Overview of Agile Scaling Frameworks – Webinar Q&A

By: Agile Velocity | Oct 20, 2017 |  Leadership,  Video,  Webinar

High rise buildings stretching up into a foggy sky to represent scaling Agile up and throughout an organizationWe recently hosted a webinar exploring 6 major Agile scaling frameworks: SAFe®, DAD, LeSS, Nexus™, Scrum at Scale, and Enterprise Scrum. We had a blast, but we were unable to address all the questions asked during the Q&A portion.

You can find the recording below. We also took some time after the webinar to answer the remaining questions (below embedded video). We hope you were able to shed some light on the different scaling practices. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We will also be creating a white paper about scaling, with extensive coverage on SAFe®.

Overview of Agile Scaling Frameworks – Webinar Recording

1.What framework best fits (or is most adopted) by highly-regulated enterprises (such as financial services, healthcare, etc)?

Both SAFe® and DAD have constructs that make working in a regulated environment easier, such as solution intent, a repository for requirements, and traceability maps.

2. How do these frameworks handle the “exceptions”—last minute, high-priority items that do not fit into the regular timeline? How do you short-circuit the process?

All of the frameworks include the concept of a prioritized backlog, and several have backlogs for different levels. When a high-priority item comes in, the Product Owner (or content manager at the appropriate level) orders the request at or near the top of the Product Backlog. At the next Iteration Planning meeting, the new request is likely chosen.

3. Is there a checklist/comparison chart to pick the right and possibly best framework for an organization?

There are several comparison charts available from various sources. One good one is from Box. We certainly advise the use of an Enterprise Agile Coach to help you make the right decision, as it is often not just a single framework—most enterprises need a custom solution.

4. Do you have a list of companies or products that have successfully adopted each of these frameworks?

These lists and case studies are available on the websites for each framework.

5. Do these methodologies apply to other departments in an organization (with many departments e.g finance, marketing, etc.) OR are they meant for the IT Departments of organizations and software companies (whose only product is software)?

Each of these frameworks is generic and work quite nicely in non-IT environments. Over the last 10 years, more and more organizations such as HR, Marketing, Sales, Operation, etc. are using Agile and scaled solutions.

6. I’ve got about 5-7 Agile teams about to be realigned to newly defined product lines, most currently use Scrumban for execution. I’m leaning towards recommending LeSS to leverage the familiarity with ceremonies and cadence. We don’t have a critical need to incorporate business side at this time, which is why SAFe® was lower. Any pitfalls you see with this approach?

No pitfalls at all. LeSS is a great choice for you, especially if you would like to introduce some Lean economics type thinking into your organization. You may also want to take another look at Essential SAFe®. It is a 2-level approach for Agile teams and Agile programs (no business level).

7. Any quick advice on how to tell if an organization is “doing Scrum well”?

The classic evidence of “doing Scrum well” at the team level is each team is delivering business value each iteration, they are using WIP Limits to optimize flow, and they have tangible evidence of improvements over time.

8. Is the assumption for all these scaling models that “all teams will follow Scrum”? Are there any models for scaling that accommodate organizations with Scrum and Kanban teams?

Absolutely. Both SAFe® and DAD accommodate Scrum and Kanban teams quite nicely. Nexus™, LeSS, Enterprise Scrum, and Scrum at Scale are focused only on Scrum.


If you’re specifically looking to start a SAFe® implementation, we recommend starting with Leading SAFe® training. You can explore our public and private training options on our Leading SAFe® training page by clicking here

2 Responses to “Overview of Agile Scaling Frameworks – Webinar Q&A”

  1. VP Krishnan

    The question #6 above talks about leaving out the business. I am a little confused. Is the product owner not representing the business. Either this is a purely IT-oriented project that is not solving a business problem or something else. What am I missing?

    • Mike Hall

      VP: good question needing clarification. In #6 above, the questioner was simply asking is LeSS a good option if they are undergoing an IT transformation. They are not yet ready for a business transformation. I am assuming that their POs still represent the customer/business voice within their teams.

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