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How Do Different Enterprise Agile Frameworks Compare? 6 Effective Ways Of Scaling Agile Across Multiple Teams

September 8, 2023
Bill Kimball

The biggest stumbling blocks for enterprises, while scaling agile is inconsistency and lack of transparency. With multiple teams being involved in large integrated solutions, it is obvious that teams end up adopting different sets of practices. Enterprise Agile frameworks came into existence precisely to solve this problem. They are process ‘blueprints’ which come with a set of Agile practices, org structure, roles, and other recommendations. With Agile gaining far more prominence in the last decade or so, lots of enterprise agile frameworks have burst onto the scene. With so many frameworks out in the market, enterprises are spoilt for choice. We have handpicked a few powerful Agile frameworks, which have gained significant traction in the Agile world and collated their strengths and weaknesses.

SAFe’s core values describe the culture that leadership needs to foster and how people should behave within that culture in order to effectively use the framework. It’s these “cards” that signal when a task is ready to be moved to the next phase in the development process. Your scale-up strategy depends greatly on the answers to these particular questions. Software engineering leaders must transform themselves and their organizations to become more resilient, adaptable and effective. If you appreciate picking the best approaches and tools for each aspect, Disciplined Agile may be your winner. They quickly experienced problems with it even though at the time they weren’t all that big yet.

The variety in scaled agile frameworks, the structure and practices they advocate, and what specific issues they address, varies. But many organizations have had great success evolving their processes, teams, and cultures using frameworks for scaling agile. Organizations that are further along may have scaled agile practices in play .

agile enterprise framework

It provides guidance on three levels for product delivery in a scaled agile environment and adds guidance on extending agile across your enterprise with its fourth, portfolio level. Enterprise Agile Frameworks are the answer, which is why they are being readily adopted by organizations of all sizes, business complexity, and agile maturity to scale smart.

Nexus Sprint Retrospective to review how the teams and their shared processes and tools functioned. It closes the sprint, so it follows the individual teams’ retrospectives. In SoS, team representatives meet in a daily scrum of scrums to discuss completed work and the next steps needed to tackle dependencies.

Challenges Of Scaling Agile Principles And Practices

The more choices they eliminate, the easier it is to identify the best path forward and produce the best possible outcome for customers. This principle addresses uncertainty by bringing in the concept of set-based design, which calls for retaining multiple requirements and design options for a longer period in the development cycle. The set-based design also relies on empirical data to narrow the focus on the final design option further in the process. The Nexus Integration Team deals with integration issues that would prevent the Nexus from delivering an integrated product increment.

To put things in perspective, this research paper was launched way back in 1986! If the traditional approach was being questioned back then, it definitely needs to be relooked at now. Enterprises need to adopt agile practices to stay relevant in a market which has become extremely dynamic due to proliferation of digital technologies. Agile practices enable enterprises to deliver solutions faster with better quality by considerably shortening the feedback loop. Implementing agile at the individual team level is relatively easy – the benefits are clear and the resources are plenty (like this very microsite!).

Value Streams help you tie your strategies together and improve each part of your business in the context of the whole. Disciplined DevOps extends standard DevOps — streamlining development and operations — by integrating security and data management. Nexus Sprint Planning to coordinate the work of all teams in the Nexus. It’s an example of how LeSS is one of the least prescriptive frameworks around. While understandable from an overall planning perspective, this goes almost entirely against what Kanban is about, and reduces the flexibility and agility that is inherent in Kanban. In other words, they have to participate in other teams’ Scrum events — not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a top-down collaborative event and planning cycle on top of and overarching the standard Scrum Sprint cycle or cadence in Kanban.

Five Powerful Enterprise Agile Frameworks

CollabNet also offers consulting services and partners with a range of domain experts to help customers plan and execute their journey to Enterprise Agile with DevOps and VSM. There is a wide variety of Enterprise Agile Frameworks available in the market today, some have been around for decades while others have recently emerged. Gartner’s new report, Market Guide for Enterprise Agile Frameworks, explains the 13 major Agile frameworks, how much they differ, and why they are not interchangeable. Some organizations may even need two frameworks, depending on the structure of the enterprise. Others may start with one framework and then switch to different one that is a better fit for them. Therefore, it is important to carefully evaluate these frameworks, ideally with the help of a consulting service, to determine the best match for a given organization. Large Solution is for enterprises building large and complex solutions, which do not require the portfolio level’s constructs.

These behemoths have many portfolios, with large applications requiring multiple teams, complex systems, diverse operating environments, and multiple vendors, making their Agile transformation journey a herculean task. In their research paper titled ‘The New New Product Development Game’, Hirotaka and Ikujiro observed that the sequential approach to developing products is not best suited to the fast-paced competitive world. Instead, they recommended a rugby approach for enterprises to attain speed and flexibility to meet the ever-changing market requirements. The rugby approach refers to the Agile way of working with practices like small batch sizes, incremental development, self-organizing teams, enhanced collaboration, cross-functional teams, and continuous learning. Enterprises need to adopt agile practices to stay relevant in a market which has become extremely dynamic due to the proliferation of digital technologies. To the defence of these large enterprises, scaling Agile is easier said than done.

