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How to Decide Which SAFe Certification Course Is Right for You

How to Decide Which SAFe Training Course Is Right for You

How to Decide Which SAFe Training Course Is Right for You

Think you could benefit from Scaled Agile Framework certification? Here's everything you should know about how to choose the right SAFe training course.

Keyword(s): safe training

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) has become the definitive framework for software development and delivery. It has been adopted by organizations of all sizes.

But, with such a selection of Agile certifications available, choosing the right fit for a certification which aligns to your current career path, your position and career aspirations is important.

Think you could benefit from Scaled Agile Framework certification? Here's everything you should know about how to choose the right SAFe training course.

Where to Start

The first step towards picking the most suited SAFe certification is to decide which role you wish to fulfil. Then understand what each certification provides.

Organizations that have not adopted SAFe have roles such as Program or Portfolio Managers, Project Managers, Business Analysts, Business Owners, Developers, Testers, Architects, Governance Specialists and more.

SAFe discusses two primary areas i.e. Implementing SAFe (role-based) and Leading SAFe (team-based) both of which have certifications.

Adopting SAFe moves the organization from Waterfall to Agile Software or Solution Delivery requires these roles to be re-organized into the Scaled Agile Framework. At a minimum, these would be Team, Program, and Portfolio levels.

What Does This Mean for a Team?

SAFe advocates roles at these levels. It offers certifications to support those roles (each one is briefly described) there are other roles in a SAFe organization which SAFe does not offer to certify:

Team Level Roles

  • Specialists such as developers and testers
  • Product Owner (PO)
  • Scrum Master

Program Level

  • Product Management
  • Release Train Engineer (RTE)
  • Architects
  • Business Owner

Portfolio Level

  • Lean Portfolio Management

Knowing what your team needs and what they cannot be certified for is paramount. It is how your organization will attain a SAFe certification. If they cannot be certified directly for their roles as per the above points, then you'll need to make sure that you, as a senior member of staff, are qualified to oversee your team.

What Are Your Safe Training Options?

When you begin the journey of looking to SAFe training options, the information is simply overwhelming. Here's a quick breakdown for you of the different SAFe training certifications available:

  1. Certified SAFe Agilist (SA)

    This 2-day course is a great point to start your Agile Certification journey. It is structured for a complete newbie to SAFe. It covers all the Scaled Agile Framework principles and practices. This is a must in order for you to build further SAFe Certifications.

  2. Certified SAFe Program Consultant

    This 4-day course is where the real work starts. Software developers and executives will be trained to coach programs. They will be able to drive the necessary DevOps culture. And they will know how to build a continuous delivery pipeline, manage Agile Release Trains and promote the required Lean Portfolio Culture.

  3. Certified SAFe Practitioner

    This is where your training shifts from individual to team training. Working in an Agile Release Train (ART) team in a SAFe enterprise requires you complete this certification to the skills to improve team participation in your role. This 2-day course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of ARTs, planning and executing iterations as well as learning to write user stories.

  4. SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) Certification

    This 2-day course is for you if you've chosen to become a Scrum Master. It's aimed at an enterprise level but be warned, the course is extremely in-depth. Successfully completing this course will position you to plan and execute Program Increments, build and support agile teams as both a Servant Leader and Coach.

  5. SAFe Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) Certification

    If you have chosen the Scrum Master path you may, in time and after some work on the job, quite possibly want to embark on a Scrum Master leadership role. In which case this certification will be hugely advantageous.

  6. Certified SAFe Release Train Engineer

    If you have chosen the role of Release Train Engineer as your career preference then this certification is imperative. As an RTE you will be able to take full control of an Agile Release Train by guiding, coordinating and organizing the entire agile team.

    PI (Program Increments) are key to SAFe, once certified you will be positioned to participate in PI meetings (pre and post) as well compile PI objectives. If you are a Project Manager, PMO Head or Technical Delivery Manager and your organization has embarked on SAFe, then this 3-day course is ideal for you.

  7. Certified SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager

    SAFe expects that IT and Business operate in the same ARTs. So this course is for Business Owners, Product Managers, Business Analysts and Product Managers who are new to SAFe.

  8. Certified SAFe DevOps Practitioner (SDP)

    This is a comprehensive and advanced 2-day course. This is to be taken after a level at which you have an improved understanding of the DevOps. You should have the required competencies to build the necessary mechanisms for a Continuous Delivery Pipeline.

