Why Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is Wrong?

Every “SAFe®” team I witnessed failed Agile to a certain degree. Without comprehensive Automated End-to-End Regression Testing, how can SAFe® scale or be safe? If a team does real test automation, then the processes in SAFe® are silly.

Zhimin Zhan
7 min readMay 2


This article is one of the “IT Terminology Clarified” series.

According to this page on Atlassian, the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is “a set of organizational and workflow patterns for implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale”.

I dislike the one symbol and one word in the above definition.

  • Trademark sign ®
    It is a bad sign in the context of the software development process and reminds me of the infamous Rational United Process (RUP). Have you ever seen this sign for good software advancements, such as Refactoring, TDD, Continous Integration, …? No, you don’t. The trademark sign means commercial.
  • Enterprise
    After working in the software industry for over 25 years, I developed alerts when seeing ‘Enterprise’ in any software terms, such as Enterprise Java Beans (EJB), Enterprise Service Bus, and XXX Enterprise Edition. From my experience, this word means expensive, over-engineered, and not working.

Update 2023–07–19:
“ThoughtWorks advised against adopting SAFe.” — Souce: Information for decision-makers considering the SAFe framework
“SAFe is still anti DevSecOps. Not allowed in my teams.” — Nicolas M. Chaillan, Chief Software Officer at the U.S. Air Force, source

Table of Contents:
· Certification on Agile is Wrong!
· SAFe® itself is against the value of Agile
· If a software team wants to do real Agile, adopt XP
· Scrum or SAFe®, makes no difference to my work
· My view of the “Built-in quality” in SAFe
Quality, Quality, Quality, Quality, Quality, Quality, Quality

Certification on Agile is Wrong!

Agile Alliance and the co-authors of the Agile Manifesto discourage Agile Certification. For more, check out this article: Certification on Agile is Wrong!



Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.