrum and SAFe:

As we have discussed in the above scenario, SAFe is the Scaled Agile Framework whereas Scrum is the subset of Agile methodology. Hence, we can see more similarities than differences between Scrum and SAFe.

● Both Scrum and SAFe originated from the Timeboxing strategy: Timeboxing is when time is set for something. The iterations under Scrum are timeboxes. Typically, they last for two weeks. Release trains under SAFe are timeboxes. They last for three months typically.
● Both Scrum and SAFe execute inspect and adapt strategy: In Scrum, an inspection is performed at the verge of every sprint. Similarly, multiple inspections are carried out throughout the release train of SAFe. Development activities are adjusted depending on the inspection results.
● Both Scrum and SAFe perform at Team Level: In both Scrum and SAFe, all development activities are performed at Team Level.
In Scrum, a team develops a sprint plan collectively, participates in day-to-day standup meetings, provides the end outputs, and engages in analytical meetings to improve their process further.
In SAFe, along with the development activities (operated similarly to Scrum), just at value stream level, portfolio level, and program levels, all the activities are attained at the team level, whether it’s a PI planning, iteration planning, ART Syncs, system demo, PO Sync, evaluate and adapt workshops, budget review, solution demo, portfolio sync are carried out as team activities.
● Both Scrum and SAFe need cross-functional and self-organizing teams: The main goal of the smaller product development cycles of Scrum and larger SAFe solution development cycles will be to deliver the highest possible quality to the customers in smaller increments. It enables the customers to get the product in the market sooner.
For this reason, all the members of the team should be cross-functional and self-organizing. They should be able to carry out any task with maximum efficiency. It doesn’t imply that each member of the team has to be a master of all the skills but each team member should have the ability to play several roles.
● SAFe has roles of Scrum: Since SAFe is Agile’s Scaled Framework, and Scrum is Agile’s subset, some of the Scrum roles are existing in SAFe like Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team Members.
● CDP (Continuous Delivery Pipeline) is present in both SAFe and Scrum: CDP represents the activities, workflows, and automation required to lead a new part of functionality from inventiveness to on-demand delivery of the product to the end-user.
Even though it is linked with SAFe and is a high-end concept, plenty of parallels can be noticed between Scrum and CDP’s sprint cycle.
When an Agile team operates on sprint deliverables, it becomes a portion of the continuous integration process.
Discharging a feature, assuring that it operates in a production environment, keeping track of problems, and withstanding the challenges are the portion of a continuous deployment process.
● Ongoing collaboration with stakeholders: Continuous collaboration is promoted by both SAFe and Scrum with stakeholders. Analyzing requirements, getting feedback on deliverables, preparing updates as per the recommendations of the customers, and obtaining their cease before deployment and working together with them after deployment are normal working procedures in SAFe and Scrum.

Differences between Scrum and SAFe

The differences between Scrum and SAFe are at the level of implementation and not at the level of the foundation.

● Scrum is modified by the minor self-organizing teams of agile.

SAFe is adopted as a whole by the big teams of the agile teams in an enterprise.

● The framework of Scrum comprises Scrum Teams, Scrum roles, artifacts, rules, and events.

The framework of SAFe comprises teams of the agile teams, agile teams, lean portfolio management, large solution teams, roles, events, rules, and artifacts.

● One can begin operating with Scrum with PO, SM, and three members of the development team.

To begin with SAFe, one should begin with the Essential SAFe which consists of 50+ members. 5+ Agile teams will be there in a strong Release Train of Agile.

● Scrum is a convenient framework and deals with the concerns of the team associated with product development.

SAFe is an extended framework targeted to facilitate the Business Agility of the company and addresses team, large solutions, teams of teams, and also loan portfolio management.

● Scrum has roles at team levels such as Dev team member, SM, and PO.

SAFe has a large solution level, team level, portfolio level, and teams of the team’s level roles. System Architect, RTE, Epic Owner, Solution Train Engineer, Product Management, and many more.

● Scrum operates best when it is used in companies that have simple organizational structures.

SAFe allows large organizations to extend the “Way of working of Agile” beyond the teams.


As discussed above, both SAFe and Scrum are the outcomes of the same Lean and Agile principles. Hence, they are similar. The only difference between the two is at the level of implementation. Here, the implementation of Scrum is among smaller teams whereas the implementation of SAFe is at the enterprise level with 50+ team members.