  9. Certified SAFe Agile Software Engineer (ASE)

    This is a 3-day workshop-oriented course that will help you, the software engineer, to learn the foundational principles and practices of the Agile Software Engineering and continuous delivery.

  10. SAFe for Architects

    The SAFe for Architects course prepares System and Solution Architects to engage across the organization. What you'll learn here is how to align architecture with business value. You'll be able to drive continuous flow to large systems-of-systems while supporting SAFe program execution.

  11. Lean Portfolio Management

    Successful completion of this 3-day certification positions you to have the understanding, tools, and techniques required for functions such as Strategy and Investment Funding, Agile Portfolio Operations and Lean Governance.

  12. Certified SAFe Government Practitioner (SGP)

    In the event, you have chosen to work in a government agency this certification is designed for you. It focuses on imparting skills for building technology-based Lean-Agile practices in the government context by learning the right information and strategies.

    In this 2 day course, attendees will learn to use SAFe for Lean-Agile transformation of a program inside a government agency.

Where to Now? A Closing Statement

Adopting SAFe is not simple or easy, it requires changes to the very DNA of an organization.

Leading and implementing SAFe requires many changes at many levels. This means that SAFe training needs to be completely on par and valid for what your organization is trying to achieve.

A SAFe implementation is as much a culture change as it is an operational and governance change. For this reason, certifications are detailed and complex. Examinations are difficult and require serious preparation. Don't go into this journey with a light expectation.

Need help on where to find these courses? Check out our upcoming courses, we've got you covered!

5 Benefits of Agile Certification You Should Consider

5 Benefits of Agile Certification You Should Consider

5 Benefits of Agile Certification You Should Consider

Looking for a way to take your career or company to the next level? Here are five of the best benefits of Agile certification you should consider.

Keyword(s): benefits of agile

You may have heard other professionals talking about it, or you may have even been reading up on it. Now you want to know more about the benefits of agile certification.

In the past decade, software development and project management through agile certification have become revolutionary.

More and more IT jobs are demanding agile certification in:

  • Lean
  • Scrum
  • Scaled Agile
  • SAFe
  • And more

Agile methodology focuses on cross-functional IT teams being able to collaborate responsively. There are many agile certifications you can choose from.

Each certification is set up as a benchmark to test your IT knowledge and competency. Almost any of the agile certifications enhances and promotes your career due to its ability to cross borders and countries seamlessly.

Advantages of Agile

If you want to advance your career, it's important you learn about the advantages of agile project management.

Agile project management is used often and is sometimes a requirement to know in European and international corporations. Agile management can provide ongoing company projects with winning methodologies.

Popular Cross-Sectional Agile Certifications

Some cross-sectional agile certifications offered are:

  • Lean-Agile transformation strategy & planning
  • Scrum and SAFe Implementation
  • Agile Program
  • Portfolio management
  • Agile readiness check
  • Lean-Agile process reviews
  • And more

The above cross-sectional IT certifications provide a way to help build your career with agile methodology.

The Five Benefits of Agile

There are career advantages to agile which are worth paying careful attention to because of the advancement opportunities it gives you. There is an underwritten philosophy in agile project management and at the top of this often unstated benefit is the word flexibility.

Agile software development has been transformative. Agile is used in everything from research to operations in manufacturing companies to criminal investigations in Scotland Yard. One of the benefits of agile project management is you almost always get an early partial result.

The partial result can be improved upon with each stage as you move forward.

Every agile certification project contains these five benefits:

  1. Detailed features and components
  2. Open collaboration
  3. Support for leadership
  4. DevOps work and activities
  5. Project Integration, and more

Agile frameworks allow for agile certification project benefits which are better, faster, and offer more open cooperation between teams. The result is a project or product can be completed faster.

Benefits of Agile Certification

The benefits of agile certification are provided through its inherent advantages. These inherent advantages have been researched and tested.

A March 2019 research project was interested in finding out if agile certification projects worked from country to country when there are work and cultural differences. The research project was done by Research-Technology and Management.

The agile certification research centred around the culture at the European company and if it was congruent with an agile team assembled in a South America division. There were five months of study, and over 800 hours of teamwork studied. In the 31 interviews with the agile teams, the researchers found agile continues to bring many benefits to cross-cultural teams.

