Scaled Agile vs. Discipline Agile: Comparing Levels & Projects - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1699 Words
Date:  2023-08-28


Scaled agile frameworks and discipline agile enterprises are similar in the sense they both implement the use of existing lean and agile principles or techniques to initiate projects. Meanwhile, scaled agile frameworks usually formulate into large scale projects while DA is meant for small-scale projects. In terms of their levels, SAFe consists of three levels while DA has five. SAFe comprise of team, program, and portfolio process. DA has five levels namely: concept, inception, construction and transition and production, for a high-level lifecycle, but three for a basic level lifecycle (inception, construction and transition) (Medinilla, 2012).

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Depth and Breadth

The depth of SAFe is defined by their ability to use the portfolio strategy in doing optimization and conversion of massive epics into distinctive smaller initiatives which can efficiently be run throughout the process. So, the alignment of team-program to the portfolio increases SAFe's breadth of coverage (Adler, 2019). DA also has a broader coverage because it defines several roles and responsibilities by specialists in the inception and construction stages (“17 Disciplined Agile Development,” 2017). Well-defined roles make the framework applicable to various levels within an organization. Besides, the constriction stage outlines a holistic and a pragmatic way, of the architecture and design for the project. Moreover, transition level states how deep, the risks can be identified before the final delivery of the project.

Organization Design

Architectural design in an organization using SAFe model often referred to as a team of teams has a group of workers or employees working in various teams, that are interconnected in an agile to produce multiple products (Ageling, 2019). The teams which are organized and managed by particular leaders work jointly to provide a continuous delivery pipeline that produces an outcome to be optimized by the portfolio. Because it operates for large scale projects, SAFe applies values, practices and a set of collaborations which are all embraced using specific DevOps to prevent any potential delays. In contrast, disciplined agile is always goal-based. In other words, while scale agile frameworks provide instructions of what should be done, disciplined agile explains how every role should be done. The method is more practical and allows the teams in an organization to perform their tasks even in the absence of a leader, to realize more efficient goals Ibrahim (Alzoubi et al., 2015). This is why DA has three elements, inception, construction and transition, each of which provides a piece of experienced-based advice or recommendations of how modelling can be done using an integrated user interphase UI, to connect the teams, rather than using leaders (Atlassian, 2020).


Program Events

The program level of SAFe is the busiest of all the stages, as the actual development process of the system takes place here. System engineers, product managers, training engineers and business owners are often used in this level to perform the events (Ambler, 2009). At the program level, the scrum is adjusted by one level up, and the number of sprint cycles also increase to five. However, an additional sixth sprint known as information planning is usually inclusive, to facilitate the process of innovation, inspection and adaption with the system. Similar activities take place in the construction phase of DA. During this stage, the configuration of initially defined activities is done in the form of a package, to provide the actual framework towards the delivery stage. Besides, the package allows various specialists to suggest a consumable solution, that sufficiently meets the needs of the stakeholders. It, therefore, indicates that, despite the differences of frameworks to implement project deliverables, both program and construction phases act as the backbone of the system development process using SAFe or DA.

Team Events

For the team events in SAFe, a team of teams usually have the responsibility of collaborating closely with the product owner and scrum to create project interphase and make iteration plans or objectives based on the stakeholder and customer's needs. All estimations and complexities of the entire project are also done in this stage. With DA, the activities can be linked to the inception stage, which develops the iteration plans before their actual implementation. In this case, DAD more or less acts as a hybrid of itself and SAFe, because all the major activities done in team level are done in this stage. In both, it can be observed that the steps are critical, because ineffective planning for the PI, could potentially pose difficulties in the subsequent stages.


SAFe Agile teams have two critical roles of scrum master and product owner. All other teams within the train mutually collaborate to contribute to the organization’s vision. It is achievable because the teams use a given roadmap to allow each team to participate in the architectural design. Besides, it is their mandate to build a regular delivery pipeline and other DevOps possibilities. In DA, the roles are subdivided into ten subsections. Five of which are primary roles and different five supportive roles. Stakeholder, team members, team leaders, product owners and architectural owner are all granted a central role in the system development process. Therefore, DA is more effective since each team in the entire organization has a role to play. Identification of risks and challenges is thus possible since the roadmap within an organization is not much complex.


SAFe artefacts may be associated with more essential tooling environments. They may be classified per level. For instance, portfolio level constitutes to artefacts such as strategic themes, portfolio visions, epics, enabler epics, and backlogs and lean business cases. On the program level, secondary artefacts are: definition of features, PI objectives, program board and backlog and enabling features (Bass, 2016). Finally, team level, which acts as the initiation stage of the product development circle, contains artefacts such as stories, iteration goal and team backlog. In contrast, the artefacts of DA are goal-driven instead of prescriptive (Bass, 2016). Therefore, its artefacts are categorized based on the roles and recommendations for each specific level and agile team. At its initial scope, it supports the following artefacts: definition of modelling strategies, and non-functional requirements (“Disciplined Agile Business Analysis,” 2015). To explore all the needs during the construction phase so that a consumable solution is produced, DA supports development strategies, reasons and solutions for exploration, planning, and offering conformability assurances (Nyholm, 2018). Finally, DA ensures that its supports the following artefacts, before the actual product delivery to ascertain that all the changes in stakeholder needs or risks are addressed: forming management strategies for each work item, prioritizing policies, reform of acceptance during iteration, improving stakeholder involvement with the team and suggesting suitable elicitation methods.


Scale agile framework is built on six fundamental principles: Lean agile principle, core values, lean-agile leadership, mindset, communities of practice such as a group of people and implementation (Francino, 2016). In other words, SAFe usually stresses on the value-focused methods in the process of scaling agile at all the enterprise levels. Its implementation helps the entire system development team to answer the questions of "How best to plan?" “How to schedule?" "How to budget?", and ways of becoming a cross-functional in the architectural and DevOps works (Heusser, 2015).

However, the foundation in the Disciplined Agile (DA) takes a negligible drift from the foundations of SAFe. It should be understood that DA is a hybrid framework, that does not ignore the features by other agile methods but rather compliments them to make the outcome more satisfactory. Similar to DA, its foundation begins with lean- agile principles (Tambo & Koumaditis, 2019). Meanwhile, it follows by focusing majorly on the roles of various specialists and within an entire organization. By using the existing lean and agile principles, DA continues to solution deliveries, IT operations, specific enterprise architecture, management for the portfolio, securities, finance, and management of vendor (Heusser, 2015).

The DA framework, therefore, incorporates all the processes and activities within an organization simply and straightforwardly to deliver a consumable solution, that best corresponds to the stakeholder specifications and customer demands (Hopkins & Harcombe, 2014). Its foundation is more robust because it also offers room for eliminating any potential errors before the delivery process. Based on its foundation variables, an organization, can smoothly run the development process using various agile teams, who are working on their respective roles, to deliver an efficient product.


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