Benefits and challenges of adopting the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): Preliminary results from a multivocal literature review

Abheeshta Putta*, Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past few years, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has been adopted by a large number of organizations to scale agile to large enterprises. At the moment, SAFe seems to be the most predominant agile scaling framework. Despite the current popularity of SAFe in the software intensive industry, there exists surprisingly little scientific research on the benefits and challenges of SAFe adoption. To collect the existing knowledge on this topic, we conducted a multivocal literature review, which includes both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed case studies and experience reports on organizations that have adopted SAFe. We identified 52 unique organisations adopting SAFe, five from the scientific literature and 47 from the grey literature. The most salient benefit categories were: transparency, alignment, productivity, predictability and time to market. The most frequently mentioned challenge categories were: change resistance, challenges with the first program increment planning and moving away from agile.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct-Focused Software Process Improvement - 19th International Conference, PROFES 2018, Proceedings
EditorsMarcus Ciolkowski, Regina Hebig, Marco Kuhrmann, Dietmar Pfahl, Paolo Tell, Sousuke Amasaki, Steffen Küpper, Kurt Schneider, Jil Klünder
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9783030036720
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement - Wolfsburg, Germany
Duration: 28 Nov 201830 Nov 2018
Conference number: 19

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11271 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceInternational Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement
Abbreviated titlePROFES


  • Agile software development
  • Large-scale agile software development
  • SAFe
  • Scaled agile framework


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