But while large enterprises all might agree on the need for scaling agile frameworks, how to do it and what it looks like is a completely different discussion. While these frameworks are the most popular ones, they do not necessarily guarantee success.

agile enterprise framework

You will see her cracking the enterprise agility code with our customers. Unlike the rest of the frameworks described, Disciplined Agile is a toolkit that enables organizations to decide what way of working makes the most sense to fit them.

Business Hours

The development teams will still get into detailed refinement 2-3 iterations ahead, only getting into detailed task plans for the next iteration. As you can see, when examined closely, these agile scaling frameworks incorporate common organizational patterns involved in scaling agile. Regardless of whether or not you adopt a framework, we believe that by adopting some or all of these core patterns, you can reap many of the benefits of scaling agile in your organization. Similar to Principle #3, this principle addresses risk and uncertainty through learning milestones.

  • It’s still worth discussing it briefly because it’s widely adopted, it’s an explicit part of , and many other frameworks use the basic idea to structure coordination across multiple teams.
  • It provides a solid foundation from which to scale agile solution delivery within enterprise-class organizations.
  • Then you might want to consider going with Nexus or LeSS, which are known for their flexibility.
  • We have handpicked a few powerful Agile frameworks, which have gained significant traction in the Agile world and collated their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Enter, Atlassian’s Jira Align, an enterprise agile planning platform built for SAFe.
  • Organizations need to become agile across the board so they can rapidly deliver software and respond swiftly to market changes, customer needs, and competitive threats.

A framework helps you avoid reinventing the wheel with regard to the structure, processes and the principles to follow for you to become agile. The main tools for this are autonomous teams, alignment on values and goals, and accountability and transparency at every level — both up and down what remains of an original hierarchical structure. Or maybe you’ve been working in an agile manner with your team for several years and now want to adopt agile practices across your entire enterprise. Maybe you already have several teams working according to agile principles and you’ve run into some barriers that are holding you back from getting all the benefits. Check out five Enterprise Agile frameworks that act as process ‘blueprints’ providing a set of Agile practices, org structure, roles, and other recommendations. CollabNet VersionOne solutions are unique in their ability to support each of the main frameworks and goes beyond that to provide enterprise VSM solutions, in fact the company pioneered VSM for DevOps.

The Rise Of Enterprise Agile Frameworks

Portfolio SAFe provides portfolio strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and Lean governance. It supports building large, integrated solutions that typically require hundreds of people to develop and maintain. Portfolio SAFe includes concerns for strategic direction, investment funding, and lean governance. Dependencies between squads are few and handled through Scrum of Scrums when they occur. Knowledge sharing is enabled through “chapters” and “guilds,” informal groups organized based on skill sets and interests.

Scaling Blues

Whatever your situation, you’ve heard about Scaled Agile Frameworks and wonder whether it’s worth investing in one of them to get you to the next level. Advanced topics are supplemental articles that provide additional guidance for SAFe. Essential is the most basic configuration of the framework, and it provides the minimal elements necessary to be successful with SAFe. Jile™ is an Enterprise Agile Planning and Delivery Tool from Tata Consultancy Services Ltd that helps companies of all sizes continuously build and deliver valuable software faster.


Scaling agile frameworks is a cultural transformation, where the business’ people, practices, and tools are committed to improving collaboration and the organization’s ability to execute against its strategy. Jessica Piikkila has been in the agile transformation business for over 10 years with deep roots in product management and agile coaching across multiple industries and capacities. The agile mindset has gotten her through tough personal challenges in life and fosters her love of learning.

Regardless of whether you plan to use a framework or simply some practices, consider the below as guiding principles for what can be borrowed or formalized in your own organization. You must surely have your doubts when it comes to scaling agile across your entire organization. Yes, scaling agile can be an intimidating prospect, but each of these Scaled Agile Frameworks and approaches is designed to help you on your journey. Its four principles and six practices guide you in optimizing workflow, focusing on customer needs and expectations, encouraging leadership at every level, and continually learning and improving.

DAD basically builds upon recommendations from other frameworks like Scrum, XP, Enterprise Unified process and SAFe. This best of all frameworks approach might create more chaos in a large enterprise with multiple teams.

While SAFe continues to be recognised as the most common approach to scaling agile practices ,, it also has received criticism for being too hierarchical and inflexible. Agile at scale is the ability to drive agile at the team level, while applying the same sustainable principles, practices, and outcomes at other layers of the organization. I didn’t include Spotify as a scaled agile framework for several reasons. Following these principles helps you align the right people, deliver high-quality solutions customers want, and respond to threats and opportunities. How to make agile practices work across a large portfolio of many teams and lots of developers. Depending on their goals, networks of Scrum teams come together to form an ecosystem. The purpose of S@S is to create a network of Scrum teams through a ‘scale-free architecture,’ meaning, basic Scrum roles and events are linearly scaled without introducing new process dynamics.

The emergence of enterprise agile frameworks addresses the needs of application leaders delivering digital business solutions by enabling them to scale agile development. This Market Guide provides a snapshot of this evolving market and profiles of its most visible providers. Disciplined Agile , previously referred to as Disciplined Agile Delivery , is a learning-oriented process decision framework for IT solution delivery. It provides a solid foundation from which to scale agile solution delivery within enterprise-class organizations. DA utilizes scrum and kanban, along with transformation knowledge in areas like HR and finance, governance, DevOps, portfolio management.