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Scrum vs SAFe

Scrum vs SAFe: Key Differences You Should Know

Jan 05, 20234 mins readAmit Masih
Scrum vs SAFe: Key Differences You Should Know

There are two popular frameworks that run on Agile and Lean principles: Scrum and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®). In spite of their similarities, Scrum and SAFe have a few subtle distinctions that can help avoid confusion. At first glance, Scrum and SAFe may look the same, but they have subtle differences.

What is Scrum?

With regular practice, implementation, and a proactive attitude, Scrum is a straightforward framework for organizing and implementing solutions. When teams and small-scale organizations use Scrum, productivity and innovation can be increased, leading to the delivery of maximum value no matter how complex the issue is. Scrum is ideally suited to small-scale organizations and teams.

Scrum is an iterative method that breaks down a task into smaller, manageable steps, making it more achievable. It promotes frequent delivery and the use of results from cross-functional teams, guided by a specific set of rules. The process is carried out by three key roles within the organization: the product owner, scrum master, and scrum team. The product owner plays a crucial role by outlining the product's schedule, organizing it, and keeping all stakeholders informed. The scrum master is responsible for ensuring that the work is completed within sprints, and the scrum team works to complete the project.

Three key roles make Scrum possible: planning, organizing, administering, and optimizing processes:

  • The Product Owner is responsible for planning, organizing, and communicating with the company.
  • Scrum Master: Scrum Masters take care of the job during sprints.
  • Scrum Team: Scrum teams are responsible for executing sprint tasks.

What is SAFe?

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) is a framework that enables the implementation of business strategy. It is an organizational framework rather than being focused on teams or individuals and is used to scale the scrum framework to achieve desired outcomes. SAFe takes into account past tasks and products while planning, which is crucial for the growth and advancement of the company by providing an overall perspective rather than focusing on a specific point in time.

SAFe is composed of three components: lean product development, agile software development, and system thinking. It is considered a mindset while Scrum is a framework that is based on Agile.

What is the difference between Scrum and SAFe?

There are considerable differences between SAFe and Scrum, including how they scale, focus, and function, as well as the appropriateness and ease of use in each case.

Here are some comparisons between SAFe and scrum:


  • Involves small, co-located, cross-functional teams
  • Used by Agile Teams
  • No involvement of middle management
  • Built around the Scrum Team
  • Lacks certain key elements.


  • Handles large, geographically dispersed teams
  • Implemented by entire enterprises, not just individual teams (an extension of Scrum)
  • Includes important elements of program and portfolio management
  • Built around the Agile Release Train (ART)
  • Provides a comprehensive approach for managing all aspects of an organization.

How to choose the right Agile Framework?

You should keep in mind that there isn't a one-size-fits-all Agile Framework. Factors to consider when choosing the right Agile Framework include:

  • The specific context and goals of the organization
  • The level of management involvement in the project
  • The size of the company and its organizational structure
  • The type of project being managed
  • The needs and preferences of stakeholders.


Recently, Scrum and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) have both gained widespread adoption. Both frameworks are based on Agile and Lean principles and values, but they differ in their approach to the Agile methodology. One significant distinction between Scrum and SAFe is how they are implemented.

In the context of Scrum, SAFe was designed to fill a gap by incorporating continuous improvement mechanisms such as release planning and retrospectives that Scrum does not.

Keep Reading
SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) Certification: All You Need to Know
SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) Certification: All You Need to Know
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