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Scrum of Scrum (Nexus) vs SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework)

Last post 07:22 am May 22, 2019 by Ionut-Adrian Bejenaru
6 replies
02:52 am May 21, 2019

SAFe seems to be more useful in large organisations and SOS in small to medium level organisation.

If a person has completed SOS certifications and the job roles demand  SAFe certifications, does that mean SOS is of low value as compared to SAFe?

03:15 am May 21, 2019

Hello Khurram. I would say that certifications have nothing to do with the question here.  Scrum of Scrums can be and are often used within a SAFe environment.  We have seen people use Nexus, SoS, etc. with SAFe to help the teams work together better. 

04:33 am May 21, 2019

...does that mean SOS is of low value as compared to SAFe?

Why not think of value in terms of the ability to conceive, develop, and release increments of it in one month or less, and so learn about what is useful?

09:15 am May 21, 2019

There are two things here.

First, for clarity, Scrum of Scrums is not Nexus. Scrum of Scrums is a term that comes from Scrum@Scale. Nexus is a different framework for applying Scrum to multiple teams. And for completeness, there is another framework that starts with Scrum at its core but provides guidance for scaling to multiple teams: Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS). Scaled Agile Framework is a different beast and doesn't require Scrum at a team level nor does it necessarily apply Scrum principles and values at higher levels.

Second, with respect to certifications, I don't think you can judge value based on a job posting. If an organization is indicating that a SAFe certification is required or nice to have, it indicates that they have opted into the SAFe framework and would like someone who has obtained and demonstrated (to the best ability of the training and certification program) knowledge of SAFe. How much the company would see value in other scaled agile certification (such as Scrum@Scale Practitioner, Scaled Professional Agile certification, or Certified LeSS Practitioner) depends on the company and the position. Regardless of certification status, knowledge in and understanding of methods for working with one team as well as organizations with multiple teams working on the same product is important and of value.

04:55 pm May 21, 2019

If a person has completed SOS certifications and the job roles demand  SAFe certifications, does that mean SOS is of low value as compared to SAFe?

As with all things agile, the answer to that question is that it depends on the situation. Every company can choose how they want to implement agile practices.  As @Thomas points out, there is very little similarity across any of the scaling frameworks beyond the fact that they all are designed to work with multiple teams. 

My personal opinion is that it is best to know as much as you can on all of the scaling frameworks because it is quite common that you will be using parts of all of them. Same applies to any of the non-scaling frameworks.  For example, SAFe uses a lot of practices from many agile methods. Just look at their diagrams and you will see Kanban, Scrum, eXtreme Programming and Lean represented. 

Certifications are a good thing to start a conversation but I personally don't feel that they are the criteria I would use in selecting a new employee.  Some of the certifications do not really show that you know and can practice the item for which you are certified. I would be looking for relevant experience or the ability to demonstrate knowledge.  If I was interviewing for a job and found that the only relevant credentials they wanted were certifications, I'd respectfully withdraw my application. 

To sum it up, learn as much as you can about everything and then learn how to apply what you know. Everything agile is of equal value if used properly. 

06:14 pm May 21, 2019

@thomas, I didn't say that Scrum of Scrums was Nexus, I put a comma in there between it, but used Nexus and SoS as different examples and SoS was around long before Scrum@Scale.  I totally agree that SAFe doesn't require Scrum, however Scrum certainly can be and is often used with SAFe.

07:22 am May 22, 2019

Hi all.

I have worked multiple times with SAFe and I am still involved now in a development effort using SAFe. I would like to share my worms-eye view on the relation between SAFe and Scrum.

IMHO SAFe and Scrum are in a exclusive relation and thus is that it is not possible to have Professional Scrum within SAFe context. I will list below the most significant three factors to argument this point:

1. There is not single Product Owner or clear accountability over product Development. Instead there is are three different layers of management that decide what is to be build next;
2. The teams are not self-organized. Teams are closely directed and monitored by the Release Train Engineer and the 'Scrum Masters';
3. In SAFe we have various component teams that offer services as platform,UX, Security/Performance;
4. Bonus - the Scrum Master in SAFe is a team lead with clear power and accountability over team's results and process;

This is not a hate discussion it is my humble observation. Please fell free to discredit it.

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