How Half Double can coexist and interact with SAFe

The Half Double Methodology is a 'hybrid', meaning that it combines the elements from traditional project management practices and more agile methods. In that sense the Half Double Methodology complements and can coexist in combination with existing PM/Agile standards, models, methodologies and frameworks currently being used by many project-oriented organisations. The following will introduce you to how Half Double coexists with SAFe.



The general purpose of the co-existence descriptions is to provide information to the project society as to how the Half Double Methodology (HDM) can be used in combination with existing Project Management and Agile standards, models, methodologies, and frameworks currently being used by many project-oriented organizations. 

Target group

This specific existence description is targeted to the group of people and organizations currently applying the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and who are now considering or determined to also adopt, implement and apply the Half Double Methodology (HDM). This document will inform how the SAFe 5.1 can benefit from being used in combination with HDM and vice versa.
Technical knowledge of projects and project management, agile initiatives, and agile project management, the HDM 1.0, Half Double Portfolio 1.0 and SAFe 5.1 is a prerequisite for being able to understand this document.
A project management methodology versus a concept for scaled agile work
In this document, we are looking at two conceptually different entities: a project management methodology and a framework for scaling agile ways of working from a team to an entire organization (enterprise). To put it simple a project methodology will pick and choose between different methods and practices to fulfill its purpose in a given project whereas the SAFe framework is a knowledge base of proven, integrated principles and practices for Lean, Agile, and DevOps to fulfill its purpose in an agile (software) enterprise context (see definition in Annex 4). SAFe is both a framework and a methodology whereas HDM is only a methodology. 

Grafical illustration of the interactive “hot spots” between SAFe 5.1 and HDM (1.0)

The illustration provides an overview of how the two approaches overlap and interacts with each other. The overall conclusion is that SAFe is a broad framework whereas Half Double fits into parts of the framework at the project and portfolio level (the “essential” and “portfolio” configurations in SAFe). More specific there is 1) Direct relationship in philosophy and principles behind SAFe and Half Double, 2) Common methods in use such as design thinking (impact solution design), creating a cadence (fixed rhythm of events) and product owner (strong project owner) and 3) Overlap in Portfolio approach. 

How the scaled agile framework will benefit from being used in combination with Half Double methodology and vice versa


The Scaled Agile Framework aims at achieving business agility on an organisational level and puts in place several principles, practices, methods, and tools to achieve this goal. Half Double can supplement SAFe with methods that add focus on the necessary behavioural changes required to succeed and create impact at the project level.

Using Half Double and SAFe together can make good sense. A possible scenario would be that the Business and Technology leadership team would use Half Double methods to build roadmaps and backlogs, while the Agile Teams use the Agile Release Train model from SAFe with the embedded SCRUM and Kanban approach. 
SAFe is based on LEAN and agile thinking which is also evident with Half Double. In general, a lot of similarities in philosophy and principles – however the big difference is that SAFe believe in creating fixed teams who handles new assignments (backlog items) each sprint whereas Half Double believe in complex projects with unique needs being handled by tailored teams with unique competences for each project. This is also the reason why Half Double continue using known roles such as “project leader” and “project owner” whereas SAFe would introduce new roles e.g., RTE (Release Train Engineer) and SCRUM master. 

The other major difference is that the two approached are designed to different types of work; SAFe is designed for organisations working with continuous improvement of a (software) platform in a lean thinking way whereas Half Double is designed for organisations working with unique and complex projects contributing to individual solutions (e.g., product development). To put it shortly SAFe is great if you are running a “Feature factory” and Half Double is great if you are running a “Project factory” (see illustration below).

The Half Double Portfolio approach and Portfolio SAFe (a specific configuration of SAFe) address the same pains in the organisation (unclear value creation, too many projects at the same time and delayed decision-making), but with different degree of simplicity. 
In Portfolio SAFe strategic themes will be converted to “Development Value Streams” with defined Epics and Enablers through a “Portfolio Backlog”. The Half Double Portfolio approach will address the portfolio level with more simplicity and focus on getting “Faster to strategic impact with fewer projects and closer relationships to decision-makers” using 9 different methods to achieve this. In essence the two approaches are very alike but SAFe would focus on creating a bigger organisational setup to support the portfolio level whereas Half Double would try to tap into the existing organisational structure and apply local translation. 