The most conducive agile teams integrated psychological safety into their agile implementations. In layman's terms, that means agile team members have yet another lens to use. The lens proved open team communication and input was essential for agile success.

Agile Organization

An agile organization is of primary importance to the success of an agile project. When you combine agile teams with agile release train (ART) you have created an integral part of your SAFe practice.

SAFe combined with ART teaches how agile organizations boost their performance more effectively when they use Scrum, Kanban, an XP. Scrum, Kanban, and XP are all agile certified. Detailed components of SAFe and ART organization are:

  • A fixed schedule
  • Delivery of a new system every two weeks
  • Face-to-Face PI planning events
  • Estimated and dedicated time for PI planning and innovation
  • Continuing education and infrastructure detail work
  • Demonstrate product/project, evaluate and adapt
  • Identify value streams and more

The final result of an agile organization through SAFe and ART is you can meet the changing priorities as they appear in the project. That means you can get your product to market and achieve near-perfect productions times.

Learning Agile

Learning agile will be one of the best professional decisions you ever make. What you learn with agile makes you more marketable, able to grow and develop in your current occupation, and more versatile. As an agile team member, you are empowered to deliver value with increased speed and flexibility.

As an agile team member and in an agile company, you start to think differently. Instead of defining people or a department, you will target and focus on the customer's needs. As an agile team member, you are proving your abilities in a digital world and economy.

The agile benefits and abilities make you different from the rest. You will use the following criteria to make sure your project/product meets its most efficient use. If it doesn't meet the criteria, you don't show it to the team or company for acceptance.

Agile Project Criteria

Agile projects or products are your value statement at work. Your project criteria must meet:

  • New code has no defects
  • Unit tests are implemented
  • All the development documentation is finished
  • All your tasks from dev to UX is completed
  • QA was run, and it passed
  • You ran any team agreed on automated tests for feature implementation

When you are agile certified, you hit the marks above. Companies know you are going to hit your goals and put projects/products in the infrastructure with the automation they need.

Get to the Next Level Today

If you want to start receiving the benefits of agile certification and training, don't wait another day. Agile certification and training help put you in the driver's seat for the most highly paid IT positions. Agile implementation has been adopted by almost all international companies and most large European companies.

Your career can go as far as you want it to if you have the foundational tools you need by learning the benefits of agile.

Reach out today because there is no time like the present to attain good agile tools. The next time an international company needs a skilled agile IT person you can take the call and move forward in the career you deserve.

Agile Planning: Tips for Scaling Agile in a Large Organization

Agile Planning: Tips for Scaling Agile in a Large Organization

Agile Planning: Tips for Scaling Agile in a Large Organization

Agile planning becomes even more complex when you're scaling up across a large organization. We take a look at some practical tips to make it work.

Keyword(s): agile planning

If there was one project management method for the 21st century, it's agile. 97 per cent of organisations now use a form of agile in their development cycles.

The whole point of agile is its frequent testing. Delivery is continuous, not a 'one-off' drop at the end of a project.

Can that co-exist peacefully with the kind of long-term planning your business needs? Is it possible to build continual change into your ongoing strategy?

It is - and in many cases, you should. How?

Use agile planning to scale the framework for a large organisation. Read on to learn more.

Use Agile Principles in Your Agile Planning

It might sound obvious, but the best way to scale agile is to use an agile framework. Choose a framework to start with. Decide which teams you're going to use agile with.

Run an iteration and see how it works. Evaluate how it went. What needs to change?

Make these changes and then run another iteration. Once agile works for these teams, apply the same processes to the next part of your business.

Keep testing until you're using the scaled agile framework across the enterprise.

The benefit of taking this approach is it recognises business needs change over time. By using a system that's open to evolution, you can pivot to suit what your market needs.

Learn the Principles of the SAFe Framework

The SAFe framework provides a structured method for scaling agile across a business.

SAFe divides your business into three layers: team, program, and portfolio. This tiered approach makes it easier to deliver the product.

You'll bundle up related projects into 'themes' based on what they're for.

On one hand, you have the business tasks you need to do at the customer-facing side of the business. Product launches would be an example.

On the other hand, you have the architectural things you do related to the technology you use. That might be upgrading servers or switching to cloud computing.

Those business or architectural tasks become a separate program. Several teams might work on a program.

Put together, these programs become your portfolio. Project managers and technical experts create the priorities for each portfolio.

