Why do organizations adopt agile scaling frameworks?-A Survey of practitioners

Abheeshta Putta, Ömer Uludağ, Shun Long Hong, Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius

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

2 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The benefits of agile methods in small, co-located projects have inspired their adoption in large firms and projects. Scaling frameworks, such as Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), have been proposed by practitioners to scale agile to larger contexts, and become rather widely adopted in the industry. Despite the popularity of the frameworks, the knowledge on the reasons, expected benefits, and satisfaction of organizations adopting them is still limited. Aims: This paper presents a study of practitioners who have adopted an agile scaling framework in their organization and investigates the reasons for, expected benefits of, and the satisfaction level with the adoption of the selected framework. Method: We conducted a survey of software practitioners. We received data from 204 respondents representing ten frameworks adopted in 26 countries and located in six continents. Results: The results show that SAFe is the most widely adopted framework among our respondents. The two most commonly mentioned reasons for adopting agile scaling frameworks are to scale to more people and to remain competitive in the market. The most common expected benefits are improving the collaboration and dependency management between teams. We also found some unique reasons and expected benefits for the framework adoption, such as inculcating an agile mindset, addressing the needs of regulated environments, dissolving silos, and technical excellence. Our findings indicated statistically significant differences for reasons, expected benefits, and satisfaction between different frameworks. Most of our respondents report that the selected framework met their expectations. Conclusions: This paper offers the first quantitative assessment of reasons, expected benefits, and satisfaction of firms for adopting agile scaling frameworks. Future studies comparing scaling frameworks could help firms in selecting the most suitable framework fitting their needs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, ESEM 2021
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450386654
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement - Virtual, Online, Italy
Duration: 11 Oct 202115 Oct 2021
Conference number: 15


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
Abbreviated titleESEM
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address


  • Agile scaling frameworks
  • Expected benefits
  • Reasons
  • Satisfaction level


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