SAFe and LeSS
Different solutions to the
of scaling Scrum
SAFe @Space conference, 2018.11.06
The starting point
Our company develops IT system.
Our system is large and is developed by hundreds persons.
We introduced Scrum in team X or area Y – and it worked very well
What we can do to be agile for development of big system – not only on team
Answers for the questions (i.e. „how many POs do we need?”)
Good and proven practices
Difference 1 – scope of the framework
From single team to Enterprise From single team to set of teams that
build common product
What scope of the framework do I really need?
Do I want to use the framework to organize my company?
Do I want to use the framework to organize development my product?
Difference 2 – number of elements
Over 80 elements About 20 elements
„barely sufficient framework”
Do I want tailor down or extend the framework?
What is maturity of my organization?
What is risk of leaving not redundand elements in my organization?
Difference 3 – backlogs
LeSS: one common Product Backlog
- Product Backlog
- Requirement Area Backlogs
How much effort is needed for maintaining common backlog for several teams?
How does work on Team Backlog affect moving between the teams?
How does work on Team Backlog affect understanding of whole system?
What tool is needed for maintaining Program Backlog and many Team backlogs?
How much effort is needed for maintaining Program Backlog and many Team
Difference 4 – number of Product Owners
Product Owner per 1-2 teams Product Owner per 1-8 teams
What is accessibility of Product Owners to team members?
What is the need of synchronization between Product Owners?
What is the risk of making local optimizations?
How to organize long-term planning with cadences?
How to organize long-term planning without candences?
What is the risk of staying at „we deploy ate end of cadence” approach?
What is the cost of changing the direction in the middle of the candence?
Difference 6 – System Team
There is System Team at ART level or
at Solution Train level (or both).
No support groups such as
continuous integration support, or
“quality and process”.
The System Team’s primary responsibilities are:
• Building Development Infrastructure
• System Integration
• End-to-End and Solution Performance Testing
• System and Solution Demos
Do we believe we can spread all the function over Development Teams?
Which setup is easier to create?
What is needed maturity level in both models?
What is the risk of bottlenecks in both models?
What is the risk of blaming game („it’s not my responsibility”) in both models?
Difference 7 – components vs feature teams
„To ensure highest feature
throughput, SAFe generally
recommends a mix of perhaps 75-
80% feature teams and 20-25%
Strong emphasis on feature teams
Do we believe that we can have features teams only?
Can we have shared code ownership?
What is the impact of the setup to number of dependencies?
What is the impact of the setup to Time-To-Market?
Difference 8 – co-location
Co-location is desirable, but not
Co-location is required.
Team-based LeSS organization has the following structure:
• Dedicated teams – Each team member is dedicated for 100%
of his time to one and only one Team
• Cross-functional teams – Each team contains all functional
skills needed to produce a shippable product.
• Co-located teams – Each team is co-located in the same
• Long-lived teams – A Team stays together ‘forever.’
(...) If at all possible, teams are collocated to facilitate hourly
and daily communication. (...)
What is the cost of creation co-located team?
What is the cost of working in distributed team?
Difference 9 – role of managers
A lot of responsibilities... „Managers are capacity builders.”
• Understand customer needs and validate solutions
• Understand and support portfolio work
• Develop and communicate the program vision and roadmap
• Manage and prioritize the flow of work
• Participate in PI planning
• Define releases and program increments
• Work with System Architect/Engineering to understand
• Participate in demos and Inspect and Adapt (I&A)
• Build an effective Product Manager/Product Owner team
Which model is closer to my expectation about manager’s role?
What is impact of the model to self-organization of the team?
What is maturity level of the team in my organization?
Difference 10 – the place of Scrum
The upper layer for merging work of
many Scrum teams
One Scrum for many teams
Do we want to have coordination layer above Development Teams or as part of
The bonus difference – trainings and badges
...plus 3 BETA Courses
• SAFe for Government
• SAFe Agile Software Engineering
• SAFE System and Solution Architect
Certified LeSS Practitioner:
Principles to Practices
Certified LeSS for Executives:
Principles, Organization, and
Certified LeSS Basics: Short one-
day Teaser to LeSS
How important is accessibility of the trainings and consultants?
As the summary...
Frameworks are different.
It’s good to know more than one framework.
Let’s use the differences as opportunity to ask the questions and develop our
“There are no such things as best practices. There are only practices that are good
within a certain context”