Challenges of Adopting SAFe in the Banking Industry - A Study Two Years after its Introduction

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a framework for scaling agile methods in large organizations. We have found several experience reports and white papers describing SAFe adoptions in different banks, which indicates that SAFe is being used in the banking industry. However, there is a lack of academic publications on the topic, the banking industry is missing in the scientific reports analyzing SAFe transformations. To fill this gap, we present a study on the main challenges with a SAFe transformation at a large full-service bank. We identify the challenges in the bank under study and compare the findings with experience reports from other banks, as well as with research on SAFe transformations in other domains. Many of the challenges reported in this paper overlap with the generic SAFe challenges, including management and organization, education and training, culture and mindset, requirements engineering, quality assurance, and systems architecture. However, we also report some novel challenges specific to the banking domain, e.g., the risk of jeopardizing customer relations, stability, and trust of external stakeholders. This study validates several SAFe-related challenges reported in previous work in the banking context. It also brings up some novel challenges specific to the banking industry. Therefore, we believe our results are particularly useful to practitioners responsible for SAFe transformations at other banks.

Authors of report: Sara Nilsson Tengstrand, Piotr Tomaszewski, Markus Borg and Ronald Jabangwe

Sara Nilsson Tengstrand
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