Put the Right Staff in Place

Your employees need to work in the right part of the framework for it to be successful.

'Big picture' thinkers work best overseeing the portfolio. They can see all the moving parts and how they need to work together.

Developers work better in smaller teams clustered around an architectural program. Freed of having to think about unnecessary tasks, they can place their focus where it's needed.

Meanwhile, other parts of your business can focus on their role. They don't need to worry about the bigger picture, just their part in it.

Figuring out who works best where is part of the initial agile planning process.

Make sure you also work on the mindset of your employees. One team's definition of 'done' might not be the same as another. You don't want a team to pass work onto the next link in the chain if it's not ready.

Get everyone into the habit of thinking of themselves as part of a 'we', not an 'I'. That means a developer doesn't pass something on and say they're done. It means they're done when it's signed off.

Keep Things Aligned With Your Big Picture

Everyone in the business needs to know the long-term vision. But only those in charge of the bigger picture need to create it.

In the SAFe framework, you'll come up with themes that guide what you focus on. Divide the priorities so you know what you'll dive into in this quarter, the next six months, or the next year.

This way, you know where to put your resources. It's better to do one or two things very well instead of many things half-halfheartedly.

Air France-KLM dropped the waterfall method for the SAFe framework. These SAFe teams release 20 per cent more effectively than they did using waterfall.

Break the Big Picture Down

Now you know what your core priorities are.

Take each priority at a time. Break down what you want to achieve into smaller projects. Work backwards if you need to.

Start with what milestone you'd need to hit before you reached your goal. What milestone would you need to reach before that?

You'll end up with a series of steps that you must take to achieve the goal. Make sure these are steps that take you to your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This lets you get feedback early on.

These milestones make it easier to use agile for projects with longer lead-times. It keeps motivation and energy up. But it also breaks up the release cycle to keep everyone on task.

Check Your Estimates

Having this mapped out means you can start estimating how long each step might take.

This is where agile planning comes into its own for scaled work. Instead of teams working in isolation, you can align these steps.

Make sure you pass this plan to your team since they have the expert knowledge. They can confirm if your estimate is accurate.

Bundle any items that make sense to work together. This makes it easier for testers to work on larger versions, instead of small iterations.

Test the Plan

You won't know if the plan works until you test it. Which takes us back to our first point. Use the agile framework to deliver a scaled framework!

Run iterations. Test the estimates. Did a team take longer than planned, or less time?

Adjust the plan for the next period accordingly. This is where agile fits into the scaled framework for your whole enterprise.

You plug each program into the wider portfolio and see what works.

Make Agile Work For You

This might sound like a lot of work to use a new framework in your business. But doing this agile planning at the start of a project makes it easier to put in place.

You'll be able to get buy-in from employees much sooner. They can get on with the work and you can manage the process more smoothly.

If you're not sure where to start with scaling agile, check out our range of courses. Getting certified in the SAFe framework gives you the confidence to put it into practice.

The Benefits of Adopting the SAFe Framework for Your Team

The Benefits of Adopting the SAFe Framework for Your Team

The Benefits of Adopting the SAFe Framework for Your Team

The Scaled Agile Framework can help you cope with the challenges of developing software and systems. We look at the key benefits of the SAFe framework.

Keyword(s): SAFe framework

Many people date the birth of the agile framework to 2001. It radically overhauled how software companies generated, developed, and shipped their products.

Enterprise soon switched on to these shortened project times. Businesses adopt agile practices once they saw the benefits.

But agile better suited smaller teams. It wasn't practical for a whole company at first. These challenges led to the development of the scaled agile framework (SAFe).

Innovators like LEGO and Spotify now use SAFe to faster develop and deliver new products.

Are you wondering about the benefits of the SAFe framework for your team? Read on to learn more.

Be Agile and Lean

The SAFe framework allows you to be both agile and lean.

Using the agile framework, you'll work in short cycles. You keep testing and evaluating work in small increments.

Lean project management means giving workers what they need and when they need it. But you use the least amount of space, equipment, materials and workers to do it.

SAFe gives you the benefit of the agile framework. You can spot what's not working and fix it early in the process.

But you can do this by using staff where they're needed the most, keeping things lean.

You don't have to do it all at once either. LEGO switched to using SAFe in 2015. They did so team-by-team.