Impact to leverage agile product delivery 

“Stakeholder satisfaction is the ultimate success criteria”, is the main message of the Impact principle of Half Double and perhaps the most important statement of Half Double. The two principles in SAFe that cover this is “Take an economic view” and “Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems”. While these two principles are also incorporated in Half Double, the Impact Case treats behavioural change as a key driver to achieve real Business Impact.

An organisation that uses SAFe could potentially benefit from adoption a different language and process around the concept of Impact – using both business impact and behavioural impact when designing solutions and prioritizing the program and team backlogs. 

Furthermore, the Impact Solution Design method could strengthen stakeholder interaction and customer centricity with a proven process for applying design thinking with the end goal of delivering higher impact in shorter time. The output of the Impact Solution Design could be used as ART input.

Simply put, Half Double could extend SAFe with the necessary tools to be able to deliver not only great solutions, but also the necessary change in the organisations that are to use the solution.

On the other hand, Half Double could benefit from the SAFe approach in terms of integrating Program and Team backlogs with the Impact Solution Design. Furthermore, the value stream setup and multiple SAFe roles would provide a pre-defined stakeholder landscape to relate to pulse checks and thereby ensure stakeholder satisfaction.

Agile product delivery with agile teams create a strong flow

SAFe has a complete description of how to achieve flow at both team, program, large solution and enterprise levels. The principles are in essence identical to Half Double and inspired by Lean and SCRUM methodology. An organisation, that has adopted SAFe will most likely not benefit from adopting new methods to achieve flow. The main reason is that Half Double flow is based on SCRUM methodology such as visual planning and high allocation of team members. However, the limitation of the SCRUM methodology is inclusion of broad stakeholders and change behaviour management. The Half Double rhythm in key events include this aspect and can easily be added to the Project Increment in SAFe.

An organisation that has adopted Half Double will with ease be able to adopt the agile product delivery methods that SAFe uses to enable synchronisation across multiple teams – e.g., multiple projects running in the same cadence. This could benefit “collocation design” with 50% allocation of the team as the cadence is created for a group of projects and assigned for fixed periods.

Leadership as add on to the lean-agile leadership competence

The leadership dimension of Half Double focuses on the two roles of Project Leader and Project Owner and acknowledges the importance of direct link to a (portfolio) leadership team. SAFe has several more roles and teams and adds a strong focus on technical leadership as well as business leadership. 

Half Double could help SAFe with a simple configuration of teams and leadership roles. In Half Double the Project leader is leading the project impact, stakeholder facilitation and are responsible for motivation of the individual. A broader responsibility than the Scrum Master in SAFe. Also, the Project Owner role would include the link from project level to business owner level simplifying the number of roles in SAFe (product owner + product management + business owner) to one role. Also, the “Reflective and adaptive mindset” could inspire the Lean-Agile leadership competence in terms of leveraging the reflection and behavioural change competence in the SAFe Enterprise.

Half Double could benefit from the SAFe agile team setup and elaborated role descriptions to scale and align roles cross organisational roles in feature-oriented organisation. Furthermore, in terms of the portfolio leadership SAFe could enrich Half Double with terminology and methods around technical leadership for large technical solutions.


SAFe and Half Double are close in terms of underlying philosophy, and both deploys underlying principles from Agile and Lean. SAFe addresses a lot more on the scalability and synchronisation on complex technical solutions while Half Double addresses the behavioural change needed in order to create value from the complex solutions.

Half Double is “only” a project methodology whereas SAFe is a framework for scaling one agile team to many agile teams running in Agile Release Trains and coordinated with the overall portfolio and Development Value Streams of the enterprise.
Simply put, Half Double could work well as the “project engine” in a SAFe setup instead of a using the default “SCRUM project engine” embedded in SAFe. This would extend the impact dimension in each agile team to include behavioural impact as well as technical outputs. It would also extend the leadership dimension in agile teams in terms of a reflective practise to support the people / stakeholder dimension and not just technical outputs.

Half Double could extend SAFe with the necessary tools to be able to deliver not only great solutions, but also the necessary change in the organisations and with customers that are to use the solution.

Half Double could benefit from the Scaled Agile Framework when scaling from one project to many projects in a platform creation or “feature factory” oriented organisation.

Both the Half Double Methodology and the Scaled Agile Framework are designed to be adapted to the specific context, which is called Local translation in Half Double and Configuration in SAFe. 

Download the full document "Coexistence between Half Double and SAFe" underneath.

Illustration of the interactive "hot spots" between SAFe 5.1 and HDM (1.0)