Analyzing SAFe Practices with Respect to Quality Requirements: Findings from a Qualitative Study

Wasim Alsaqaf*, Maya Daneva, Preethu Rose Anish, Roel Wieringa

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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Quality Requirements (QRs) pose challenges in many agile large-scale distributed projects. Often, project organizations counter these challenges by borrowing some heavyweight practices, e.g. adding more documentation. At the same time, agile methodologists proposed a few scaled agile frameworks to specifically serve agile organizations working on large and distributed systems. Little is known about the extent to which these proposals address QRs and the specific ways in which this happens. Moreover, evidence regarding the practical implementation of these frameworks with respect to QRs is scarce. Our paper makes a step towards narrowing this gap of knowledge. Using an exploratory research process, we analyze one well-documented framework, namely the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). We first analyzed the elements of SAFe as they were described in the methodological book of SAFe to identify the possible remedies to the QRs challenges reported in previous work. We then conducted a qualitative interview-based study to understand the practices that SAFe practitioners actually use to mitigate those QRs challenges. Our documentary analysis of SAFe resulted in identifying 25 SAFe elements that could (at least partially) mitigate one or more of the reported QRs challenges. Nine of those SAFe elements were reported in our interview-based study by SAFe practitioners as remedy for some of the reported QRs challenges. While practitioners attempted to use the recommended SAFe strategies for QRs, they often changed them in their own ways, or altogether resorted to heavyweight practices that the case study organizations knew from previously done non-SAFe projects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct-Focused Software Process Improvement
Subtitle of host publication22nd International Conference, PROFES 2021, Turin, Italy, November 26, 2021, Proceedings
EditorsLuca Ardito, Andreas Jedlitschka, Maurizio Morisio, Marco Torchiano
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-91452-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-91451-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event22nd International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement, PROFES 2021 - Virtual
Duration: 26 Nov 202126 Nov 2021
Conference number: 22

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference22nd International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement, PROFES 2021
Abbreviated titlePROFES


  • Agile scaled framework
  • Documentary analysis
  • Empirical research
  • Qualitative interview-based study
  • Quality requirements
  • Requirements engineering
  • SAFe
  • 2024 OA procedure


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