Among various software development methodologies, Agile, including Agile testing, stands out for its iterative style of development, accelerated testing and delivery, and cross-functional team collaboration. It allows the development of better quality products and allows companies to have a greater appetite for change. By fostering teamwork, responsibility, and self-organization, Agile facilitates the rapid delivery of high-quality software solutions aligned with customer needs and organizational goals. It’s no wonder that business enterprises have embraced Agile to jump-start digital transformation.
With Agile comes scrum, which organizations can use to manage the development of high-quality software solutions. As a subset of Agile and a project management framework, scrum helps disparate teams work together by breaking down silos and continually improving through better learning experiences. It enables teams to build, test, deliver, and maintain complex software solutions. By understanding team meetings, role selection and execution, and the use of tools, scrum facilitates the effective management of a project.
Until methodologies like Agile and Scrum are used at a single team level, they are manageable and deliver the desired results. However, challenges arise when teams and the scale of projects grow. It is at such times that new Agile approaches are needed, including adopting an Agile testing approach to scale: SAFe, SoS, or LeSS.
What are SAFe, SoS and LeSS?
SURE: Known as the Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe happens to be the world’s leading framework for scaling Agile in an organization. It helps organizations deliver value continuously and on a predictable schedule through proven principles, rules, and practices. SAFe promotes collaboration, alignment, and product delivery across Agile teams. It defines a culture, which management and other stakeholders must follow effectively to achieve organizational goals. SAFe’s core values are alignment, transparency, integrated quality, and program execution. Fosters better lean-based decision making across organizational and functional boundaries.
Call for help: Scrum of Scrums happens to be the oldest agile scaling framework for integrating the work of multiple Scrum teams working on a single project. It facilitates communication between teams to ensure each team’s delivery result is aligned with other teams’ results, even when there is an overlapping sequence of events. The actual coordination between the teams takes place in a meeting where each team is represented by a designated scrum master. In case the material under discussion is highly technical, the scrum master along with a technically qualified team member may attend the meeting. The goal of the Scrum of Scrums is to ensure that individual teams achieve their sprint goals in alignment with the overall organizational goal.
Less: Large Scaled Scrum is a multi-team framework that works on a single project. It begins with the formation of a Scrum team and is gradually applied to multiple teams working on the same project. The LeSS framework enables the application of scrum-based principles and ideals to a large enterprise using proven rules. LeSS is concerned with creating accountable teams that are more collaborative and customer oriented. It highlights attributes such as learning, transparency, and customer-centric value delivery to keep organizations responsive, agile, and competitive.
SAFe, SoS and LeSS: the difference
The differences between the three frameworks can be explained in terms of the following set of parameters:
Methodology in use: LeSS and SoS are based solely on the scrum methodology, applying its approaches, practices, and roles to a large number of teams working on a single project. Therefore, teams already working on Scrum find it easy to use these two frameworks without undergoing a reorganization.
However, SAFe is based on Agile as a whole and adapts its values to a large company. It allows various teams in an organization to choose their methods, such as an agile testing framework to scale: Scrum, Kanban and others. It takes more effort to implement, but gives teams the freedom to choose their frameworks.
Size of the company: For companies that have a smaller number of Scrum teams, SoS is a better option for coordinating work, as it ensures everyone is on the same page. LeSS and SAFe are the ideal frameworks for scaling Agile for a large organization.
Company structure: SoS allows for better coordination between teams and defines the team structure, but does not offer coverage for all levels of the portfolio. This makes it ideal for managing day-to-day operations on a smaller scale, but fails when it comes to realizing the long-term vision. LeSS increases portfolio levels and facilitates a better understanding of the company structure. However, SAFe allows for a complete set of defined rules for the structure of the business and creates an environment for Agile to be adopted.
Cost: Both SoS and LeSS cost less as they are derived from scrum and require little training or restructuring of teams. Here, the teams have the knowledge and must add some layers to their daily routines. On the other hand, SAFe requires organizational restructuring and is more expensive.
Regardless of the approach to Agile testing that is adopted, the three frameworks of SAFe, SoS, and LeSS provide scalable solutions for digital transformation in large, medium, and small businesses, respectively. Therefore, it is important for organizations to understand their needs and choose the Agile testing framework that is effective, now and in the future.