Centralise Your Decision-Making

Agile works well for the project management of in small teams. But when you're scaling it up, you need centralised decision-making. That's because you're thinking at the level of the business as a whole - not just the team.

SAFe brings a sense of strategy into the process. Think of SAFe as the 'big picture' viewpoint.

It doesn't matter how complicated your project is. Run as many teams as you want underneath this centralised umbrella.

Having that central decision-making speeds up your processes by keeping everyone coordinated.

Encourage Top-Down Thinking

Agile can sometimes tend towards bottom-up working.

The results of tests pass upward, dictating the direction in future. Because SAFe uses a centralised system, this doesn't happen.

The top-down approach lets developers keep strategy and goals in mind.

This also leads to faster decision-making. Teams can make decisions based on the objectives, without having to stop for approval.

Standardised Processes

You may already have several teams using the agile framework. Chances are, they're all running a slightly different version.

Because they use agile in a different way, you run into delays whenever the teams have to work together. Or they're all using different software.

Maybe it's not compatible. Perhaps the tools have different requirements.

A benefit of using SAFe is you standardise your processes across your teams. Everyone uses the exact same version of the framework. You know everyone is using the same software and tools to do their job.

That's helpful if you take on new developers to help with a project. Training them is easy as you have a 'manual' for them to follow.

You can even swap developers between teams. Or hand tasks across teams as necessary. Whatever you need to do, SAFe gives you the flexibility to do it.

Better Business Alignment

Think of your projects in a vertical fashion. You've got management at the top and your development teams and testers below.

Getting staff on board in a chain from management downwards isn't always difficult. Share the strategy with teams down the ladder to clarify their goals and objectives.

What is more challenging is sharing that vision or strategy in a horizontal fashion. What we mean here is getting departments across your business into alignment.

Why isolate development teams from the rest of your business? Using SAFe means you can bring all your teams into alignment. That's whether they're marketing, finance, or even HR.

Motivate Your Employees

Top-down decision making doesn't only mean that top management makes all the decisions. Assemble a team to handle each project which represents the sub-teams working on it.

That way, IT technicians have a say in which hardware they may need to upgrade or replace. They're not wasting time working with equipment that's forced upon them.

Give teams a stake in the process. It's a great way to ensure your employees take responsibility for their part in the project. It helps improve their motivation and productivity at the same time.

Agile naturally requires a higher degree of productivity. Teams only work as fast as the slowest member. Use SAFe to enjoy these greater levels of productivity across your whole enterprise.

Enjoy Faster Delivery Times

We've touched on this already but using the SAFe gets your products to market much faster. Using agile for one or two teams will already speed up your production cycle.

But using agile at scale brings the value of incremental working to your entire company.

You can better plan marketing campaigns using the iteration-based focus of agile. These iterations give you a series of dates to plan around. That works well for launches or rolling digital marketing content.

Improve Research and Development

A good way to improve a person's performance is to let them work up to your expectations. Give them a chance to live up to your perception of them.

Let your development teams tell you what they can achieve in each iteration. Then let them do it. Once they deliver what they say they can deliver, it'll become common practice.

In addition, each iteration helps the team to understand their own workflow better. They'll be able to provide better estimates as to how long work will take. Which means you can make better plans for your centralised decision-making.

Adopt the SAFe Framework

We hope by now that you're convinced of the benefits of the SAFe framework. Better business alignment, higher productivity, and increased delivery times are all within reach.

Every enterprise adopts SAFe differently. So you can tailor the framework to meet your needs.

You can also undertake training in the framework to learn how to apply it. Check out our range of courses for both groups and individuals.

SAFe® Agilist: What Does It Take?

Lean-Agile ventures hold a high demand for trained and certified SAFe Agilist. These individuals, with their ability to leverage and apply lean, agile, and robust development principles are critical for modern businesses.
Their work directly improves productivity, product quality, employee satisfaction, and more. One wonders: How do you become a SAFe Agilist? The answer to this question lies in SAFe Agilist certification. And, further refined, the answer is via the Leading Scaled Agile Framework Course.
Our video shares a complete look into what's needed to get SA certification and what to expect with the SAFe exam.
You'll also gain insight into the terms and conditions of this exam, how to best prepare, and other helpful tips before taking the plunge. Do you need training and consulting on your path to becoming a SAFe Agilist?
We can help! Get in touch with our experts. Or, use the live chat/contact to request information.
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