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I’ve been asked this question a few time and to date have resisted to address it directly, I’d just say ACD is a set of practices supported by tools – not a methodology or framework.
I think the time is now right to attempt a comparison. So this is a first cut at a comparison between SAFe and ACD. In many ways, they are hard to compare fairly to both, because one is a framework/methodology and the other is a set of tools. However, in many ways they aim to produce similar outcomes.I think it’s fair to say SAFe is a more formal, out-f-the-box approach, whereas ACD has a more informal, “Open Source”, style.
The Green bi-directional arrows are my assessment of rough equivalency.
Please feel free to feedback with comments and builds, I’m not a SAFe 5 expert and as such my assessment is solely based on what I can read online coupled with the odd conversation with SAFe practitioners.
In many cases, it isn’t a case of choosing one over the other, organisations that use SAFe can (and do) adopt ACD tools which they customise to fit their ways-of-working.