Among various software development methodologies, Agile, including Agile testing, stands out for its iterative style of development, accelerated testing and delivery, and collaboration between cross-functional teams. It allows for the development of better quality products and enables enterprises to have a greater appetite for change. By encouraging teamwork, accountability, and self-organization, Agile facilitates the rapid delivery of high-quality software solutions aligned to customer needs and organizational goals. No wonder, business enterprises have embraced Agile to set digital transformation in motion.
With Agile comes scrum, which organizations can utilize to manage the development of high-quality software solutions. As a subset of Agile and a project management framework, scrum helps disparate teams to work together by breaking silos and continuously improve through better learning experiences. It allows teams to build, test, deliver, and maintain complex software solutions. Comprising team meetings, selection and execution of roles, 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 outcomes. However, challenges come to the fore when teams and the scale of projects grow bigger. It is at such times, new approaches to Agile including taking an Agile testing approach are needed to scale – SAFe, SoS, or LeSS.
What are SAFe, SoS, and LeSS?
SAFe: Known as Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe happens to be the world’s leading framework to scale Agile across an organization. It helps organizations to deliver value continuously and within a predictable schedule through proven principles, rules, and practices. SAFe promotes collaboration, alignment, and delivery of products across Agile teams. It defines a culture, which the management and other stakeholders should pursue effectively to attain organizational goals. The core values of SAFe are alignment, transparency, built-in quality, and program execution. It fosters better lean-based decision making across organizational and functional boundaries.
SoS: The Scrum of Scrums happens to be the oldest agile scaling framework to integrate the work of multiple scrum teams working on a single project. It facilitates communication among teams to ensure the delivery outcome of each team is in alignment with the outcomes of other teams even when there is an overlap of the sequencing of events. The actual coordination among teams is carried out in a meeting where each team is represented by a designated scrum master. In case the material under discussion is highly technical, then the scrum master along with a technically qualified team member may attend the meeting. The goal of Scrum of Scrums is to ensure the individual teams meet 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 forming one scrum team and is gradually applied to multiple teams working on the same project. The LeSS framework allows the application of scrum-based principles and ideals to a large enterprise using proven rules. LeSS deals with creating responsible teams that have greater collaboration among them and better customer focus. It underlines attributes like learning, transparency, and offering customer-centric values for organizations to remain 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 solely based on scrum methodology and apply its approaches, practices, and roles to a large number of teams working on a single project. So, the teams already working on scrum find it easy to use these two frameworks without having to undergo reorganization.
However, SAFe is based on Agile as a whole and adapts its values to a large enterprise. It allows multiple teams in an organization to choose their methods such as an agile testing framework to scale – Scrum, Kanban, and others. It entails greater effort at implementation but gives teams the freedom to choose their frameworks.
Company size: For companies having a smaller number of scrum teams, SoS is a better option to coordinate work as it ensures everyone is on the same page. LeSS and SAFe are the ideal frameworks to scale Agile for a large organization.
Company structure: SoS allows for better inter-team coordination and defining the team structure but does not offer cover to the entire portfolio levels. This makes it ideal to manage daily operations at a smaller scale but fails when it comes to realizing the long-term vision. LeSS does add to the portfolio levels and facilitates a better understanding of the company structure. However, SAFe allows a full set of rules defined for the company structure and builds an environment for Agile to be adopted.
Cost: Both SoS and LeSS cost less as they are derived from the scrum and require little training or restructuring of teams. Here, teams have the know-how and have to add a few layers to their daily routines. On the other hand, SAFe requires restructuring of the organization and is more costly.
Notwithstanding the approach for Agile testing one undertakes, the three frameworks of SAFe, SoS, and LeSS provide scalability solutions for digital transformation in large-sized, mid-sized, and small-sized enterprises, respectively. So, it is important for organizations to understand their needs and choose the one Agile testing framework that is effective, for the present and future.